Chris Kelly and Chris Smith of Kris Kross in the "Jump" music video.
Photo: Courtesy of Sony BMG Music
In 1992 there were two kinds of trends. Stuff that actually reached me living all the way in Hong Kong before the Internet and stuff that entirely escaped my notice. As a seventh grader going to British school, I thought Kris Kross was the greatest. Shipping tariffs were astronomical for CDs, all of our magazines were about six months behind, we had one bootleg English-language channel that showed music videos infrequently, and we knew that they'd never tour us so it was awesome to be able to at least bounce in time and wear clothes backwards. Of course this was only on weekends since we had to wear school uniforms that featured little neckties and grey blazers.
There was an art to it. Your jeans had to be massive but in a certain way and they had to sag really low because, "everything is to the back, with a little slack/'cause inside out is wiggity wiggity wiggity wack" etc which meant you had to wear boxers which was sort of a rarity in my school since boxers were really American and those kids had their own school. It was an easier transition for the skate kids since they were already wearing 34" jeans (for the record, Chris Smith wore 36" and Chris Kelly wore 34" at the time) or chinos but the American kids had an advantage in full-out mimicry since they could have family members ship in things like wool varsity jackets and massive jerseys.
We remember Beastie Boys' Adam Yauch.
Photo: Getty Images
It is the end of the era. That Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys died today of cancer at the heartbreaking age of 47 is awful news. I’ve read a slew of obituaries and tributes and revisited interviews with the Beasties over the last 25 years and the photos alone are devastating. These guys were such weirdos. Seriously, the swag with which they gave not one shit between them is captivating and wildly empowering. Chromeo tweeted (and I love that A-Trak RT’d it because I know the brothers Macklovitch held the Beastie Boys in high regard and likely discovered them together [or in that order]):
Here’s the thing. I recognize that it’s often inelegant to look to something as inert as clothing or shoes when remembering someone who created decades worth of invaluable art but the significance of their role in how kids use style to signal their fealty to what they loved and what music resonated with them is vital. It’s important to every kid I grew up with while working in New York and has had a hand in how most of us chose our careers. I very much believe it’s what gave me a pass to work at a graffiti magazine as an Korean chick who was born on the other side of the world. Just as it relieved unholy sheepishness or debilitating self-consciousness when I went to work at a rap magazine years later. It's weird but MCA’s death makes you reflect on what the Beasties personally meant to us.