On July 14th, 1987 Major League Baseball's Rookie of The Year Award was officially renamed the Jackie Robinson Award, 40 years after Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line.
On July 14th, 1987 Major League Baseball's Rookie of The Year Award was officially renamed the Jackie Robinson Award, 40 years after Jackie Robinson broke the baseball color line.
Living in New York has many advantages, especially for an artist. Not only does the Big Apple’s backdrop provide an ample amount of inspiration, it also contains many of the necessary resources needed to build virtually anything from the ground up. Gianni Cortes may not be from the concrete jungle, or any other booming city, but his determination to leave a lasting impression in the fashion world is truly commendable.
The Tampa, Florida native has conjured up his very own clothing line FŌE, at the young age of 19 years old. Gianni, who is also a self-taught photographer, started the ready-to-wear brand with simple graphic tees and has since garnered a huge buzz in his home state.
I recently sat down with the budding designer to find out a bit more of his come up and passion for fashion. Check it out below:
FRENDY: Gianni, it’s a pleasure to speak with you. With all due respect, one doesn’t necessarily think of Tampa as a fashion hotbed. What inspired you to start your line?
GIANNI: Thank you Frendy, the pleasure is all mine. It really isn't at all, there are very minimal resources here. I utilized the Internet to make these resources available to me. I taught myself graphic design and not long after started making T-shirts. It's something I just fell in love with.
FRENDY: When did you initially embark on your fashion journey? Also, did you receive any aid from your parents or any close friends to jumpstart your line?
GIANNI: When I was 15 years old I screen printed 400 pieces, which included hoodies and tees. I would bring 5 or so a day to my high school and the kids who wore my shirts started to spread the word.
I work full time for my dad's construction company to fund my clothes and so I can save to relocate to LA, which will be happening within two years. So in a way, yes they aided me but it was earned. I think my young age has given me a competitive edge however that won't last as I get older because I know what people want right now and talk to people in my target audience.
FRENDY: What does FŌE stand for?
GIANNI: FŌE stands for Freedom of Expression. Clothing is a form of art and expression depending how you see it. The time and the craftsmanship put into some garments separate it from normal clothing that you just need to cover your body. It's something people want and want other people to see them in.
FRENDY: How did you market your very first release?
GIANNI: Marketing my very first release was simple in a way because of my age. I did not do it as an official business so I focused local and attended every event and just being cool with every type of person has helped me.
FRENDY: Can you please explain your latest collection?
GIANNI: My collection that is dropping this spring is called "The American Dream.” The vision for it is the values and visions of the youth in today's world, but how those drastically change as you grow and mature. It consists of men's and women's pieces featuring custom treated fabrics and perfected fit for any body type. I personally scale and make the cutting patterns myself.
FRENDY: So you do all of the cut & sewing yourself?
GIANNI: No I don't do all cut & sew by myself. I make cut patterns and grade my pieces and create measurements. I am very involved in the process of manufacturing my clothing and don't leave it to someone else.
FRENDY: Where do you sell your garments? Are there any stores carrying the brand?
GIANNI: Currently my clothes are available exclusively on my website, foethreadsco.com. I will have stock in retailers for my newest collection but will not release names until it happens.
FRENDY: What would you say separates the brand from others that are created by your peers?
GIANNI: The thing that separates me from other brands is my ability to innovate and my standpoint as a younger competitor. I can talk with the largest buying market for clothes and relate to my target. Instead of creating something I can't relate to.
FRENDY: Which brands are you currently fond of and why?
GIANNI: Brands I am fond of now are Gucci (I love their latest pieces), Undercover and Vetements. I love the niche Vetements found.
FRENDY: You stated earlier that you’re planning an LA move. What will you do there exactly?
GIANNI: I plan to move to LA in two years to pursue fashion and myself full time. Yes my Internet based resources will work for now but I never planned to live in Tampa permanently. I have visited LA many times before and I definitely see myself making a living there.
FRENDY: What is your ultimate goal as a designer?
GIANNI: My ultimate goal as a designer is to create storylines of each collection that focus on cultural issues and developing mindsets of the next generation that are not fully matured and that have been altered. I want to shed light on these through visuals, short films, or pieces that tell a story but don't speak to loud on the matter. It will just be an expression of myself and my inner thoughts. Big things are coming.
To remain relevant in the music world, artists must continually reinvent themselves with original golden sounds that’ll have listeners begging for more.
Rising Staten Island-bred spitter Cadeem Francis, better known as YF, is more than aware of such productive scheme. This is why he deliberately took two years off to perfectly craft his art. With a fresh perspective on the game and an arsenal of new tunes, the 25-year-old lyricist has returned to the rap arena with a gruesome vengeance.
I am proud to exclusively premiere YF’s comeback single, “Scales.” Produced by Ty Goods, the boisterous banger features an undisclosed crooner who undeniably blazed the hook. I briefly spoke with the LWA (Leaders With Ambition) lyricist to gain a deeper understanding of his much awaited sonic release.
FRENDY: How did “Scales” come about?
YF: The record was made last year while I was in Austin, Texas for SXSW. One of my homeboys, Sadiq, introduced me to the singer who eventually ended up on the record. We were roommates for the week while I was in Texas. The vocalist was gone off the acid the first day we met--he was so high I wasn’t even able talk to him. We formally introduced ourselves later that evening. I played some beats and the instrumental for “Scales” stuck out. He immediately freestyled the hook and that’s how the song came about. I already wrote my lyrics; it more so needed a solid hook, which the homie 100% provided.
FRENDY: There are tons of drug references in the tune, is there a deeper meaning behind all of the intoxicating lyrics?
YF: The song came together so perfectly because the majority of the people we stayed with in Austin were hardcore Trappers. The singer was definitely speaking from a buyer’s perspective because certain drugs help him create. As for me, I’ve seen how drugs work the majority of my life. It goes all the way back to Alberta, Virginia where I would stay for the summer to hang with my cousins when I was 14 years old. My great uncle and my two aunts owned 4 trailers. I wasn’t allowed in one of them because that’s where all the “activity” took place. One day, my curiosity led me to walk in the restricted trailer. My uncle Walter was there and he showed me everything--from coke to weed, pills etc. I can get deeper but that was the overall introduction.
I witnessed my uncle sell drugs, which ultimately led him to serve 25 years in Jail. Somehow he is still making money in the box (which I discuss in the second verse). Now I’m making music and learning how to make money off of it without lifting a finger. Everything was relatable so I had to talk about it in a record. Basically, the chorus is dedicated to the users and the verses are for the dealers (haha).
FRENDY: When can we hear more sounds from you? Will you be dropping a tape anytime soon?
YF: You’re going to hear more sounds from me shortly. I recorded alot of music within the last two years. I learned to not release all my bangers at once. I’ll drop a full project depending on the reception of my forthcoming singles.
What’s good everyone? It is with immense pleasure to exclusively premiere the debut single from rising Brooklyn spitter, Brett Bino.
Titled Timin’, the tonic tune pays homage to the one and only Pharrell Williams. It’s release couldn’t of take place at a better moment as Skateboard P regains full control of his beloved BBC/Ice Cream brand. God’s timing is truly precise!
Get your Cam Newton on (hey, he’s still the NFL’s MVP) and dab away to Bino’s Stereotistik produced banger below:
I’ve known Noel Veloz for about 4 years and since then his love for fashion was immeasurable. This is why it’s truly amazing to witness Noel transforming that same passion of everything style into a promising business.
Hemincuff, is the 24 year old designer’s very own leather goods brand. A lot of you (including myself) might be thinking, “Why in the hell is he starting his venture making leather bags?” but there is actually a method to the madness.
At 28, Noel’s dad migrated from The Dominican Republic to become a pattern maker in the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His father always had a love for leather but never took the necessary steps to pursue making those items after his business shut down, due to shady partners. In true entrepreneurial spirit, Noel’s padre took his sewing machine home and continued to create garments. He even began experimenting with leather but didn’t have the time to fully develop them. From a young age, Noel wanted to finish what his dad couldn’t, so he dived into the wonderful world of cowhide! He states, “ I just felt it was my purpose growing up—that inner voice just kept telling me to create leather goods. I started with T-shirts but major influencers in my life, like Olu and Ed from Street Level Culture, gave me a hint that people won’t take me seriously, and that I should stay true to the vision and save money to get it right.”
One of the ways Noel conjured up money to fund his line was by collecting cans aside from working full time. “I use to do it in a suit so no one could judge me. Many people don’t know the struggle I had to go through and I want to motivate people to be whoever they want to be”.
Noel’s father always claimed “the quality is always in the hem and cuff.” This very statement gave birth to the name Hemincuff and thoroughly reflects the hardworking Dominican immigrant’s values and passion for craftsmanship.
The ambiance of minimalistic designs and premium quality materials give Hemincuff bags versatility and functionality, while the bold designs offer the individual a display canvas for their unique personality.
Make sure to purchase yours at Hemincuff 's official website. Tell him Frendy sent you!
Ladies and gents, it is my pleasure to introduce Brett Bino.
Brett is a 23-year-old lyricist hailing from Brooklyn that’s well on his way to become one of New York’s elite spitters. Remember back in the day when one can actually infer where a Rapper was from based on their style, well rest assure that Bino carries a swag that only the concrete jungle can birth.
Falling in love with Hip Hop at the age of 13, Brett idolized the likes of Jay Z, Kanye, Pharrell and punch line king Fabolous. You bet your bottom dollar that those legends greatly influenced his overall quality of sonic offerings. Not only does the East New York bred artist deliver scorching bars, he engineers and masters all of his songs.
Bino’s Stereotistik produced debut teaser, titled “Need Me”, is a rework of the Key Wane curated sound used at the end of Big Sean and Jhené Aiko’s ballad “I know”. The tune is only a few seconds shy of two minutes but packs a punch that’ll leave you begging for more hits!
Check out the song’s PlainNative directed clip which feature a cameo from The Campaign collective below. To listen on soundcloud, click HERE.
Matthew Gonsalves recently started a brand titled Disposable Lives where a percentage of all profits are donated to charities that support and assist in the treatment of teenage suicide and depression. The name of the line itself refers to those who feel disposable in society and because of that has no choice but to put value in themselves.
The "Prayer Tee" that I am wearing above is Matthew’s first release. Here’s what the 18 year old London College of Fashion student had to say about his creation, “Disposable lives isn’t meant to be my bread and butter. I have other business ventures that are here to generate profit. I refer to the brand as a small project where I work with friends to create something that feels good.”
To support the movement, click HERE.
Photographed By: Shane Miller
Allow me to introduce Lu Trey LaRoux better known in the music arena as Trey Deuce. I initially noticed my fellow Haitian brother from his frequent stops at BAPE NYC but we never exchanged words simply because the store was always crowded every time he walked in. It was until my last day working at the SoHo boutique that the budding rapper approached me stating “Man, you’re the fly guy! I always see you all over my Instagram”. With that kind of intro, there was no way I couldn’t be cool with him.
I actually found out Trey was into music a few weeks ago when we bumped into each other at the subway. After a whole conversation about the trials of getting his music video done, I told him that we should do business once it was completed. After bouncing back a few emails, here we are!
I sat down briefly with Trey Deuce to talk about his love of Hip-Hop and the visual for his new single "Calm Vibes". Check it out below:
Frendy: When did your love of rap come about?
Trey: Ahh man good question. I'll say In 1998 when I first saw the music video "Get At Me Dog" by DMX which led to me being a fan of his, then later on with "Ruff Ryder's Anthem", "What These Bitches Want", "Party Up"...man he had a strong run. Also in 1999 when Cash Money got hot I was fascinated with all the jewelry, women, and all that fast life. Especially the grills. That had me hooked. I can genuinely say I was a Lil Wayne fan way before he got Mainstream hot in the late 2000s. Lastly, lemme not forget bout that white boy from Detroit lol. When I first saw the "My Name Is" video in 1999 I was awe struck cuz I'm thinking who's this white boy spitting these dope bars?!
Frendy: Why did you want to take music seriously?
Trey: Because I had a moment when I was thinking 'bout all the new rappers coming up and it just hit me like: "yo! None of these cats are better than you". They don't rap better than you nor write better than you, but they do GRIND better than you so I guess that's why I'm here and they over there (...up there). At that moment I was like Man U gotta "Get up Get Out and Do Something", couldn't let this life pass me by. So yea, I've been grinding ever since.
Frendy: What is your motivation to succeed?
Trey: Primarily for self: Me. Myself....and I. Some may call it selfish but I strongly believe that in order to help others you must first help yourself. Better yourself before you can be a source of empowerment for another being. Another motivation is of course my family. We come from nothing. We still in the hood. As Jay Z stated, "I got nieces and nephews to look after" plus a lil brother, a mom and sister who I need to provide Better Dayz for.
Frendy: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
Trey: As the number 1 person in music and entertainment. Also the head of an innovative, culture shifting, very successful Empire.
Frendy: Explain to me the visual of the single that I'm about to premiere?
Trey: When coming up for the video for my single "Calm Vibes", I wanted to build on what I did on the record and take it next level. The dark, trippy, grimy aesthetics are consistent with the song and New York City. I wanted to bring that 90s NYC feel to it with the posse cuts and us mobbing thru the streets on some Wu Tang/G-Unit shit.”
With that said, check out the music video below. Oh, and make sure you switch the tube to 1080p HD quality for full indulgence. Enjoy!
What’s good everyone! Allow me to present a new section on the blog specifically created for Artist Submissions. I took a huge break from acknowledging tons of up and coming artists I personally knew simply because the love shown to them was hardly reciprocated. With the site’s rising popularity, I thought it was best to return to my charitable ways but in a more professional, business manner. If you’re interested in being featured, simply shoot me an email to Frendy@FRNDYLMRN.com describing your body of work, providing pictures and any links pertaining to it. I’ll then dish the necessary information (fee) to continue our venture. Looking forward to hear what y’all got cooking up!
The very first artist to be showcased goes by the name of Darrell Branham better known as MeloD. I was introduced to the rising Rapper by the homie James Stephens-Anderson who’s been supporting me heavily ever since our initial encounter at BAPE earlier this year. The West Atco, New Jersey raised lyricist began his craft at the age of 13. He states, “my boy Chris Brown used to bang the pencils on the lunch tables and me and all my boys would rap. I then started putting the flip phones up to the computer speaker to record myself. I remember my boys had me on they ringtones off the Bubba Sparxx “Bojangles” Instrumental (haha)”.
At the age of 11, MeloD moved from his hometown to Sicklerville, NJ. Four years later, he met Malik Holland who introduced him to the streets of Camden. “I fell in love with the city life and the vibrations of music. Sitting in the studio on top of a barbershop on Haddon Avenue listening to my cousin Ace "Ace Groove" mixtape. I started off watching him and my bro Leek record and I sat back and learned the craft. I just loved being amongst the people feeling the energy and from that point on I just knew if I could get good enough I can make a name for myself out here”.
The time has come for MeloD to shine! Check out his latest offering below: