Culture Shock: Festival Fashion Gets Branded

With two weekends of Ultra behind us, and Coachella fast approaching, everyone has been coming down with a case of festival fever, and the retailers have taken notice. Like its hip-hop predecessor, the EDM genre has caught the eye of the fashion industry, which has now adopted the trending festival styles into their own fashion campaigns. 

Just take a look at what some notable retail chains have come up with for their spring/summer advertisements. It won’t be long before tie-dyed bandeaus and furry hoods are gracing the editorial pages of Vogue (Ummm not!).

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Legendary Bronx Graffiti Artist Cope2 Reimagines BlackBook Logo for Mountain Dew Kickstart Launch

To celebrate the launch of Mountain Dew Kickstart, a fruit-infused breakfast beverage that occupies the space between juice, coffee, soda, and energy drinks (market research says there’s a space there, so there is), the company hooked up with legendary graffiti artist Cope2 for a cool project. They rented studio space near the Brooklyn Navy Yard and had the Bronx native (birth name Fernando Carlo) reimagine the logos of a few select magazines. They also sent a car, and I enjoyed weaving in slow motion through the Satmar Hasidic community of Williamsburg, marveling at their religious garb and the fact that Purim pop-up stores exist ("For All Your Purim Needs").

When I finally got to the studio at around noon–up the rickety elevator and along the dark, battleship-gray corridors–the gregarious artist got right to work on the BlackBook logo, wasting no time in creating an edgy, city-inspired work of art that takes the brand’s moody edge and gives it just the right dose of street style. It was fun to watch him make it, a process that took no more than half an hour. At first it seemed kind of bubbly and formless, but once he added the black lines between the letters and the dripping effect, it really popped off the canvas. How do you get the lines so sharp? I asked. "Thirty years of practice," Cope answered.

Cope In Progress on BlackBook Logo

It’s actually more than thirty years. Cope started tagging subway cars and buildings back in 1978, as a pre-teen, soon becoming one of the city’s most prolific–and wanted–street artists. Plenty of run-ins with the law ensued, and, banking on a talent that surpassed most of his peers, he went mainstream, having since done work for everyone from Converse to Mark Ecko to Time magazine. (There’s still the occasional arrest, though. You can take the artist out of the streets, but you can’t take the streets out of the artist.)

Now, Cope’s art, which extends beyond tagging to elaborate oil paintings and other multi-media projects, is visible in galleries and other public spaces around the world. And here he was in Brooklyn, spraying away at the canvas as I sipped a can of orange citrus Kickstart (tastes good, gets you going). It’s amazing to see him work, his mind moving even faster than his hands as his vision unfolds on the canvas. In what seemed like no time at all, he was finished and we were posing in front of the slickest magazine logo out there. Of course, he also created a logo for Mountain Dew Kickstart, which is a bit more elaborate.

Cope Mountain Dew Logo

I gave him a copy of the latest Vibe, our sister publication, and he whipped up a logo for them as well. I’ll let them present it to you. Again, we admired his work and chatted a bit about the process, before he painted over it and started on the next one. Even in the studio, graffiti art is an ephemeral thing. Enjoy it while you can. And a big thank-you to Mountain Dew. If only every press event was this fun. 

Cope and Victor

For more information on Mountain Dew Kickstart, visit and follow them on Twitter at @Mtn_Dew. For the latest on Cope2’s work, visit his official website

Photos by Sarah Hoppes.

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[Related: Vibe’s Logo Gets Revamped By Graffiti Artist Cope2Graffiti Artist Retna’s World of Words; Retna Murals in Vegas are Brilliant]

Deck Out: Top 25 Most Stylin’ DJs

In need of some fashion ideas that are outside the crate this holiday season? Take a cue from these DJs from across the globe, of all ages, who know how to both drop the needle and select unique threads.

A sneak peek:
Audrey Napoleon’s signature jet black hair, smokey eyes and tough noir leather jacket is goth chic.
Maya Jane Coles has pixie punk appeal with a fly vintage blazer and music that blazes.
Israeli DJ Guy Gerber is always lookin’ fly in a cool pair of shades.
Afrojack rocks ruff n’ stuff with his collection of designer hoodies.

For the full list, head over to our buddies at VIBE and see the spread in all its glory.  

Up in Richard Wheeler’s HOUS: Fashion Tips + VIBE & HOUS Limited Editions at #VIBEVMix!

VIBE has joined forces with NYC’s legendary LAVO NYC doorman/fashion designer, Richard Wheeler, to create a limited edition HOUS shirt that will be sold exclusively at our first-ever V-Mix concert starring A-Trak and A$AP Mob, this Thursday Nov 29. (TICKETS HERE). Wheeler sat down to give us the skinny of secrets to passing his coveted red rope, the 411 on the VIBE collabo and more.

Why is the Vibe V-Mix concert important?
The answer is simple: VIBE nailed it, a leader in hip-hop youth culture that has created an event that solidifies what is happening today. Electronic Dance Music, becoming the most exciting genre of music today, literally exploding on the dance floors across the globe, top ten charts, TV and advertising. The truth is, within this explosion of EDM it was greatly helped by hip-hop and it’s collaboration with EDM. Today they dominate together. This event is a reflection of this. Let’s celebrate!

Name some of the most stylish celebs that have passed the red rope at LAVO:
Mariah Carey, Michael Jordan, John Legend, Black Eyed Peas, Leo DiCaprio, Steve Aoki, Ciara, Jay Sean, Lennox Lewis, to name a few. We have seen nearly Every Victoria’s Secret Model on many occasions – a preference, naturally. Justin Beiber has some style (surprisingly!). My Zenith was reached when I lifted the rope for Stevie Wonder.

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Vibe Media Sends Food Truck to Rockaways Hurricane Victims

Nobody in the New York area will forget Hurricane/Tropical Storm Sandy any time soon. Even those of us lucky enough not to have lost power or been forced to evacuate know many people who did. While the region did much to prepare, Sandy still ended up being a bona fide natural disaster, with major property damage and, sadly, more than 100 fatalities along the east coast. As with watershed events such as 9/11, the 2003 blackout, and the 2005 transit strike, people are already referring to the pre- and post-Sandy eras, as if our collective mindset has been permanently changed by it. And so, in the post-Sandy era, we at Vibe Media, the parent company of Vibe, Vibe Vixen, Uptown, and BlackBook, felt bad for those who had lost so much, and decided we’d feel better if we did something to help. And so we have. We’re sending a food truck—the Milk Truck, to be specific—to the Rockaways to distribute comfort food to hurricane victims. It’s there right now, and I must say, I feel good about it. 

It happened like this. Despite the loss of several productive days at the end of October—our office is on 19th Street in Manhattan, and was without power for a full week—the company had a good month in October. We surpassed our page view goals, which normally means that everybody gets a small bonus to recognize their contributions. Nothing too earth-shattering, but enough for a fun night out, which is definitely something we’re into

But Uptown executive editor Chrystal Parker had the idea of putting our bonuses toward hiring a food truck to deliver food to those most affected by the storm. It was a great idea, and before long everybody was signing their little windfalls over to the cause. When you add all that up, and then double it, thanks to a company match, we had enough to actually make a difference. And that’s what’s happening right now, as I type these words. The Milk Truck, famous for its grilled cheese sandwiches, soups, and other comfort food items, is currently parked at Beach 129th Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, dishing out hot meals between noon and 4pm to people working to reclaim their lives and homes.

Fixing the damage will take months, if not years, and millions, if not billions, of dollars. But there’s plenty of value in grilled cheese and soup box lunches, each served with a sweet gherkin. Not only are they warm and delicious, they also tell victims that there are people in their community who care about them, and want them to know that they’re not alone. I’ll forgo a night out on the town for that, and it’s nice to know that the people I work with will too. 

Will David Guetta Spin The Fate of R&B?

It’s hard to tell where the crowd’s flickering lighters meet the beaming LED screens strung around Randall’s Island like Christmas trees on steroids. The sun has set on the former juvenile delinquent reform school site as David Guetta steps onto the main stage for his performance at New York’s enormous electronic music event, Electric Zoo. The 35,000 dance music devotees look like a sea of neon-clad ants from up here. One thing is clear: The scene is definitely a zoo, and the 44-year-old Frenchman is its ringleader.

The show has begun. Spasmodic lights begin to flash and flicker while Star Trek-esque synths pump from the speakers. Guetta drops the opening chords of Sia’s “Titanium (Alesso Remix)” before announcing his arrival to the Big Apple this morning from Ibiza, the island that’s home to his famed Fuck Me I’m Famous party that draws the likes of and Diddy weekly. “New York!” he drags out. “Are you ready to party?!” On cue, the break beat drops and concertgoers collectively go ape shit as Guetta dances, flails and orchestrates in the DJ booth. He neither sings, raps, chants, nor ad-libs—yet the man puts on one hell of a show.

“It always means something special to me when I play in cities like New York or Chicago or Detroit because this is where [house] music was born even though it became more of a European thing later on,” says the tall, lumbering producer/DJ from beneath a mangled mane of blonde waves and a grin so wide it teeters on goofy. The one-hour set wrapped 20 minutes ago, and he’s now lounging lithely on the black leather couch in his trailer, wearing a crisp black T-shirt with an eagle screen-printed across. The peaceful energy Guetta exudes is contagious in a way that anyone—from within a room to an arena—can feel, part of why millions flock to see him nightly across the globe.

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The ‘8 Mile’ Cast Reunites for 10th Anniversary

Can you believe it’s been ten years since the release of 8 Mile? Eminem’s first (and only) film was a hit, earning the rapper an Oscar for Best Original Song (it’s a shame Eminem didn’t show up to the awards ceremony to pick up his trophy from surprised presenter Barbra Streisand). Our friends at Vibe got the 8 Mile cast together (including Eminem, Mekhi Phifer, Anthony Mackie, Evan Jones, and Omar Benson Miller) to reminisce for the October/November issue. Check it out!

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Diplo Is Exactly Who He Wants to Be: The Middle Man

Diplo sits in a studio in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, tinkering a beat he’s worked on for months. He takes it from 134 beats per minute down to 128. It still doesn’t sound right. “My ears are so fucked to this. Let’s see what it sounds like at 130,” he says to a young producer from Europe assisting him today. The Dutch rapper who introduced them loafs on a couch nearby. “Polska, whatever his name is,” Diplo later tells me, “is like the A$AP Rocky of Holland.”

The track initially resembled a “house record” but turned into a “trap record” after Diplo slowed it down and added some bass. Complicating matters is that the song features Pharrell. “I’m trying to negotiate what Pharrell wants for the record,” he says. “Pharrell loved the demo, but the demo is so monotone for me. It’s just a mixtape cut [now,] but it can be bigger than that because the hook is so good.”

Diplo wears a maroon T-shirt, mustard-colored skinny jeans and sleek gray high-top Puma sneakers, looking every bit like the cool-kid DJ he’s been for nearly a decade. But since producing singles for Usher, Chris Brown, Wale, and Beyoncé, he’s evolved into a new role—rap and R&B’s latest hitmaker for hire. It’s a welcome transition for Diplo. Spinning records has brought him the residency in Vegas, the BlackBerry sponsorship and the big-money corporate gigs—“Sometimes I make more money in a weekend than my grandpa made in a year”—but he doesn’t think DJing is a special talent or challenging or… “Being a DJ is pretty bullshit,” he says. “I’m lucky I can produce records, too, because DJs don’t do shit. They just fucking play records. Usher is trained to dance. Justin Bieber had to train 24 hours a day to be a performer. What I do is pretty simple. It’s a good time to be a DJ and make good money, but you definitely can’t have an ego doing this shit because it’s not that cool.”

Diplo is right about one thing: It is a good time to be a DJ. Electronic dance music festivals are the summer’s hottest tickets, corporate promoters such as Live Nation and AEG Live are buying in, and top DJs like Skrillex, Afrojack and Deadmau5 are the new rock stars. It’s a feeding frenzy that, according to Diplo, will not last. “It’s definitely a bubble,” he says. “But some people are good at what they do. Skrillex is a bonafide superstar.”

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Five Reasons Why Timbaland & Missy Elliott Would Make Aaliyah’s Album a Classic

In case you haven’t heard by now, it sounds like Drake is going to serve as the executive producer of Aaliyah’s forthcoming posthumous album. Using previously unreleased Baby Girl vocals, Drizzy has quite the task ahead of him. He needs to do everything he can to honor the legacy of Aaliyah and create an album that’s worthy of being placed next to the stuff she put out before her untimely death in 2001.

But, that’s not all. He also needs to do it while many of Aaliyah’s biggest fans criticize the fact that Timbaland and Missy Elliott aren’t the executive producers on the project. After all, they were largely responsible for much of her success, so why weren’t they picked to produce her posthumous album? That’s what they’re both wondering—and what we’re sure many of you are wondering, too.

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