Style Profile: Geng-Grizzly

Geng Grizzly wears many hats and his personal style is representative of his many hustles. Geng runs PTP (Purple Tape Pedigree) a hip-hop blog that will put you on to what you should be hearing (not what everyone else is playing). On top of that he’s got a fledging record label, Live From The Kitchen Recordings that is sure to be making tons of (bass ridden) noise this year. On top of all that you may have heard me make some guest appearances on his radio show Fresh Out the Box along with co-host Note D (check his style profile HERE).

 For these style profiles, I really look for individuals doing their own thing outside of what the trends of the moment may be. In the case of Geng, he breaks more sartorial rules than he follows but stays true to his roots and passions. His style in complex in a way that the average passerby or fashionista might not notice. Geng is someone who is not just wearing the clothes, he’s living in them. 

Look 1
Norse Projects Corduroy 5-Panel Cap
The Hill-Side “Large Roses” Bandana
Vintage JC Penney Hunting Jacket
Camber “Arctic Thermal” Hooded Sweatshirt
LL Bean “River Driver” Henley
Military BDU Shorts
Falke Merino Leggings
New Balance 1300’s

Describe how your personal style evolved to it’s current state?

Back when I was a kid, I had a clean pair of velcro Nike “Uptowns”…lowtops in white with a black check and black sole. I have the photo to prove it. I was also wearing a denim sweatsuit with red trim in said photo. While I feel like I have since struggled to replicate that level of splashiness, at least the core concepts have stuck through the years. I done swapped the denim suit for one of French terry cotton persuasion and dress for comfort, contrast, and construction. Triple C’s.…yahmean?!

Now I tend to build an outfit around a well-made, timeless piece, and decorate it with things from the “other side,” whether that means pairing up the vintage mountaineering with the “high fashion,” or jumping between the lanes of core function with active wear and military/factory worker garb. Growing up in NYC, especially Manhattan, played a huge role. If you cared at all, your mission was to find a way to stick out from the pack of thousands rocking on the same type of shit. Some do it in a real “I look like Grace Jones-meets-Rufio from Hook and I am fine with that” kind of way, while others try to be a bit less outlandish with it. I usually favor the more subtle approach of putting multiple worlds together and over the years have come to better grasp how to do so by playing with the finer details like fabric weight and texture.

Look 2
Military Surplus OD Wool Watch Cap
Vintage North Face (“Brown Label”) Down Vest
Norse Projects “Vorm” Pocket Sweatshirt
Vintage German Military “Raindrop Camo” Trousers
Falke “Walkie” Socks
PF Flyers “Bob Cousy” Lows

Has hip-hop influenced your personal style? What about its impact on your life in general?

By junior high, say ’92-93, I was able to start buying my own clothes and really try to get fly like our rap idols.  We were all into the North Face/Helly Hansen/Columbia/Nautica/Polo/Guess/Nike/Timberland shit because that was what we saw in the videos, magazines, and album covers/liner notes.  I was a Boot Camp Clik (Black Moon, Smif n Wessun, Heltah Skeltah, etc.) fanatic so I stayed rugged and utilitarian in military anoraks, my pops’ M-65 (early 70’s – ‘Nam), fatigues, and gore-tex boots.  The impact of hip-hop (as a New Yorker who had about 16 years of life before the Internet touched down) wasn’t really thought about, it just WAS.  As young adults, you either walked it or you tried really hard to do so (rarely to favorable results, as you can imagine).  Every borough had its own angle on style in general (from slang to preferred brands and sneakers that they’d rock).  It was all in the rap music…and we drank wild 40’s of O.E. and plastic cups of Henny because of it.

How did Fresh out the Box Radio and PTP come to be? Can you share a key experience or lesson from your time spent on these areas.

Purple Tape Pedigree was born in 2009.  I used to post often-forgotten hip-hop and hardcore/metal videos on Facebook and folks would pop up like, “start a blog…it’s free and you probably have really cool stories to share.”  I eventually did.  By late 2010, rap started to get really interesting again and I began posting mostly current releases on PTP.  By 2011, my ace Note (or James, as previously featured on this fine website) was in the mix.  He not only helped with the daily posts (bringing in his expertise of the UK’s respective grime and road scenes), but he moved the site off of Blogspot and made the layout look all types of sexy.  PTP wasn’t JUST us though, nothing ever is, so shout out to all of the invisible board members, silent investors, and loyal friends who have helped grow this into the mini-movement that it is today (air horn).

FOTB was part of the first wave of shows to be on BBOX Radio.  Originally, I was going to be a DJ on Headless Heroes (Monday’s funk/soul show on BBOX), but then the idea of “new and progressive hip-hop” came up and we jumped at it.  16 months later, we’re still getting drunk on the air, playing new rap before it becomes the “new shit,” and talking crazy with rappers and brand ambassadors, alike.

I’d say the key experience is actually EXPERIENCE.  Know your shit like you share a bed with it.  Spend a lot of time practicing your craft before and after and don’t ever get caught bragging about it on Twitter.  Finally, don’t over-think shit.  If it feels right after running it through the various “Shit I’ve learned up until this point” and the “Shit I’ve heard about from more experienced people” tests…then go for it.  Fuck it, it’s the Internet.

Look 3
Masahiko Ono Repro Naval Watch Cap
OC x Pendleton F/W ’09 Wool Jacket
Patagonia “Down Sweater” Vest
Brooks Brothers Oxford Button-Down Shirt
Unis “Gio” Pants
Falke “Walkie” Socks
Clarks Waxed “Wallabees” (w/ new cotton laces)

Read the rest of the interview after the jump

Look 4
Military Surplus Watchcap
The Hill-Side Indigo “Tiger Camo” Scarf
Vintage WWII Cold Weather Parka
Vintage Pendleton Wool Overshirt
Archival Clothing x Columbia Knit Sweatshirt
Vintage Penney’s “Big Mac” Chambray Shirt
Band Of Outsiders Sweatpants
Danner “Mountain Light II” Boots

What role do your lifestyle and interests play in how you dress?

Completely connected. There was a Summer or two when I only rocked Dickies suits, “beef & brocs”/”mac & cheeses” (Timmy boots), and the long ass white/black tees (yup! in my…) you would buy wholesale on 27th Street off of Broadway. That was the “hustler suit” era. I was on some “get through the work week with $20” stuff. I just came from a year or two of living off of a long, glorious run on eBAY (selling rare vinyl and sneakers) while trying to build a career as a producer. I was stubborn about converting to a regular 9-5 hustle and saw a lot of money go, but then I got a check from Dipset and a flexible job in the non-profit sector and doubled up on cats. My thing was rebuild what I had just lost so if you told me you could buy a whole new outfit (other than the boots…no bootlegs here) for like $30-40 AND be dressed and out the door within minutes every morning? I was about that!! Pre-Recession, Recession rap shit.

Today, I feel like I’ve achieved some type of balance where it’s not about a cost-driven mentality dictating what I can or can’t wear. Maybe I’m just less stressed about shit in general because I’m happily busy and don’t have the time to worry about it all. If I want something, I’ll get it somehow, but the days of going crazy over weird European goth’y shit and Japanese denim in America are long gone. I only kept a few things from that collective explosion, while I sold off most of it to buy inexpensive staples to get tailored and gobs of new-old (as in second hand/deadstock) shit. I’m all for a little history lesson.

Since I’m some sort of a “performing artist” (word to tax season), I’ve been using that as an excuse to tip-toe outside of the conventional style box every now and then. A victim of the game, son son.

What are your most prized pieces?

Currently, a green and cream Dehen 1920 letterman jacket (it was a sample and exists only in my closet…(air horn)), the M-51 arctic parka I wore here, and my dad’s M-65 (for obvious sentimentally-weighty reasons). Maybe these grey crewnecks (Left Field, Norse Projects, Archival Clothing) because I wear grey crewnecks a lot (up there with “plain white tee” as far as timelessness). Let’s not forget my Danner Mountain Light’s and navy New Balance 577’s.

What’s next for you in 2013. How do you see your PTP & FOTB evolving?

Allow me to make a 2 point presentation on PTP…then follow that with some talk about the radio show:

1. Record Label: PTP ended 2012 with the landing of two projects (Gorgeous Children’s S/T debut and the BlackSabbath chopped & screwed tribute), thus technically accomplishing the original mission: release music via PTP. We are now prepping 3-4 releases that will cover the 1st + 2nd quarters of 2013. Some more really fucking good and progressive rap, maybe an instrumental project to do things to, and 1-2 HEAVY bands. Most are names you’ve yet to add to your iTunes, but that will change very soon.

2. Shows & Parties: We also reentered the events arena last year (I personally took a break from DJ’ing out for a while). Did some VERY memorable trap rap-centric parties/shows (right before events with the word “twerk” or “trvp” in the title became staples in everyone’s Facebook calendar) with some incredibly talented and close folks (shout out to KDS/Ballers Eve, Farrington G and Roni, Marcus OKNY, Kei, and the entire Caviar Group…to name a few of the spearheads).

Shit is just snowballing because of the good times we had at Fuxshit, Trap Rap Friday, and so on…thus the unity between the respective tastemakers is beastly right now. Everyone has his/her own plate of endeavors, but we all sit at the same table as the main course is passed around. Expanding relationships and the PTP brand through more parties and focusing heavily on putting on shows…our new rap curative game is completely bonkers.

FOTB is currently looking for non-musical brands to join us as sponsors. If you’ve ever listened to an episode, 99% of the time we’re talking about food, drink (craft beer and fine rye whiskey), and clothes. We believe this cross-(sub)cultural union will help to enrich and further enlighten our listening community. To clarify, if you’ve got some dope shit, we’ve probably already mentioned you on the air…but either way, we love saying thank you to folks, by name, so send us free beer and gear, please. You will be a friend forever.

Splish splash.

You can find Geng on twitter and online at Purple Tape Pedigree.

Photos by Rocky Li