Creative Director of STAMPD, Chris Stamp, and fashion and design photographer Julien Boudet have come together to create a new book of visually arresting architectural photography. A collaborative photo diary, Dialogue Through Form is a painstakingly edited and conscientiously curated selection of architectural portraits from around the world. Shot over four years, on 35mm and 120 film, the book brings together the individual talents of Stamp and Boudet — as a driving creative force and an architecture obsessive in relentless pursuit of the “study of shapes,” respectively.

Available to pre-order exclusively at colette from today, and released globally on July 8 – with a few copies also available tomorrow for the book’s launch at the adidas Originals store in Paris — you can scroll through some images from the book above, or pick up a copy if you happen to be in the City of Lights this week.

Speaking of which, are you up to date with our coverage of Paris Fashion Week Men’s 2018?

-Via HB

It looks like Drake is moving on from his More Life playlist despite the fact it’s less than a year old.

According to Kim Jones, the men’s artistic director for luxury fashion line Louis Vuitton, Drizzy is planning to release a new track titled “Signs” at 2:30 p.m. on Thursday (June 22) Paris time or 8:30 a.m. EST.

Following the announcement, OVO’s Oliver El-Khatib posted the same graphic alongside a caption confirming the track would be produced by Noah “40” Shebib.

“New one from @champagnepapi titled SIGNS (produced by @ovo40) tomorrow for @louisvuitton SS18 show,” wrote Khatib. “I had the pleasure to curate the music for the show with all new music from @ovosound. Stay tuned. Thank you @mrkimjones

Does this mean a new project is on the way? Who knows? Tune in on Thursday to find out more.

-Via HipHopDx

pc

Every tech and toy company, from Apple to Hasbro, has an educational coding offering these days. Sony’s Koov kit has been kicking around Japan for a while now, and should be pretty familiar to anyone who’s spent time with Lego’s educational initiatives — it’s a set of blocks, sensors, motors and actuators that pair with a mobile app. Now Sony is ready to bring the kit to the U.S. — albeit in a pretty measured way.

The company is the latest tech giant to use a crowdfunding platform to test the waters. In this case, Sony will essentially be using Indiegogo to gauge customer interest and hopefully gain some insight into the U.S. market as it works to shape the product for a new region. On the face of it, it’s a bit of an odd move from a company with global reach that has never been afraid to launch into a new category with guns blazing.

Sony certainly has the resources to do so here, but for one thing, the market is still a little shaky. There are plenty of different kits aimed at teaching kids to code and build robots. Apple recently partnered with a handful of hardware makers to help teach its Swift programming language to youngsters, and Lego’s new Boost line joins a number of others already produced by the company. And then there are the dozens of startups fighting for a piece of the pie. How much of that pie there actually is to go around is still a pretty open question.

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Koov is also the first hardware product out of Sony’s Global Education wing, a department a company rep told me is “almost like a startup within Sony,” which implies a certain sense of autonomy and probably goes a ways toward explaining the cautious approach. It really wants to get its first product right, and it’s certainly put a lot of thought into the hardware and software side of things.

The kit’s currency is little, brightly colored translucent blocks. The company likens them to three-dimensional pixels, which is an attempt to make the transition between the mobile app and the real world product easier to understand. Kids can use the app to build 23 different pre-determined designs or “Robot Recipes” with the 302 block Advanced Kit. Of course, the sky is the limit if they think outside the box.

koovcoding

To appease those who blaze their own paths, there’s Robot Recipe Sharing, an online database of custom robots built by users. Uploads are vetted by the company for obvious reasons, given the product’s targeted 8 to 14 year old age range. Sony was super-psyched to show me one of the user-built robots created by a Japanese customer that was essentially a version of the company’s hippo that plays custom MIDIs of J-Pop songs. At the moment, it’s really just show and tell, and Sony doesn’t really have a good method for letting users create their own sharable robot building plans. That’s apparently in the works. All part of the aforementioned feedback process, I guess.

There are a few other roadblocks, as well. Price is the biggest red flag. Lego’s new Boost set starts at $160, while Koov’s suggested retail price is $359 for the Starter Kit and $499 for Advanced. That’s a lot of money for a brand that’s entirely untested in this space. Maybe the price will come down as the company scales up, though again, this is Sony we’re talking about here — it’s not exactly a startup with limited supply chain access.

Then there’s the matter of the name. I was actually sorry I asked about that one. Apparently an executive came up with the bright idea to name the system Koov, for reasons that aren’t worth paraphrasing, so I’m going to paste the explanation here in its entirety, because it’s really something:

The logo imagery for KOOV calls to mind the 1’s and 0’s of binary code, or alternatively, “I/O,” the computer terminology for “digital input/output.” The logo is also inspired by the “<” and “>” symbols used in mathematics. In addition, the “K” and “V” that bookend the kits’ name stand for “key” and “value”, important concepts in the realm of computer science. But whereas “key” and “value” ordinarily form a unique, unambiguous pair as applied in computer science, they are connected by “OO” -representing the infinity symbol (∞) -in the logo for KOOV. This is meant to suggest the infinite combinations possible with KOOV, limited only by the imagination. In a multitude of ways, KOOV’s logo is symbolic of its blocks that are a product of the digital age, and that are therefore infinite in potential.

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The other issue is one that’s pretty prevalent among these devices. The coding and robotics skills that Koov teaches are pretty abstract. Unlike Apple, whose programs use the coding language used by iOS, macOS, watchOS, tvOS, Sony developed its own language for the toy. It’s built around the Scratch educational programming language, but the end goal here seems to more of building up that initial interest in coding, rather than developing concrete coding skills. Sony’s kit mostly teaches kids to code for Sony’s kit.

The same goes for the hardware, which is powered by a micro-controller based on Arduino. The potential for open-source learning is there, but in its current state, Sony seems to have the system pretty locked down. Perhaps that’s the kind of thing the company will work toward,  with the proper feedback through its Indiegogo campaign. At the moment, however, there doesn’t seem to be a heck of a lot distinguishing Koov from a million other coding toys.

-Via TechCrunch

 

Korea has Keith Ape, Indonesia has Rich Chigga, and over the past year, China’s Higher Brothers have been establishing themselves as the hottest rap crew from the east. Not only have they been consistently racking up millions of views on YouTube, they’ve already worked with the likes of Famous Dex, Jay Park, Keith Ape and more. We linked up with the quartet consisting of 马思唯 (MaSiWei), 丁震 (DZ), 杨俊逸 (Psy.P), and 谢宇杰 (Melo) and spoke with them about a variety of topics, including the meaning behind their name, how they got into rap music, their influences and more. Watch the interview above.

-Via HypeBeast


Every few years, a new diet or fitness craze sweeps across the land.

We had Jazzercise and aerobics in the ’80s and ’90s, which gave way to Zumba and Tae Bo in the early 21st century. Spinning, yoga and crossfit soon become the exercise du jour, and now twerking classes have joined the ranks.

Twerking, a staple in black American communities since at least the early 1980s, is based on traditional waist and hip movements danced in West Africa. It went mainstream circa 2013, when Miley Cyrus decided she was going to twerk her way into adulthood and out of the Disney spotlight. Tongue wagging and non-existent booty gyrating, Cyrus enlisted the help of rappers like Juicy J, Big Sean and Wiz Khalifa – along with producer Mike Will – to create a new ‘ratchet’ persona based on black American hip-hop stereotypes, leaving Hannah Montana in the dust.

Cyrus has since walked back her love of hip-hop culture – considered by many to be cultural appropriation rather than appreciation in the first place – but her Bangerz-era twerking launched the dance form into the (white) mainstream, and now twerking is having its day in the sun as a fitness craze.


Now, dance studios and gyms are filled with women who want to learn how to twerk – and, it needs to be said, these classes are largely comprised of white women, often without much ass to speak of. Twerking is definitely a good workout, and many of these women are aiming to work out their thighs, quads and glutes. So far, so good.

There’s also another aspect, though. They’re aiming to have fun, too; shaking their backsides in a way that is unfamiliar and probably a bit naughty to them. It’s a similar dynamic to the women who attended pole-dancing classes in droves only a few years ago.

White women – especially white women like Cyrus, with less voluptuous body types – can enjoy twerking fitness classes as a kind of “all in good fun” workout; playing with and temporarily adopting a ‘ratchet’ persona and then returning to middle class respectability when they hit the gym changing rooms post-workout. The nagging stereotypes that have followed black women and girls around since slavery don’t affect these white women.

So, there’s a cultural double standard at play: white women whose work outs include twerking classes aren’t faced with a negative stigma, but black women who twerk risk being seen as confirming a hypersexual stereotype.


It’s not just the cultural double standard that grates, either: it’s also the financial double standard. Predominantly white studios reap profits from the twerking fitness trend, as professional dance studios are overwhelmingly white and even black women dancers with years of professional experience are called ‘too basic’ to teach a twerking class in white dance studios.

Yet, on Instagram and YouTube, the ‘Queen of Twerkouts’ is a white woman named Lexy, and the so-called ‘best twerkout videos’ are led by white women. Meanwhile, there is hardly any mention in mainstream media or in the fitness world of The Twerk Team, a YouTube channel created in 2009 with over 100 million views and half a million subscribers, featuring three black women doing intense dance routines to popular rap and RnB songs.

While twerking becomes a professional fitness business, The Twerk Team hasn’t uploaded a video in over a year: the young, pierced and tattooed black women from Atlanta who grew up moving their bodies in this way aren’t exactly the types of instructors suburban soccer moms looking for a fun afternoon work out want to see teaching their classes.

So, white-owned studios can rake in the cash by offering twerking classes to their largely white clients, while the black women who created and mastered the dance are left on the financial sidelines.


It’s also worth noting that, as with all cases of cultural appropriation, this isn’t a two-way street: when black-owned studios such as the Chicago Multicultural Dance Center attempt to fuse more ‘classical’ dance styles like ballet with hip-hop, they are met with derision for ‘sullying the craft.’ Just the proximity to whiteness elevates black cultural phenomena like twerking into something legitimate; while too much association with blackness is deemed “trashy” or “ratchet” in the other direction.

It’s White Supremacy 101, and it isn’t isolated to twerking, either: when Kylie Jenner wears green cornrows or upmarket Los Angeles boutiques sell shirts that say ‘On Fleek’ or ‘Bye Felicia,’ they are partaking in popular black American culture without having to deal with any of the negative associations that come along with really being black.

White women are free to wear their hair in “edgy” (read: black) styles and rock T-shirts that say ‘I wanna be Felicia: she’s always going somewhere’ because their unfamiliarity with black culture blinds them to the fact that Felicia was a crackhead who wasn’t going anywhere except the trap house down the street. The whole phenomenon brings to mind the Amandla Steinberg quote: “What if we loved black people as much as we loved black culture?”


So, this is the problem with twerking classes: white women who attend are half-heartedly and jokingly partaking in a culture they don’t understand by cherry-picking the fun and trendy parts. However, when it comes to the other less palatable realities of black life – police brutality, discrimination and lower levels of wealth, just to name a few – white women are suddenly not as keen to be black-adjacent.

We see white women distancing themselves from black culture when it becomes inconvenient all the time.Cyrus’ recent disavowal of hip-hop is a recent case in point, and Iggy Azalea can turn off her pretend Southern dialect and become nothing more than a blonde, white Australian girl (AKA safe and non-threatening) at any moment. White people in general can participate in black culture when it suits them, yet they have the privilege of retreating into the safety that not being black affords them at any moment.

When the novelty of twerking wears off as a fitness craze, white women everywhere will be able to choose different classes from their fancy studios, leaving the stigma of being a woman who twerks for black women. Meanwhile, white studio owners will have cashed in on yet another aspect of black American culture for personal gain, while the originators of that culture remain economically marginalized.

So, the next time one of these twerking classes pops up in your area, perhaps give it a pass, and consider supporting black-owned initiatives instead.

-Via Highsnobiety

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Drake is a rapper, singer, charmer, businessman and, officially, a tattoo aficionado. Ever since the man inked his signature OVO owl on his back in 2011, the mega-star has made it a habit to top each new tattoo with another every few months.

This week, Drizzy took his love for songstress Sade to yet another level by getting a second portrait of her atop the first, complete with a palm tree and waves. Back in , Drake met up with the timeless beauty, calling her one of the more “important” ladies in his life, next to his mom.

Though he’s never quite detailed his love for tattoos, it’s safe to say the latest one certainly won’t be the last. The 6 God has four different woman covering his body, along with portraits, large and small, of his uncle and father, respectively. Smaller tats adorn his biceps and forearms, including a jack-o-lantern, the words “All Kinds,” and a slew of others representing OVO, Toronto and his love for a certain singer-collaborator, with whom he shares a matching shark with.

Aside from traveling the world to get work done by famed tattoo artists, Drake is currently occupied with work behind the scenes, having just signed singer Plaza to OVO and promoting PartyNextDoor’s Colours 2 EP, which was just accompanied by a visual medley.

Searching for photos of most every tattoo Drake has was quite the task, but XXL got it done. Take a look at the majority of the More Life curator’s body ink below.

Flaming Skull & Unruly

Hot skulllll for the Boy 🔥💀 @champagnepapi 💀🔥

A post shared by Doctor Woo (@_dr_woo_) on

6 God Symbol

@dr_woo_ssc had to level up the 6 God piece. Thank you 🍀

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Eye of Horus

Drake

CN Tower

Toronto with me always

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Shark

Drake1

Mystery Woman

Drake2

Everything Happens for a Reason Sweet Thing

Message.

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Houston Star

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BBK (Boy Better Know—Jme and Skepta’s Record Label)

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Compass Pointing East

East side compass wave on @champagnepapi ➡️

A post shared by Doctor Woo (@_dr_woo_) on

Drake’s Late Uncle and Grandmother

Lion’s Head

Lion head for the homie @champagnepapi 🙏🏼

A post shared by Doctor Woo (@_dr_woo_) on

Aaliyah, Drake’s Mother, Songbird and OVO Owl

🇩🇴

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Drake’s Father’s Mugshot Photo

@dr_woo_ssc mini portrait of my father

A post shared by champagnepapi (@champagnepapi) on

Drakkar Noir Cologne

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First Sade Tattoo

sade

Second Sade Tattoo

Hibiscus Flower

🇸🇪🇨🇦 "More Life" 🌸🐝@champagnepapi #bishoprotary #nocturnalink #inkeeze #radiantcolorsink #morelife

A post shared by Art👈🏼 Tattoo👈🏼Laser👈🏼 (@niki23gtr) on

-Via XXL

lil-yachty

Samsung hosted an exclusive panel and launch party for the new Galaxy Book on Wednesday night (June 14) featuring hip-hop’s King of the Teens, Lil Yachty. The rapper spoke on the importance of branding yourself and building key relationships, which he’s well-versed in.

Joining Yachty on the panel were the twins Adam Goldston and Ryan Goldston, founders  of Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL), and Jaymee Messler, the President of The Players Tribune. Highlighting the new faces of today’s two-in-one CEOs, all panelists were featured in individual campaign videos highlighting their passion and drive. Showcasing Samsung Galaxy Book’s new impressive  features, Yachty and company then discussed their next business ventures and shared stories on how they made it in their individual careers.

To cap off the eventful night, Yachty performed a few of his mega hits and collaborations before closing out with an new song from his latest album, Teenage Emotions. Right before the “1 Night” rapper hit the stage, XXL caught up with the hip-hop sensation to talk about his collaborative work with Samsung, chilling with Pharrell and Swizz Beatz and much more.

XXL: We’re here for the launch of the Samsung Galaxy Book. Discuss your partnership with Samsung.

Well, we trying to make it happen. This was more of a collaborative event for the Samsung Galaxy Book but you know we trying to get there and add this to the list of accomplishments.

You were recently spotted chilling with Pharrell Williams and Swizz Beatz. Tell me about that moment?

You saw that! Ohh, man! Well, all I can say is it was one of the most amazing moments in my life, you know what I’m saying? Swizz Beatz, Pharrell, Justin Timberlake was in there. Alicia Keys was in there for a minute. You know the energy was positive, you know what I’m saying? Before any music was even played, just the conversations. I just felt blessed to be a part of it, you know what I’m saying? To be a part of the toast that happened and just to communicate with these people. I didn’t even know Justin Timberlake knew who I was? You know what I’m saying? So it was crazy.

Should we expect a collab from that gathering?

You never know.

I saw you with Macklemore recently in a photo. What was that about?

Me and Macklemore worked on something really dope and I really think people are going to love it.

You dropped your Teenage Emotions album last month and the feedback from your fans has been amazing, but your haters are pointing out the low sales. Do you even care about album sales?

I do, but it doesn’t matter, bro. You know what my job is, my goal is? I want to be that guy that breaks that barrier, you know? I want to be the guy that breaks…okay, 44,000 in sales whatever, I’m still shifting culture. Still have a movement. Selling out tours, you know? I want to be the guy that breaks the barrier like, fuck album sales, bro, you know? If you’re a star, you’re a star and if you have a following, a movement, loyal fans, who cares about album sales. No one even buys albums anymore. But it is what it is.

How do you feel like your fans have responded to this project?

My fans love it, bro. That’s all that matters to me. That’s all that I give a fuck about, you know? The project was long but that’s because it was for my fans. I hadn’t dropped a song or any music in a long time like without a feature or a collaboration or some shit like that, you know? So it was important to feed them that.

How’s your partnership with Nautica going?

Real good, man. I’m getting ready to drop my capsule and it’s going to be crazy.

So this will officially be your first collab capsule with Nautica?

Exactly! It’s gonna be the first one that I actually touched. You know, I’ve been modeling in a lot of their clothing but I had no creative mindset on it. I just modeled it. The stuff I actually made is about to drop. It’s gonna be colorful and a lot of bright colors.

When is the first collection dropping then?

It’s dropping in fall.

Any particular name for the collection?

You know, it’s just Nautica and Lil Yachty. My name is on it, and you know it’s gonna be my clothing collab when it drops ’cause it’s some summer shit on some dope ’90s vibes. Just dope shit.

What’s up with the Sailing Team? Any compilation project in the works?

Man, so right now, and I’m really about to break this—I don’t think this is out—but right now we’re working on a QC [Quality Control] compilation album me and Migos. That’s next, like really soon, which is exclusive. I’m gonna try to break some Sailing Team members on that, and after that they touring with me again. Then hopefully we drop this Sailing Team collaboration tape.

You know, it’s a lot of work, man. You know dealing with myself and nine of my friends that I grew up with. It’s just hard. You can’t be boss with them, you know? I grew up with them. It’s a lot, but we’re working on it.

-Via XXL