Get Fresh Fridays
Fashion has always been an intricate part of hip-hop culture. Thick gold chains, Adidas and Pumas with the fat laces, Kengol hats—all icons of 1980s hip-hop. But as the role of hip-hop in the world has changed, so has the role of its fashion. Somewhere in the late 1990s, urban fashion exploded. Brands like Ecko, Fubu, Puff Daddy’s Sean Jean, Jay-Z’s Rocawear and countless other brands starting sprouting like weeds all over suburban and inner city America.
Underground hip-hop fans kept wearing the Adidas and Pumas with the fat laces … for a while.
But in the last few years, hip-hop kids in Reno have lost sight of fashion’s role in the culture, says Rob Guerrero, a 30-year-old MC and fashion designer who goes by Bamboo on the mic. Guerrero, who runs a small clothing design company called 9-to-5 Clothing, wants fashion to make a resurgence in underground hip-hop culture.
As mainstream hip-hop grows more and more materialistic, boasting worthless possessions like car rims and fancy champagne, underground hip-hop resists every push toward material goods, including name brand clothes. But fans of the underground artists that brag about being the heirs of classic hip-hop styles forget that those original rappers had a sense of fashion.
Run-DMC, considered one of the most influential hip-hop bands of all time, made Adidas shoes a symbol of all that is hip-hop. If Jam Master Jay (Run-DMC’s legendary DJ) looks down from the heavens at today’s fashions, he might wonder why all these kids who claim to be decedents of “the real hip-hop” look like they got lost on their way to a My Chemical Romance concert.
That’s why Guerrero started hosting Get Fresh Fridays, a hip-hop night at Satellite Cocktail Lounge that plays underground hip-hop, often hosts local hip-hop acts and encourages patrons to bring back that ol’ school spirit to their wardrobe. It takes place on the last Friday of each month. On fliers and online postings, the cover charge is listed as “$3 with fresh sneakers.”
Guerrero’s Myspace page shows a picture of him, arms out, sneakers tied by the laces hanging around his neck and draping his arms.
“I was trying to bring the whole, like, sneaker culture into Reno,” says Guerrero. “And fashion. And music.”
Get Fresh Fridays started in February, and it has met varying levels of success over the months. The night has hosted local hip-hop groups like Element and other MCs and DJs both from Reno and larger markets, like Los Angeles.
But its newest effort might be its saving grace.
In July, Guerrero and MC/beat maker Joey Golaw, 21, released the Get Fresh Fridays mix tape, Vol. 1. They plan to release Vol. 2 at the next Get Fresh Fridays event on Sept. 26, and they will be releasing a new volume every month from here on. The mix tapes themselves feature dozens of local MCs and are given out free after paying the $3 admission.
Mix tapes and fresh sneakers—that’s about as hip-hop as you can get. And this Get Fresh Friday will host two of Reno’s best MCs, Rameses and The Apprentice from Dorm Room Muzik.