Tear the club up

By MIKE MCKAY  |  August 22, 2006

So is it validating to see all these other companies starting along the same lines are what you've already built? Or do you view it as  just swagger-jacking?
It’s annoying to me in a way. I mean, I don’t mind those young kids getting their props and shit, I’m young too I just got an early start in all this shit but kids are always nipping at your heels. I feel I’m always changing the game, and a lot of these kids are just playing the game that I change, and then next season I’ll change it again, and I’ll change it again, because there’s always going to be something. For a long time I was like damn, you know, being a young designer running your company you’re just hustling to make it go, but now it’s been eight years and I can sit back and say damn, I lived through all this shit and reference points and historical shit and things I flipped and ideas I put out, to see how everyone else has been eating off of that. To an extent, you realize that I do have something special about what I do, it’s not just taking shit off an album cover and putting it on a t-shirt. I’ve been around the world many times and kids come up to me about this one or that one or why I did that or they loved that, I don’t know if these other kids have that. I don’t know if these other kids even travel the world.

I remember seeing those Illson Shirts a long time ago. It’s funny to see all the stuff that’s been built around it.
No one can front on Illson. That shirt just brought people together. People had conversations based on that shirt. Someone would be wearing one, maybe two artists would be in a studio, or an engineer or a producer and an MC meet for the first time and one has a bag and one has a hat and then they say to each other, “Oh shit, you know Aaron.” And to me it’s not just about coolness, it’s about that whole that interaction. When you can create a product or something that brings people together, who are already coming together, there’s something to be said for that. And everyone else, I feel like, if you’re playing in a game at that level, then that’s good, I give you props, at least you’re trying to be a person of quality. But if you’re just jacking shit I did or this one did two or three years ago, most people’s collections I can look at and say, “Okay, you bit that from Russ, you bit that from Supreme, you bit that from me, you bit that from A. Ron.” There’s like six people that are actually originators. And everyone else, there's something to be said for getting in and doing it, but there’s also something to be said for staying out of the game until your skills are correct. I still practice my handstyles to this day with my graffiti shit, just because it’s so embedded in me.

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