Graffiti [Street] Art and Hip Hop form the cornerstone of my very existence, my early childhood was a diet of Beat Street, Yo! MTV Raps and watching Public Enemy tour documentaries on VHS. What’s interesting is, from a purely observational standpoint, whilst the pillars Rap and Art have distanced themselves from each other, each element has grown exponentially in recent decades. As artists fuse styles of the past with applied and explorative theory, street art has become the new fine art, and Rap has become a voice of the people. With that being said, the culture is so much more powerful and has been the influential driving force behind global commercial and popular culture trends.
Historical observations aside, the concept behind HipHop Toyshop appeals to me because they take important elements of Hip Hop iconography to create art -it’s a celebration of the culture’s historical and mythical figures. For instance, Hip Hop Gods like Biggie Smalls (Notorious B.I.G), LL Cool J, Slick Rick and Tupac, are further immortalised as figurines and t-shirt. Another fascinating thing is their art prints, where some of the most influential gangster movies that helped shape the mindset of your favourite gangster rapper, is restylised as brand mascot, OG Bear.
When I walked into the Popup, it was like visiting Hamley’s for the first time, I strolled in and glanced at the shelves displaying their merchandise -the paper toys angled to a direction where their eyes follow your eye moves, it was like walking the runway at Milan fashion week. Below those shelves were the t-shirts -rap gods like Slick Rick, Biggie and Tupac were on display, and in the midst of the shelves were the Holy Grail of Boxpark, the item I had journeyed far and wide for, the OG Snapback.
I’m a supporter of their brand simply because they go to depths most other brands don’t go to, Malik Salaam and Medina Ray are extremely thorough, not to mention talented and forward thinking. Everything they’re doing with their brand is to ensure the culture is being pushed forward, I visited the store yesterday afternoon to purchase a limited edition, collectible snapback -a collaboration between HHTS and Mr. Snappy’s, and walked out with a complimentary t-shirt and two autographed OG Bear collectible Toys. I can only thank Malik and Medina for being so kind and hospitable on my short visit.
Head down to Boxpark Shoreditch and support the movement.
For more info go to www.HipHopToyShop.com
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