Some more gems from Complex Con

Complex Con 18 Recap Sizzle Reel (via @Complex)

Talk about stimulation overload. Complex Con had it all last weekend in Long Beach and as a first-timer, I was simply blown away by the creativity, art, and fashion all on display. In fact, it took me a full week just to sift through everything and continue to reflect about the positive impact and community throughout the two days. Here’s just some of many highlights.

For those unaware, Complex Con is basically the hotbed marketplace for the hip hop culture. Users are first treated to an endless space of brand activations from the biggest names in streetwear and your favorite sneaker companies – all trying to outdo one another.

Around the convention center is a full stage and venue for music performances, an outdoor area for the best LA food trucks and pop-up spots, and my personal favorite: auditoriums for #ComplexConversations — where Complex conducted panel discussions and showcased their original programming (from Hot Ones to Real Late with Peter Rosenberg).

The conversations ranged from Sneaker of the Year to an analysis and communal endeavor to improve upon society’s ills today. All of it inspiring, especially the latter if you can imagine. Here’s a succinct example via the young jedi Jaden Smith:

Skim below for some more #content. I had some fun creating a couple Insta Stories for each day.

Day 1 features some snaps of the Complex Con scene, Takashi x OVO, the Sneaker of the Year Panel with Allen Iverson, and even yours truly and Maksim Presence (peep that Gary Vee interview!)

…and Day 2 features a bunch of celebrity cameos (everyone from Nas to Karreuche to Dennis Rodman) and concludes with some more gems from Jaden Smith.

DAY 1:

DAY 2:

And now for some photos! All of the below is via @Complex.

Complex Con 2018 Host: Takashi Murakami

 

‘Women Behind The Lens’ #ComplexConversations with Issa Rae, Lena Waithe, Karena Evans, Nadeska Alexis, Yara Shahidi, hosted by: Jemele Hill

 

The Cadillac Experience My personal favorite. That grid moved. 👀

 

adidas

 

Pusha T @ adidas

 

Ty Dolla $ign @ Puma

 

Future headlines Day 2

 

First We Feast Lagoon

 

Complex Art Experience

 

@MichaelPurdie dunks at the And-1 court

* * * *

Let’s conclude this with The Answer. Complex posted this fascinating sit-down interview for 24 minutes as A.I. shares stories with Michael Jordan, Biggie, and how he even came up with some fashion and sneaker trends.

Thank you Complex Con! We’ll be back again next year. 🙏

FKA Twigs covers Complex

The latest evocative cover from Complex comes one day after their latest with Kid Cudi & Jeremy Piven as FKA Twigs joins in as the dual stars for the June/July issue.

With it comes a new interactive cover story, per usual with a couple tidbits below and the full read here. Needless to say, but I’m looking forward to Twigs’ next project, EP3, which is talked about a lot in the story.

She explains her issue with the ubiquitous “alternative R&B” label assigned to her music by the media: “It’s a little bit because of how I look. Maybe if I looked differently, then people would be like, ‘Oh, I can hear these classical sounds in her voice.’”

“It’s not that I don’t want to be called R&B, but there are lots of other things, as well. So let’s talk about everything.”

The “everything” includes, yes, some R&B-esque melody structures, but also hard, hip-hop inspired drums, avant-garde electronic production, and field recordings (she mentions recording the click of a hotel key card and, later via Boots, water dripping from a toilet). Though her vocals on LP1 were more whispery and choral, on EP3 she plays with pitching her voice higher, like on the hooks of “Glass & Patron” and “In Time.”

“I try and make it as visceral as possible,” she says when asked about her vocal and production choices. “I want people to hear the sinews in the drums and the clicking sounds. I want it to feel physical, like it’s in your body, because that’s how I feel.”

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Kid Cudi & Jeremy Piven cover Complex

Chalk another striking cover to Complex with Kid Cudi and Jeremy Piven donning their June/July issue in advance of the Entourage Movie this week. In the film, Cudi will be playing Ari Gold’s assistant so it’s cool to see their dynamic pushed out in a big way as a unique part of all the Entourage promotion.

On top of that, the cover story is a nice read too as they explore their odd couple dynamic, their mutual respect, and creative passions. I particularly like how level-headed they are, stressing patience and not to take things personally in business, or in life. So this interview is a gem for its relatable substance and I suggest you hit the link for the full read. (Plus, did you know Piven is a big Biggie fan?)

Here’s a little bit of an excerpt where Kid Cudi first starts talking about music.

KC: Nowadays, anyone can make some shit in their room. It’s easy to make shit. You don’t even need a keyboard now. People make beats, become an artist overnight, and it’s like, “Where’s the hard work?” I remember me and Dot Da Genius sitting for hours, me being on him about the mix for “Day ’n’ Nite,” being like, “It’s not right. We want people to take us seriously.” We listened to Dr. Dre’s beats. We listened to Timbaland’s kicks and drums. Kanye shit—we needed to sound as professional as that. We didn’t have shit, but we approached it with professionalism. I approached it like, “We have to be over-the-top good.” I don’t think kids have that nowadays. They just throw some shit out there, throw some auto-tune on it, like, “I don’t need anybody to tell me if I’m in key. I don’t need anybody with me that has any musical ear at all.”

JP: But the music industry, isn’t it breeding that?

KC: Yeah. But for me, it works. Like, yes, keep doing all the shit you guys are doing, because all I’m going to do is the right thing, and I’m going to end up looking like the genius. Just doing what I’m supposed to do. Fucking making music. Playing the drums or playing the bass. And I hate playing the bass, bro. I’ve been playing the bass because it’s there and I don’t want anyone else to play it. I also feel like I’m at the tail end of an era. I’m the oldest. Me and J. Cole.

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ICYMI: Kid Cudi shares handwritten poem; also talks Entourage role in new video

Kanye talks Yeezy Season 1 significance

On the heels of the resounding release of Yeezy Season 1 a few days ago, Complex got to sit down for a very interesting interview with Yeezy himself.

It all centers around fashion and features some really real nuggets on the impact Yeezy Season 1 has already had in the fashion world and, just as importantly in the bigger picture, the unknowns. I like some of the comments the interviewer James Harris made as well and overall, this is a pretty quick and inspiring read for any creative and anyone trying to see more quotes from Kanye.

The full interview is here and I couldn’t help but insert an excerpt that ends on 3 simple, powerful words that makes me look ahead.

But going back to the established dudes, you’re friends with a lot of fashion designers, like Riccardo Tisci, Alexander Wang, Olivier Rousteing… Have they given you any feedback on the collection?
They support me one hundred percent. They sent flowers, emails, and just love. They know I’m in that design office. They know I’m there giving an opinion. They know the concept of celebrity designer is so far out the window.

I feel like I’m Eminem, you know? You don’t think “white rapper.” You just think Eminem. You don’t think celebrity designer, straight designer, black designer, all these types of things that kind of held me back conceptually in being accepted as a designer. You just think of those words. But when those moon boots come out, you put them on your feet and just swag out and go somewhere with your friends, those words don’t matter.

I’m just happy that I was able to apply the mentality and passion that brought the College Dropout into existence. Now, I may finally have enough of a point of view and understanding to apply and create. Enough of a vision to make. There’s so many far more talented designers but I just have a perspective and a heart. And I’m gonna give all the heart and perspective that I can.

So what’s next?
More dope shit.

The Yeezy Season 1 video featuring “Wolves”

+ more photos of the collection at thepresentme.tumblr.com.

Big Sean covers Complex

Sharing the double sided cover with J. Lo is Big Sean, as the new Complex cover and interview drops today, not even 24 hours after his announcement of a new album, Dark Sky Paradise.

Sean talks about the album, his new boo and ex-boo, and why “Control” didn’t make the last album (yup, still talkin’ about that). Since last night, some other big-name artists have posted the DSP album art, most notably Drake & Jhene Aiko. They are rumored/reported guests, as well as Kanye West (Sean said he was on the album in a previous interview), Lil Wayne, PARTYNEXTDOOR, and Travi$ Scott. For the artwork + a raw preview of the Drake collab, click here.

On his new album Dark Sky Paradise and plans to start his own label:

Sean feels his third album, about his recent highs and lows, is his most personal yet, but admits that he’s still trying to find his sound. “I feel like there is a sound,” he says. “Key Wane is instrumental to that. You know, those songs like ‘Higher’ off the Detroit mixtape, or ‘Nothing Is Stopping You’ or ‘4th Quarter.’”

If all goes according to plan, after he does find that sound, he’ll start his own label. He’s already signed Key Wane to his publishing company, Sean Michael Anderson Music, and is currently scoping new talent. “Seeing how you can help people by being around and inspiring, I wanna do that,” he says. “I’m actively looking for artists and people I believe in and giving them opportunity.”

Today, Metro Boomin, the producer out of ATL who blessed Future with “Karate Chop,” Travi$ Scott with “Mamacita,” and YG with “1 AM,” is scheduled to come by. Not to sign to his company, but to record tracks.

On “IDFWU”:

Despite stressing that the song was not about his ex, he later admits that he “wrote the last verse and [the line] ‘and everyday I wake up celebrating shit, why? ‘Cause I just dodged a bullet from a crazy bitch,’[Laughs]” about the breakup with Rivera, before reiterating that the song “did not come from a bitter place at all.”

On why “Control” didn’t make the album:

“Looking back on it, it was a different vibe than my album,” says Sean. “There’s a lot of negativity on that song, and I don’t fuck with negative shit. People love drama, people love bullshit. I knew when Kendrick did that name-dropping that it was just gonna set it off, and I could see why people gravitated towards that verse for that reason. I respected him for thinking of that. I never wanna shade anybody. I would’ve been a ho-ass nigga if I cut that out of his verse, or if I didn’t put the song out.”

ICYMI: Big Sean announces new album ‘Dark Sky Paradise’, previews new song with Drake