Check out the interview with Rakim here or read it just below.
AL: We first worked together back in 2000, when I did the A&R coordination for Bathing Ape, and we did that track NYC to Tokyo with your old manager the late great Bill Blast. What was the first street wear item you had to have growing up as a kid?
RA: I think the first time I was particular about having some sneakers was the Chuck Taylor’s. Na mean, coming up just a little dude. We were rocking the white high tops in the hood heavy.
AL: What dropped next?
RA: After that the shell top Adidas popped off. I remember telling Mom, it’s enough of these Skips. I used to rip my Skips up and tell Mom, I need a new pair of sneakers.
AL: What was the evolution between that and like, Dapper Dan?
RA: Dap, he’s the OG, he would sew a suit on your back.
AL: For a guy to make custom clothes in that era ,of that quality shows such innovation. That’s the core of American street fashion, it’s to take something dope and flip it on a street level.
RA: And that’s what the hood was doin. We was taking records that was made already, sample it up, do it again. Put that neighborhood touch on it and it’s a whole new world.
AL: And that’s exactly what Dapper Dan was doing.
RA: Yeah, and I feel Dap for doing that. He took high fashion and made it for the hood. Gucci, Fendi, Louie, they wasn’t making leather jackets with the hood. They wasn’t making leather pants. They wasn’t doin all that. So for Dap to bring all that to the table was genius.
AL: Is it safe to say Dapper Dan is the first American street wear designer?
RA: We gonna have to say that LaCrate, Dap is that dude. Early.
AL: I agree man. So let’s switch up a little bit. You started out on 4th and Broadway records. After you dropped the first single, how fast were you doing shows?
RA: About 2 weeks later we were booked at Latin Quarter, Rooftop, and Union Square.
AL: Can you describe a little bit what the NYC club scene was like back then?
RA: I remember sitting at the table on the side of the club and Just Ice would be on the other side of the club. Just would scream across the club, “Yo Raa”, “Yo Raa” and me and Just would go and sit down. I remember when cats like Alpo, sent some Moet over to the table. The music was loud the club was packed.
AL: Thanks for this interview Ra.
RA: LaCrate, thanks for the interview my dude.