Young Thug's Stylist on Dressing the 'Andre 3000 Of Our Generation': Exclusive
Usher rocked a gold grill with a purple velvet bomber jacket, a simple black tee, dark-wash straight-cut jeans, and black and gold sneakers. His co-star donned a colorful custom shirt, black G Star Raw denim and Guiseppe Zanotti loafers.
"I just want the world to know that fashion is in the South too," says Renaldo Nehemiah, a Miami-born stylist who regularly works with Ludacris, August Alsina, Trinidad James and Cam Newton. "In the South, we're not just about music. We understand [fashion] and we live and die by it. We don't follow people, we're trend-setters and we push our envelope too."
Billboard spoke exclusively with Nehemiah -- who has worked with Young Thug for two years on-and-off -- about the rapper's "daredevil, superhero" style and how he's the "Andre 3000 of this generation."
Tell us about your creative approach for styling Young Thug in the "No Limit" video.
Thug trusts me to always bring him something very cool that will make a statement, so when I got the call about this video I reached out to D-Map of Melrose House Alumni in Atlanta. Him and I took these Mexican bed covers and turned them into shirts. We picked different color patterns, made them into yarn and wove the colors together. Each piece is unique and took a week to make because it's from scratch. Thug’s a tall guy [6-foot-3] so we made them long, distressed and left the tassels on the ends of them.
What about the eyes on the back of the shirt?
The eyeballs are representative of us because we've always gotta watch our backs, even in fashion. We have to have eyes in front of us and behind us to keep up with everything, like a 360-degree radius to stay ahead. If you see our back, that means we're ahead of you.
Young Thug co-starred in the video with Usher. How does this affect the way you’re styling your client?
I'm not a gaudy guy; I like style to be clean, timeless and unforgettable. But when you're next to someone like Usher, you've gotta have a statement piece that everyone wants to own. When Thug walked on set, Usher looked at him and was like, "Ah sh--, you killed it with a statement piece!" and that's the reaction we wanted. I told Thug to start with his back turned toward the camera so people could grab onto the piece visually.
What's your "styling mantra" when working with him?
By watching and understanding my client, it’s like I become them. Styling is about looking for the right pieces, not about going to the mall and buying clothes. I like going to thrift stores to find hidden gems someone might overlook, like a dope jacket that is aged and can be brought back to life. It’s like the process of taking a blank canvas and painting, you just never know what you're gonna get until you're done.
Thug has a very unique, personal style. Do you think he's a fashion innovator?
Definitely. Fashion is like art: You're either going to love it or not understand it. To me, Thug is this generation's Andre 3000, because people used to be like, "What the hell does Andre 3000 have on?" but now everybody loves and respects him. These guys like Kanye [West], Pharrell, Karl Lagerfeld and Prince are trend-setters. You should have no fear if you're going to be a fashionable guy. If you ask me, he's probably one of the top five stylish guys in the entertainment business. He’s the daredevil of fashion, like a Marvel superhero, a Batman or Superman if you will.