So when your boy CizzCa$sh (he’s white) called and said they wanted to do a shoot about Baltimore’s emerging hipster scene for Slizz  (a tastemaker glossy art/lifestyle mag that describes itself as “If Vice had a younger illiterate sister who worked at a gas station and had a Money ova Errythang tattoo un ironically…yet costed 14 euros an issue.”)- it wasn’t hard to get some “emerging” artists to pose.

Somewhere between the flavor of local neighborhood degenerates and the perfect white trash bone structure that enables total garbage to be actual models lies these guys. 

High school graduates posing in $200 hoodies. 

5 men with one ambition “to make dope beats” that is, if life doesn’t get in the way. And by life I mean accidentally getting their girlfriends pregnant, getting a DUI or getting beaten up by Mac Miller’s body guard. Finally, the late 90’s born youth of America has something financial to substantiate their cries of “See, told ya hanging’ around at the skate park would lead to something.”

This is the crew! Together they are “Aphaluphagus” but, of course, they each have their side projects and deals.

Starting on the left “SideAfx” he came up through the Tulsa EDM scene. Haven’t heard of the Tulsa EDM scene? That’s because he WAS the Tulsa EDM scene. Just him…and an 808.

In the Jesus jersey we have… “Jesus Jersey”- his whole schtick is that he wears shirts with Jesus on them, because Jesus is hilarious, right guys? That well hasn’t run dry AT ALL. 

In the blue we have “Juan Ton” the half Chinese half Mexican mixing board master  who is trying DESPERATELY to mix in Reggaeton with ambient forrest noises and make it a thing. 

Far right we have “I’m Fucking Horrible” with his punk ass Jason Mews doppleganger look. This guy fell out of casting call for Welcome to the Dollhouse II: The Rape Scenes and if not for his marginal abilities to promote his local trance scene through the illegal purchasing and distributing of Xanax, he would 100% work in a warehouse or be in jail. Buuuut through the power of music and his generation’s desire to reject anything decent and go above and beyond to recruit and accept all things mediocre, he has a career and a side project with “A$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$” an all clarinet Ghost House jazz quartet who does’t play music, they just phonetically write the sounds down on paper and then fax them to a local Wendy’s. 

Sitting down is Tyler who stole the top half of my Aunt Shirley’s warm up suit from 1992. He’s the last one to come up through this crew and signed a record deal with Kendrick Lamar’s…half black half Yiddish cousin, Schmendrick Lamar. 

Every single one of these guys reeks of pot and B.O.

I just wanna come out and say, like, my generation? Is the worst. I’m so sorry. You could look at our parents and say “well they looked just as goofy in bell bottoms and hippie clothes with long hair”- the difference is our parents stood for something substantial… Eventually. Yeah, maybe at first it was about pot and drugs and free love, but eventually your dad packed up his VW wagon, moved to San Francisco, got a job writing for a paper, met your mom, had you and then he was normal. That’s not happening for most of my generation who will be 19 until their 90 and still won’t have signed up for Obamacare (It’s FREE you idiots, you voted for the guy because of it! Oh, you didn’t vote at all? You just wore a $300 t shirt with his name on it? Word.)

Silly rap names are a part of societal reparations. Because we haven’t made things right in our society and there is still a huge socio economic difference between black and white, part of what rappers get to do is get super stoned and come up with ridiculous names for themselves and then demand they be addressed as such. Gucci…Mane? Are you fucking kidding me? You’re first name is Gucci. Because you want people to know that you’ve made so much money that you can afford nice leather bags. (You’re black from Alabama. No one is thinking you have Mafia ties. Remember the last black guy to work with the Mob? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBEZaGyExBU)

But who’s gonna challenge it? Challenge it and what? Look racist? No way. Wocka Flocka Flame. You are a grown man and you want a name that rhymes? As it is you’re gonna get made fun of if your name is Ronald McDonald, but Wocka fucking Flocka Flame? That’s a name to be revered and feared. “Here’s your table, Mr. Flocka Flame.”

Before Two Chainz was Two Chainz, he went by Tity Boi (Titty isn’t even spelled right! And I’m positive it was unintentional) because the theme in hip hop is getting white people to say your silly name and respect you for it. Even the smart rappers, the businessmen, the smart ones dip into it. Diddy? You’re a father and you want people calling you Diddy. 

Two Chainz is a fucking joke. He’s horrible. But it’s our young society’s  bleeding heart and unrecognized white guilt that prompts us to accept him. The more ghetto, the more ridiculous the more fucking stupid, the more we yearn, neigh, CRAVE, to connect with it in an attempt to show everyone that we are color blind and are so fucking down with whatever because “we’re all the same” but we aren’t. There are two types of people in our society, dumb and smart- they come in all colors.  And I don’t wanna hear “Well, you’re talking about him, so he must be smart if you’re talking about him” fuck you, people still talk about Lizzy Borden but I don’t think part of her plan was to be a public figure 200 years later. He isn’t smart, it’s the team around him who are gonna make money loooong after he’s gone to jail for tax evasion, debt, drug possession or any of the other crimes no rapper ever has committed, that are smart. 

Any fleeting fame a non intelligent rapper attains is a calculated moment on behalf of their team and didn’t happen just through straight hustlin’.

People blow up from mistakes all the time. Just like Kim Kardashian’s fame, it was a lightning never strikes twice crazy moment where someone outside of her was like “I bet we could run with this” and if you expect me to believe she’s sitting at home reading Atlas Shrugged playing Risk with media outlet pieces, then you’re part of the problem. She had a humiliating sex tape that leaked and her blood sucking mother made something of it. If you think that kind fame that can be duplicated, show me another sex tape that came after hers that anyone gave a shit about. You can’t. Lightning only strikes once. Wish it would strike her. BUT I DIGRESS!

We’ve come up with this over saturated homogenous blend of misguided  hip hop runoff. You wanna like Lil Wayne? Good. The guy’s a fucking genius. And he gets a pass for “Tunchi” because his grandma used to call him that.  I can’t take your art seriously if you deliberately or unconsciously don’t take yourself seriously, as reflected in stupid sounding names.  This isn’t black or white- remember the Butthole Surfers? Fuck them too. Jokes on us because we have to say “Butthole” every time we talk about them. Two Chainz isn’t the first rapper to rap about big booty bitches and jewelry… he’s so fucking unoriginal it pains me. 

Donald Glover didn’t need to call himself “Donald Shmonald” to put out a great album. Childish Gambino was done tongue in cheek, I’m sure of it.  Future didn’t have to call himself “Time Traveling Space Man” to have a good album. 

Two Chainz won’t be around in 5 years. Belie-dat. Most rap songs, in general, are absolutely terrible but hey, someone smart put together a good beat behind the brilliant lyrics of “She got a big booty so I call her big booty” so if you need a song to burn calories to while you’re drunk dancing, then perfect. 

Yo, there are plenty of good rappers with silly names, I mean, Eminem isn’t exactly the coolest name ever, but he’s talented. As fuck. He grew up just as poor as any other rapper and I’ve never heard him once rap about designer clothes or jets. 50 Cent? Eh, it’s okay- but he gets by. Jay Z and Kanye West. Normal names (Well, Kanye isn’t a normal name but it’s his given name so it’s okay) and they are two of the most prolific rappers in the game. Just an opinion. Thanks for scrolling down and reading, unless you’re computer mouse is configured weird. then you didn’t scroll down. You scrolled up. Started from the bottom, now we’re here. 

All hoodies are like $400 and silk screened in the back of the store onto American Apparel material.