Lifestyle

Supreme's Wearable Mixtape From Sade to Gucci Mane

Gucci Mane in an ad for Supreme
Courtesy of Supreme

Gucci Mane in an ad for Supreme.

How does one make a perfect mixtape? There is no foolproof technique, but many follow the tried-and-true method of balancing the obvious with the unfamiliar, giving the listener what they already know they want and expanding their horizons at the same time. For much of its 23-year history, pioneering New York City streetwear label Supreme — currently enjoying a particularly buzzy cultural moment on the heels of a collaboration with Louis Vuitton — has paid tribute to its favorite musicians and labels by featuring them on graphic t-shirts, hoodies, outerwear, and accessories. Taken as a whole, these collaborations form an ever-evolving wearable playlist, the kind that appeases and fulfills in equal measures.

On Monday, Supreme revealed that its latest musical mini-collection would focus on Rap-A-Lot Records. The Houston-based label, founded in 1986, has been home to breakout superstars like the Geto Boys and niche acts with dedicated followings like Devin Tha Dude. Supreme has splashed Rap-A-Lot iconography across a range of products, including a hoodie featuring the memorably jarring cover of the Geto Boys’ 1991 We Can’t Be Stopped LP.

 

 

Supreme®/Rap-A-Lot Records. 04/06/2017

A post shared by Supreme (@supremenewyork) on

 

If Supreme’s musical collaborations tend to flip between obvious and unfamiliar, the Rap-A-Lot collection leans towards the latter. Though the label is far from unknown — it released several platinum-selling albums in the 1990's and 2000's — Supreme’s core audience skews young, so this collection will serve as an introduction to Rap-A-Lot for many of the diehards who camp out overnight outside of Supreme’s shops for first crack at new product. Each season, Supreme strikes the pose of the cool older sibling passing down cherished tracks, introducing a new generation to classic artists and labels they may otherwise have ignored. In recent years, Supreme has cast a new light on Memphis soul and blues label Stax Records, New Jersey punk ghouls The Misfits, and New York reggae imprint Wackies.

While many of Supreme’s musical collections rely on archival imagery sourced from collaborators, Supreme also produces brand new work with active practitioners. These tends to be the most covetable of the brand’s musical garments, often featuring legendary artists photographed wearing Supreme’s iconic box logo. Examples include Lou Reed, the Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon and Ghostface Killah, Neil Young, Three 6 Mafia’s Juicy J and DJ Paul, Gucci Mane, and, this season, the elusive Sade. These collaborations speak to the label’s cultural clout — an artist of Sade’s esteem would have her pick of fashion labels to work with, affirming that Supreme has cachet that money can’t buy.

 

 

This morning, Supreme will release the Rap-A-Lot collection online and at its New York, London, and Paris locations — Japan will have to wait until Saturday — and like most of Supreme’s gear (which is priced starting around $40 for a tee), it’ll sell out quickly. On their way home from the Supreme store on Lafayette or Rue Barbette, a teenage hypebeast will open Spotify and search “Geto Boys” for the first time.