This Week in Music: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, SZA feat. Chance The Rapper and More

This Week in Music: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, SZA feat. Chance The Rapper and More

After a brief but painful hiatus we’re back this week with another dose of what the music industry has been cooking up over the past week. It’s possible that Kylie Minogue may not be to all of your tastes, so we’re here to present some of the more interesting things on offer. In today’s feature of This Week in Music, we’ve included an interesting debate on the inequalities of the U.S. prison system featuring the thoughts of Nas, the new record from Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, and a new song by SZA featuring Chance The Rapper.

Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Piñata

This Week in Music: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, SZA feat. Chance The Rapper and More

Although this album dropped in mid March, I’ve been spinning it ever since. It’s yet to grace our site so what better avenue to introduce it to you than through this feature. This collaborative studio album sees Madlib return to his beat-making prime, with lyrical goodness from Freddie Gibbs who has described the LP as “a gangster blaxploitation film on wax.” Cop the album on vinyl or mp3 from their website.

 

Tirzah – “No Romance”

This Week in Music: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, SZA feat. Chance The Rapper and More

British musicians Tirzah and Micachu created some kind of magic with their lo-fi EP, I’m Not Dancing, that they released last summer. Now they’re back together on a song titled, “No Romance.” The lovely loop might become a bit of an endurance test to the non-initiated but get your ears round their first EP and you’ll be looking forward to the second, which is out on April 21. Listen to “No Romance” in full here.

 

SZA Feat. Chance the Rapper – “Childs Play”

This Week in Music: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, SZA feat. Chance The Rapper and More

Top Dawg Entertainment’s first lady, SZA, has teamed up with Chicago’s latest loudmouth, Chance The Rapper. The single “Childs Play” features SZA singing over a chilled beat produced by XXYYXX. It’s great to see SZA exploring new directions but it would be even greater if she explored a little harder, because it just doesn’t feel like she’s fulfilling her potential just yet. Listen to the track in full via SoundCloud and see what you think.

 

Nas in “Incarcerated Justice”

This Week in Music: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, SZA feat. Chance The Rapper and More

The American prison system has long been a subject of discussion due to a fairly widespread knowledge of its unbalanced equality. Throughout his career, rapper Nas has has been vocal about his views on the matter and he goes a step further in this debate, which also features Angela Davis, and is moderated by Dr. James Peterson. He shines a light on a subject which is now dangerously intertwined with the music industry, which arguably contributes to the matter. Watch the debate in full via Vimeo.

 

De La Soul – Smell the DA.I.S.Y (Mixtape)

This Week in Music: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, SZA feat. Chance The Rapper and More

After releasing their full back catalog for free download back in February, De La Soul are treating their fans to some brand new material. They’ve shared their new mixtape Smell the DA.I.S.Y which features posthumous production from J Dilla himself and reworked classic De La Soul lyrics. The mixtape also comes with the Dilla documentary, Still Shining, and you can download it now via BitTorrent.

This Week in Music: Freddie Gibbs and Madlib, SZA feat. Chance The Rapper and More is a post by on Highsnobiety.

Where Your Clothes Go to Die

In the fashion world, there’s a very fine line between capitalizing on nostalgia and realizing that as a shop owner, brand consigliere or consumer that a trend isn’t gaining a sartorial patina, but rather is D.O.W. (dead on wearer). Fads are a mile marker of sorts – realized in old pictures and unearthed from dusty trunks that invokes thoughts like “how could I wear that?!” With each passing season it becomes clearer and clearer that we look to the past for inspiration, but we don’t necessarily want to bring everything along for the ride. Fashion is a moving target – both from the perspective of those delivering it and those who consume it – with those behind the curtain constantly aware that they’re charged with delivering needle-prick bullseyes, and customers gleefully conscious to avoid acting as if lambs to the slaughter. For every Ralph Lauren (which was founded in 1967), there’s a defunct brand that captured the spotlight for a fleeting moment before disappearing – yet was a large enough movement that it still registered on a cultural level. Just like a one-hit wonder in music, fashion has its rhinestone equivalent. But what exactly happens to the clothing from a brand when it is deemed “unsellable?”

Major retailers have several options when it comes to ridding themselves of clothes that have missed the mark. Steve Sais, who has over 20 years of experience as a sales manager explains, “The first two weeks of receiving merchandise are key to retailers as usually they will know what SKUs (stock keeping units) are selling. By the third week if something is not selling it’s a good indication that it won’t. Depending how fast the other SKUs of the same brand are selling they may hold that slow seller for about 30 to 40 days before they put in on sale.” He continues, “After 30 days it will go on sale 25% off. The next week it will go to 50% off then down from that until it gets to $1.” Sais makes it clear that under no circumstance are clothes “given away.” “The only hope the underprivileged have is the kindness of certain humanitarians, whomever they maybe.” Unfortunately, there is a dark side when it comes to unwanted items.

In speaking about major alternatives to drastically cut-down prices, Daily Finance assets, “They can either destroy them in industrial-sized shredders and/or dump them in a landfill.”  Luis Jimenez, the executive director of the New York Clothing Bank, says of the choice, “Much to the dismay of environmentalists and charities, letting unsold clothes end up in a landfill is the method of choice. By doing so, retailers and fashion designers believe they will keep unwanted merchandise from flooding the market and protect their brand by preventing their clothes from ending up on, say, a homeless person.” By some estimates, only about 15 percent of discarded clothing is recycled or reused, whether by individual or industry.

Where Your Clothes Go to Die

Barmak Badaei, an apparel brand architect, expands on the notion further. “Most big chain retailers that are very vertical (like Gap, J. Crew, etc.), with capable planning, are able to move most of their inventory through their stores. Yes, from time to time, retailers get stuck with dead stock and will have to find a way to liquidate. Most that need to do so, try to hide it by closing out to foreign countries. Asia, Middle East, Eastern Europe, etc.” Tanzanians and Kenyans call used clothing mitumba, which means “bales,” as it comes off the cargo ships in the shrink-wrapped cubes. According to Slate, by some estimates “used clothing is now the United States’ number one export by volume.”

India is an exception. They have in fact banned the import of used clothing unless it has “mutilated” – as they see a value in the raw material and the ability to use it as a means to give their own residents jobs as artisans rather than merely sorters.

While retailers seem to be at ease operating at a loss in certain instances, those that see one man’s trash as their own personal treasure are making a fortune. Simply put, they’re neither laughing at defunct brand nor laughing with them – they’re simply laughing all the way to the bank. Daily Finance continues, “Trans-Americas, a for-profit textile recycling business, receives damaged clothes from charitable organizations like the Salvation Army and Goodwill and sells them to developing countries or turns them into rags. Businesses like this process 2.5 billion pounds of clothes a year.” At around 25-50 cents a pound, there’s literally tons of profit to be made. Without textile recyclers, charities simply wouldn’t be able to handle the inordinate amount of garments that people have deemed to be unwearable. The UN estimates that the global used clothing trade generates about $1 billion annually.

After an H&M New York employee was caught in 2010 tossing new clothing that had been deliberately slashed before its disposal in a garbage bin, the Swedish apparel company faced a public outcry and reiterated its policy of donating or recycling unsold items.

While foreign countries are a viable option, that isn’t the only play. “You would be surprised that it is very easy to close out inventory right here in the U.S. without anyone noticing,” says Badaei. “If you really think what and who greater America consist off, you realize that in our own country, we have mini-foreign countries – states and cities that most people don’t know a thing about.” It’s easy to assume a trend has passed when one’s only point of reference comes from big, urban centers. According to Slate, “Most Americans are thoroughly convinced there is another person in their direct vicinity who truly needs and wants our unwanted clothes. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Charities long ago passed the point of being able to sell all of our wearable unwanted clothes.” Thus, we must look to smaller markets to understand where products like Ed Hardy, Affliction and True Religion end up. “There will always be a huge market for ugly clothes that fit bad,” says Badaei.

The rise of unsellable items can be directly attributed to a phenomenon known as “fast fashion” – where as upscale catwalk trends are quickly and cheaply mimicked to allow the mainstream consumer a chance at bespoke stylings at a much lower price. In turn, more and more pieces are being produced that don’t necessarily have timeless qualities. Even though charities have insisted that they would be willing to cut off tags and remove emblems as to appease brands with upscale appeal, news regarding the death of products rather than their salvation continue to be of topical importance. When Vancouver-based brand Lululemon realized they had made a manufacturing error with their ever-popular yoga pants, they’re faced a 17 million dollar conundrum. What would they do with a pair of pants that was essentially see-through? At the time, CEO Christine Day said Lululemon was keeping all of the affected apparel to see if it could be salvaged. “There actually might be some treatment solutions that we are investigating that could actually solve some of the problems.” But if one were to read between the lines, it was wildly assumed that “salvaged” merely meant “discarded.” In what can only be described as a sartorial twist of fate, the very same pants made it back to stores in November with an extra layer of fabric sewn onto the back and added strips of see-through mesh along the legs. Dubbed “second chance pants,” they were sold slightly marked down from $98 USD to $92 USD. It seems in the world of fashion, products that are deemed “terminal” can make a comeback.

 

Where Your Clothes Go to Die is a post by on Highsnobiety.

MVP Season | The 20 Most Overrated Players in the NBA

Since the 1955 – 56 season, the NBA has given the MVP award out on an annual basis. For 24 years, the award was decided on by a vote of NBA players and since then is decided upon by a panel of sportswriters and broadcasters throughout the U.S and Canada, each of whom casts a vote for first to fifth place selections. Although it’s fun to forecast each season’s winner, we decided to flip the situation on its head and round up 20 of the most overrated players currently playing in the NBA. Sure, they might post decent stats and carry their team to a few victories, but is their contract and brand overvalued? Find out what we think below.

 

20. Shaun Livingston, PG/SG (Brooklyn Nets)

Since the beginning of the new year, Tthe Brooklyn Nets have become one of the most successful teams. A lot of credit for this turnaround is given to Livingston. Inserting the two-guard into the starting lineup was a genius move by rookie head coach Jason Kidd. As a result, teams will get in line this summer to sign the versatile guard to a multi-year contract – which is a mistake. Livingston is a great addition to the Nets lineup, however, signing him to a multi-million deal next summer exaggerates his influence on the success of the Nets. Without a well-balanced roster and a clearly defined role, the often-injured Livingston might not be able to replicate his performance on another team.

 

19. Derrick Favors, PF/C (Utah Jazz)

If you look back at his career, Favors belongs into the category of “breakouts that never happened.” Fresh off signing a new $45 million deal that kicks in this summer, Favors wasn’t able to leverage his increased playing time on a Utah Jazz roster that is short on talent. His stats this season of 12.9 PPG and 8.7 rebounds is just a slight improvement from last season. At his position, Derrick Favors is one of the most overrated players, shown by his new contract.

 

18. Jeff Teague, PG (Atlanta Hawks)

Like Favors, Teague is in a new contract situation worth $32 million. While his statistics improved drastically, his influence on the field as a floor general didn’t. The new system, implemented by head coach Mike Budenholzer, benefits point guards (just like in San Antonio, his former team). Teague, however, wasn’t able to accelerate enough as a point guard to not be shopped during the trade deadline last February. Teams need point guards to be successful these days, but Jeff Teague with this type of salary might not be the option for the revamped Atlanta Hawks, which are in a downward spiral since the All Star break.

 

17. Jared Dudley, SF (Los Angeles Clippers)

During his Phoenix days, advanced metrics guys had a huge crush on Jared Dudley who was one of the most efficient players in his position. The Clippers hoped to get a perimeter shooter and defender on the wing position and so traded for him during the off-season. His statistics, however, fell to a marginally 7.2 PPG while his 3-point shot is less effective with just .357 percent this year. LA is over the cap and still have a hole at the small forward position after Dudley didn’t pan out the way they hoped.

 

16. Jeff Green, SF (Boston Celtics)

Every time a team bottoms out and looks to rebuild, players have a chance to shine and take a leading role. Jeff Green, with his salary of over $8 million this year, was destined to take his game to the next level. While he is posting his best scoring average of his career with 16.8 PPG, his true shooting went down. Even more, he didn’t develop into the fringe all star the Celtics had forecasted. His influence on the game didn’t increase and Green has a lot of moments where he disappears during games. Internally, Boston was hoping to package him in a deal for another talent. No team, however, traded for the small forward as he didn’t show enough progress after the departure of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett.

 

15. Dion Waiters, SG (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Waiters is a head case which makes him hard to evaluate. Experts say the former Syracuse Orangemen could thrive in a different role on another team. While Waiters is still young and needs time to mature, certain character traits might prohibit his development into a great shooting guard. His attitude on and off the field is concerning to the Cleveland Cavaliers and could put Waiters into the same category as the likes of J.R. Smith or Isaiah Rider, both of whom never flourished thanks of their personalities. Acquiring Dion Waiters is a big gamble for any team that doesn’t have a healthy and strong locker room culture.

 

14. O.J. Mayo, SG (Milwaukee Bucks)

After a strong season in Dallas, the former USC Trojan cashed in by signing a three-year, $24 million deal with Milwaukee. Despite becoming a leader of the team, Mayo became a flaming bag of disaster for the Bucks, who are currently the worst team in the NBA. In a recent interview with his former teammate Rudy Gay, the Sacramento King expressed concerns about Mayo’s shape. O.J. checked out of the season several months ago after an estranged relationship with head coach Larry Drew, quickly leading to Mayo’s contract becoming one of the worst in the league.

 

13. JaVale McGee, C (Denver Nuggets)

Apart from being the star of the very popular Shaqtin’ a Fool, McGee suffered a season-ending injury early in the season that buried Brian Shaw’s game plan with him. The new head coach of the Denver Nuggets envisioned McGee as the center piece of a new defense, influenced by the Indiana Pacers and their usage of Roy Hibbert. McGee, however, has issues with staying on the court because of numerous mistakes (which cause him to be a recurring protagonist on Shaqtin’ a Fool) or foul trouble. His athleticism fools people into believing he is a talent on the center position. The truth though is that JaVale might never reach his potential, nor justify his contract of over $10 million per year.

 

12. Harrison Barnes, SF (Golden State Warriors)

Barnes was the star of last year’s NBA playoffs. By the time the rookie was inserted into the starting lineup for the injured David Lee, he became instrumental to the surprising run of the Golden State Warriors. With the arrival of Andre Iguodala, people feared for the further development of the former UNC Tar Heel, who was relegated to the role of sixth man. Indeed, Barnes’ performance regressed and even with multiple injuries of Iguodala during the season, the small forward was never able to develop any rhythm, although he receives more playing time and takes more shots. Questions have been raised if Barnes was a fluke in last year’s playoff series versus San Antonio. The truth lies somewhere in between. For now though, it looks like the Warriors have to rely on others during their push for the playoffs.

 

11. J.R. Smith, SG (New York Knicks)

No other player has regressed as much over the last year as J.R. Smith. After earning the award of Sixth Man of the Year, Smith received a new contract by the Knicks, who saw the guard as the second scorer behind Carmelo Anthony. The disastrous season of the Knicks and the inconsistency in Smith’s play, coupled to the multiple DNP-CD’s (Did not play, Coach’s decision) makes him a massive liability and the face of the Knicks’ demise. His contract isn’t as bad as people say, his value, on the other hand, dropped massively because of his antics and unwillingness to become more professional. Smith can indeed be a contributor, but his team and overrate his abilities to lead a team.

 

10. Rudy Gay, SF (Sacramento Kings)

Rudy Gay gets paid like an all star and superstar. Unfortunately, he never developed into either. Gay is playing on his third team in 14 months and seems to be one of those players a reason lists like this exist. Gay can be a big time scorer in stretches, but his inconsistency and lack of leadership prohibits him from becoming elite. Once Gay’s contract of $18 million is up, people might be able to reevaluate him again. Until then, he is an inefficient volume shooter who never proved that he can lead a team into the playoffs.

 

9. Luol Deng, SF (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Throughout his career, Luol Deng ripped his heart out for the Chicago Bulls. He did what his coaches asked of him and developed into one of the best “3-and-D” players in the league. Despite his merits and reputation, the Bulls traded the veteran to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Deng and Chicago negotiated about a new contract but never reached common ground because Deng requested more than the offered $10 million per year. With his contract running out this summer, Deng will have several suitors who are willing to pay a steep price (looking at you Lakers). And while Deng is definitely a piece to a championship team, his asking price might be way over his actual value, at least compared to other younger players in his position.

 

8. Kyle Lowry, PG (Toronto Raptors)

After the departure of Rudy Gay, Lowry led his Toronto Raptors to one of the best records since the new year. The feisty point guard is posting exceptional numbers which earned him several suitors throughout the course of the NBA trade deadline. With Lowry’s contract set to expire this season, teams will be foolish enough to overpay the former Villanova Wildcat by a mile. The Knicks tried to acquire Lowry this season and nearly agreed to a package that included young players and draft picks. As with Teague, teams are searching for a starting point guard. Lowry’s price tag will be way too high though if you look at his career statistics.

 

7. Goran Dragic, PG (Phoenix Suns)

The new poster-boy of all overrated-lists. (Or just on mine, but still.) At the beginning of the season, Goran Dragic was a big stay-away for me in terms of point guards. Quick and a good shooter, his contract and his weakness on the defensive side of the game made the Slovenian the most unattractive starting point guard not named Raymond Felton. Dragic countered with a great season for the Phoenix Suns. He was in the all star discussion and continues to amaze experts with his play. However, we should be careful with point guards and coach tandems in their first year. Jeff Hornacek is instrumental in Dragic’s growth – I just don’t buy that he will show consistency. Dragic might even change teams this year because somebody will give a Godfather-like offer to the Suns. A big mistake.

 

6. Lance Stephenson, SG (Indiana Pacers)

Like Dragic, Stephenson was a member of the all star snub team. The former Coney Island star transformed into one of the most important players for the first-place Indiana Pacers. He became a playmaker and shot taker for the Pacers. Unfortunately, his contract is up and teams might mortgage their arenas to acquire Stephenson. Here’s the thing though: nobody knows if “Born ready” regresses back once he leaves Indiana and the lap of Larry Bird, who was instrumental in Lance becoming the player he is. Sometimes it’s all about the environment; every team that hopes Stephenson will be a franchise piece might end up with another head case and un-tradable contract next year.

 

5. Deron Williams, PG (Brooklyn Nets)

Deron Williams’ career as a member of the Nets is marked by a huge $100 million contract and a lot to be desired. D-Will still profits from the old days where the point guard was on the same level as Chris Paul. Several years later, Williams suffers from multiple ankle injuries and a season that didn’t pan out the way his fans had hoped. While Brooklyn became better the longer the season got, Williams never reached the top of his game. He basically is a 15-points and 6-assists guy now but nowhere near the player he was. Sources say that Brooklyn even tried to trade Williams this season. And while he has become better in March, there are still big question marks if Williams is at all the player who can lead a team to the finals.

 

4. Roy Hibbert, C (Indiana Pacers)

Next to Paul George, Roy Hibbert is the face of the improved Indiana Pacers, who emerged as a championship contender. Despite their recent struggles, the Pacers still own the best record in the east, thanks to a very strong first half of the season. Hibbert emerged early as a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year.

After the all star break though, Hibbert’s performance fell off a cliff. Compared to Joakim Noah or Dwight Howard, Hibbert is nowhere near the production of his positional rivals. Inconsistency and disappearing acts shaped Hibbert’s game during the last month, which made him fall behind in the race for best defender. His game, even when on top, is less influential than Noah’s in Chicago and a matchup with the Bull in the playoffs might end badly for the former Georgetown Hoya.

 

3. LaMarcus Aldridge, PF (Portland Trail Blazers)

Aldridge is having the best season of his career, leading the Trail Blazers to a great record while being selected to play in the All Star Game last February. Despite his performance throughout this season, it’s not justified to name Aldridge in the same sentence as Durant, James, Paul or Harden. Aldridge hasn’t proven he is able to shoulder the load and lead a team deep into the playoffs. Come 2015, he will be a free agent and teams will try to give him a max-deal – which would be a big mistake if you compare the power forward to Blake Griffin or Kevin Love. Aldridge’s sample-size of excellence is simply too small (as of now) to put him in the MVP conversation, something people generously did this year.

 

2. Carmelo Anthony, SF (New York Knicks)

Melo probably has had the best season of his career individually. He showed the will to compete every single night despite the horrendous season of his New York Knicks. With his choice to become a free agent this summer, questions arise how much he can be blamed for this year, especially with the chance to sign a 5-year, $129 million deal with the Knicks. Is Melo worth it? A LeBron would be, a Durant as well. Both would have been able to post a better record with this Knicks team than Anthony. His ability to lead a team has to be questioned and should be a concern for Phil Jackson, the new Team President.

 

1. Kyrie Irving, PG (Cleveland Cavaliers)

Irving’s brand and his reputation is bigger than his game – at least right now. The Cavaliers once again will miss the playoffs despite an improved roster and all the freedom in the world for Kyrie to lead. His game hasn’t improved, his defense is terrible and the fact that he isn’t overly excited about Cleveland as much as he is excited to build his brand speaks for itself. Irving has the skills to be one of the best point guards in the league. As long as he doesn’t change his mindset and approach towards the game and his responsibilities, he remains on top of this list as the most overrated player in the NBA.

 

Written by Robert Jerzy for Highsnobiety.com

MVP Season | The 20 Most Overrated Players in the NBA is a post by on Highsnobiety.

Slim Barrett: Thirty Year Retrospective

Melchoir wearing Slim Barrett jewellery
Melchoir wearing Slim Barrett jewellery Photography by Mark Kean, Styling by Kim O’Neil

Slim Barrett is one of London’s silent couturiers. From primitive chainmail bras and body armour to ornate coronets and avant-garde brooches, wandering through his archive feels like dipping into a piece of medieval history, or a “pirate’s treasure trove,” as Barrett refers to it. His Clerkenwell studio tells a gothic tale of baroque tiaras, Bauhaus pendants, dripping chandeliers and extravagant swirling me…