Exclusive: DBM Founder Discusses Kanye West VMA Speech Inspired Tees & Chicago Fashion

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There were a lot of things to complain about during the MTV VMA’s earlier this Sunday. Most of those things had to do with the host, Miley Cyrus. If you forget about Miley doing Miley for a minute, you should remember that Kanye West delivered one of the better acceptance speeches in recent history while also, most likely facetiously, announcing that he will be running for the White House in 2020. Regardless if Kanye was serious or not, founder of DBM, Joe, quickly tweeted this out after Kanye accepted the Vanguard award:

The very next day, he sent this out:

If you’re unfamiliar with DBM, they’ve picked up momentum faster than Tyga and Kyle Jenner’s relationship raises eyebrows by putting out pieces when they feel like it and how they feel like it. While their flagship collections are quality made and well thought out with themes, they are known to also come up with an idea inspired by pop culture and then release them in limited quantities the next day. We had the opportunity to ask Joe a few questions about his two new tees that were created as a result of Kanye’s speech as well as the current state of mainstream fashion. Be sure to follow Joe on Twitter to find out when he’ll be dropping the two tees on Friday.

In classic DBM fashion, you tweeted the above statement. Then you proceeded to put out the video the next day. Do you ever have a moment in the process of putting out a tee where you second guess your gut instincts to make shirts on the spur of the moment? What makes you so confident in putting them out or you just DGAF?

This year I decided to trust my gut when it comes to releasing things. I feel like the past few years I’ve slept on some really good ideas only to let someone else do it and win. I just wanted to win this year. Also, staying true to “streetwear” you gotta be quick with them ideas. It’s a small window between something being cool and played out. I pride myself on having an idea on Monday and it being on the webstore Tuesday.

How many different designs did you have before you settled on the most recent Kanye ones?

Right after Ye’s speech I went to the drawing board. I knew exactly how I wanted it to look so when I met up with my graphic [designer] the next day we bounced around a few ideas and both shirts were done in a hour.

I feel like part of the fun you have with owning different brands (Fat Tiger, Vita Morte, DBM) is that each has its own character from design and theme to production and presentation. DBM is definitely the chop, wrap, and go vehicle for your moments of street genius. Is that true to some extent?

Very true. With clothing I like to attack all markets but in clever ways. I know DBM isn’t for everybody. That’s why we have Vita and Fat Tiger. With DBM it’s honestly about trolling. I want people to ask you what you’re wearing. I want kids to get in trouble for wearing certain pieces. I just like provocation conversation with clothes. DBM gives me that platform.

Do you really think Kanye will run for President? What is his first act as President?

Of course he’s not really running for president. He was off that good L.A. weed.

All joking aside, he had some good points in his acceptance speech. How important do you really think listening to the younger adults (18-25 year olds) of today’s generation is when it comes to clothing, music, and art? What have you learned from your community and your customers/people who come to the parties about clothing and music?

The youth is what keeps everything moving. I’m like a young OG now so I keep my ear to what’s going on. Most of our customers/party goers are young so I just always know what’s happening around the world in their eyes. It’s easy for me to create because I move around a lot. And I also get inspired at how many youth I inspire. Keeps me wanting to keep people guessing.


You’ve been in the game for quite some time now even before DBM. What has been your favorite capsule/season so far? What about a specific piece out of your whole catalog?

I have a ton of favorites but the Rihanna “I Wanna F*ck” collection was just memorable because I made a ton of money off a high ass idea [laughs] and ended getting a cease and desist from her people. Sh*t was lit.

Is it safe to say yet in fashion and clothing that the more interesting stuff from new brands has no classifications like “just” streetwear or performance wear, similar to genres in Hip-Hop?

Fashion game weird now. “Luxury Streetwear” kinda made things stupid now. I realized everybody looks at things different so it’s hard to put a title on it. Whenever old people ask me what I do for a living I just say, “make clothes rappers wear.” It’s hard to explain to people the difference between urban, street, and luxury. All of it stupid though. I just make clothes.

What’s dope to see is the number of clothing trends Chicago started in streetwear or basically what became streetwear like the special fitteds that inspired Don C and Crucial Conflict with your towel shorts. Are there other ones people outside of Chicago might not know about?

Shout out to Don, that’s my big homie. He’s a revolutionary with this fashion sh*t. When I peep how the world picked up on the “buck-50” hats I knew I could flip another Chicago classic with the towel situation. Chicago has birthed some of the flyest n*ggas in the world. I’m pretty sure another trend from here gonna catch fire soon. Shout out to Virgil as well, they shifted the culture.

Do you have any plans to start any other side hustles? Or just focusing on your brands right now?

I plan on opening a restaurant in a few years next–bodega style sandwich spot in Chicago that sells all different types of sandwiches and all different types of blunts.

Bryan Hahn will write in Kanye West and Rhymefest in 2020. He’s on Twitter (@notupstate).

SWV Performs 90s Hits, Talks New Single, ‘Ain’t No Man’ at Chicago Concert

Iconic 90s R&B trio Sisters With Voices effortlessly lives up to their name, even 20 years later after their 1992 music debut. After numerous platinum and gold albums and signature singles that still resonates with music lovers years later, the New York bred trio continues to tour, performing classic hits and debuting new music.

The group, comprised of the original members we’ve grown to know and love, Cheryl “Coko” Gamble, Tamara “Taj” Johnson and “Leanna “LeLee” Lyons, stopped by the Windy City on August 14, performing hit songs including 1992’s “Right Here,” the uber-sexy “Downtown” and their signature ballad, “Weak” at the South Loop’s Shrine nightclub. Complete with funky choreography, and an interactive performance including fans with their set, the animated songstresses put on a show.

With an impressive discography, the Grammy nominated group revealed their favorite songs of their own in an interview; Coko: “My favorite song of ‘You Are My Love’ off the second album.” Taj: ” I’ve been stuck on ‘The Best Years of Our Lives’ for the last three years, I love that song!” LeLee: “My favorite song is ‘It’s About That Time’ from our first album.”
Engulfed in 90s nostalgia, 80s babies were transported into R&B trance, belting out the lyrics to every song like they were released yesterday. Reminiscent of days of old, when music rang of grit, true talent and real-life vulnerability, SWV stole the stage with their girl power and group chemistry. The trio, who are currently starring in the second season of their own reality show, SWV Reunited on WeTV, dished on their new single, ‘Ain’t No Man:’ “This song is actually celebrating men. We beat them down sometimes but we want to celebrate the good men who actually pay child support, take out the trash and do what they’re supposed to do. We got a song for the fellas this time,” described LeLee.

SWV continues to drop musical gems, proving that R&B isn’t dead thanks to their timeless music and classic ballads of true substance. – Angela Wilson (@SheisAngela)

Special thanks to Catrice Armstrong of PR Werks!

For more information about The Shrine and or to purchase tickets for upcoming shows, visit www.theshrinechicago.com

Photo credit: Juan Anthony Images

Why You Should Attend Chicago’s North Coast Music Festival

The North Coast Music Festival is the last “party in the park” of Chicago’s sweltering summer; a concluding bittersweet farewell to the summer months with a music festival dedicated to music lovers. Scheduled for Labor Day weekend, September 4-September 6, North Coast promises to please with the hottest acts of the year and rising stars from Rock, Hip Hop and Funk, with party-hyping DJ’s.

Featuring hip hop and R&B acts Wale, The Roots, D’Angelo and the Vanguard, the three day festival includes an impressive undercard with some of music’s beloved up and comings, giving bands a huge platform to showcase their skills and talent. The festival, also described as Summer’s Last Stand, creatively includes a “Silent Disco,” a graffiti area or “Living Gallery” presented by Elder Tree.

Not one to stop at the party on festival grounds, North Coast extends the celebration far beyond Chicago’s west side Union Park, with After Parties sprinkled around the city. Hosted by the acts themselves, festival-goers get a up and close look at their favorite artists, partying the night away.

Check out the full lineup here.

Tickets are on sale now! – Angela Wilson (@SheisAngela)

Happy Birthday To Civil Rights Icon Emmett Till

74 years ago today, Emmett Louis Till was born in Chicago, Illinois

Civil rights icon Emmett Till, a Black 14-year-old that was brutally murdered in Mississippi in 1955, would have turned 74 today. As retaliation for allegedly flirting with a white woman, the woman’s husband and his half-brother were acquitted of the crime, but later confessed their guilt, however, the law on double jeopardy prevented them from being tried again.

Till’s horrific death became a powerful symbol for the civil rights movement. Today the same issues of racism are embedded in society that were present 74 years ago, showing not much has changed. With incidences such as the murders of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown and Tamir Rice, all of which were young Black males, Till’s legacy is still relevant today.

His story should not be forgotten as we combat present issues of white supremacy, police brutality and the execution of Black lives all over the world. Let Emmett Till’s life be a lesson to us all that hate will not bring about change.

-Infinite Wiz(@InfiniteWiz)

Fourth of July Shootings Leaves 10 Dead Including 7 Year Old Boy In Chicago

Chicago has been under the microscope for some time about the continuing violence that continues to plague the city. July Fourth left 55 people wounded and 10 dead including a seven year old boy who was killed while watching fireworks.

7 year old Amari Brown was watching the fireworks Saturday with his father at the Humboldt Park when he was shot in the chest. Brown’s father, Antonio Brown said he believed it was fireworks and didn’t know his son had been shot until the child called out to him. Police believe the bullet was meant for Amari’s father but he was caught in the crossfire. Brown is a known  ranking gang member with 45 prior arrests. A 26 year old woman was shot and is labeled in stable condition.

The weekend violence began Friday when 17 year old Vonzell Banks who was shot and killed while playing basketball in the Hadiya Pendleton park. The park was named after the 15 year old girl who was shot and killed 1 week after performing President Obama’s inauguration.  Througout the holiday weekend, 55 people were wounded from gun violence. All of the victims ages ranged from 16-48. The killing of Brown has the community on edge because he was an innocent child simply celebrating the Independence of his country when he was killed. According to Chicago Tribune, the numbers are down from last year Independence day celebration .  Last year, 82 people were shot and 16 were killed.

When will the violence end?

– Ballah-moni Kollie (@Gottadream87)

photo credit: Madame Noire


Premiere: Check Out Saint Millie’s “Who I Am” Video

Emerging Chicago emcee Saint Millie returns to the forefront of Chicago hip-hop this afternoon with a brand new visual for ‘
“Who I Am”. The FinallyFocusedFilms shot visual captures the elusiveness of Millie as he raps relaxed bars over classic production. Surrounded by beautiful woman, the rising artist makes his case for national attention.

Chicago Rapper Kutthroat Von Shot And Killed

The violence in Chicago claims another rapper’s life in the war-torn streets of “Chiraq”

Chiraq emcee Devon Davis, better known as “Kutthroat Von”, was shot and killed yesterday in a drive-by shooting. He was only 21 years old.

Davis was shot multiple times in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood. He was pronounced dead at the scene. The police are still searching for a suspect.

-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)

Chance the Rapper Curates Free Concert For Chicago Teens

With the summer sneaking around the corner, there will be a lot of teens out looking for things to do, and one Chicago rapper has added a major agent to the “free” agenda.

Chance the Rapper has organized the first annual Teens in the Park (T.I.P.) festival, which will take place on June 24th at Northerly Island from 4PM-7PM. The festival will have performers like D-Low, Donnie Trumpet and much more.

There will not only be performances, but there will also be activities for the teens such as graffiti art, break dancing, fashion design and jewelry making. The activities are sponsored by the Art Institute and Donda’s House. If you would like to attend the free event, you can RSVP here.

– Ballah-moni Kollie (@Gottadream87)

photo credit: huffingtonpost.com

Jelani Lateef Releases Cold Days & Dark Nights

It’s safe to say that Chicago’s murder rate inspire it’s murder rap scene, but there’s more to Chicago than that, as Jelani Lateef is proving with his Manhood Entertainment brand that represents men stepping to the plate and handling their responsibility. Jelani definitely can relate to stepping up and handling his as he did when the mother of his died of cancer and left him single parent. And with his latest release Cold Days and Dark Nights, the album has almost a magnetic allure. His throwback vibe are acclaimed for his thought-provoking lyrics and witty wordplay.

Not influenced or discouraged by his surroundings, Jelani has a voice that’s definitely meant for the largest of stages. Throughout the album he lays out a soul-bearing confession that leaves one breathless, leaving listeners spellbound and longing for more then breathing life back into them with a simple turn of a phrase. Powerful yet limber, Jelani has the ability to dominate an entire album with nothing but his voice. He’s known for doing it, and now he’s done it again on his full-length album.

You can stream the entire album on soundcloud: