The 7 Wonders Of The Fashion World

For decades and decades, fashion has always been one of the artistic expressions that truly showed one’s personality. There have been people who have altered the industry with their vision, collections that shifted how we wear pieces, and so forth. I sat for awhile and thought of some fashion moments and people that were monumental in the fashion world — people I’ve looked up to starting my career in fashion, moments that made me glad I was in this industry, and people who your kids’ kids will know.

1. Michele Lamy

The iconic French fashion, designer, and art icon. With her famous black dipped fingers, rare jewelry pieces, and all gold grillz, Michèle Lamy isn’t hard to miss. As the muse and wife of designer Rick Owens, Lamy has been the fashion world’s best kept secret. Her unique style of clothing (mostly Rick Owens and RAF Simons pieces) is what makes her a stand out. Pairing streetwear with avant-garde to give off a “goth priestess” aesthetic. Since 1990, Lamy has been a working force behind many brands and people such as Rick Owens, Lamyworld, A$ap Rocky, and many more. Rocky has been quoted saying “Hardly anyone knows how important you have been behind the scenes for my career. You did not just design my album covers, you took me to art fairs and showed me the art world.” Seeing Lamy’s style for the first time had taken me aback since I first got wind of her back in ’08 when I started developing my career in fashion. She was so unique and confident — mixing menswear with women’s wear so effortlessly to make a new style of fashion. 

2. Andre Leon Talley

Former fashion editor at large at Vogue magazine, current close friend of Anna Wintour, and world renown fashion journalist Andre Leon Talley. Known for his open opinions on fashion and impeccable way of speaking and making women feel beautiful, ALT has been shifting the fashion industry since 1974. My first time connecting with ALT was via television on America’s Next Top Model where he was a judge for three cycles. As one of the few people back in the day to push designers to have more Black models in their shows, Talley always made it his mission to help advance our people in fashion — something we had very little of back in the day. For this reason, Mr. Talley will always be someone I thank because if it wasn’t for Black men like him, Black women like myself and the rest of the Glossē team wouldn’t be able to be here. 

3. Chanel 1983

The first Chanel show produced by the late Karl Lagerfeld and the collection that everyone remembers from Chanel. To this day, this collection seems to resurface in many ways in fast fashion. Prior to Lagerfeld coming to Chanel, the fashion house had a few mishaps in the design department — which made this collection all the more iconic. Pushing womenswear behind the limits of what society would allow, Coco Chanel and Lagerfeld evolved the fashion house into what we know it as today. Pantsuits, knee length skirts, shoulder pads, a-line dresses, two piece matching skirt and blazer set is what made this most recreated. Giving the modern woman a powerful yet sensual look is something Karl knew how to do perfectly. During my early 20’s, I created most of the looks during job interviews or even in everyday life to show my business woman side on a daily basis. 

5. Thierry Mugler

The love of my life, Mugler. The icon. The bar that everyone strives to meet in avant-garde fashion. Mugler is known for his bed the top, robotic, sensual, disproportionate style of designs. After leaving fashion in 2002, Mugler’s designs became untouchable and “locked in a vault”… unless your name is Beyoncé. In 2009, he worked with Queen Bey to create her costumes for her “I Am… World Tour”. After a few more quiet years, Mugler started making noise in the scene again once Cardi B wore his vintage designs to the 2019 Grammy’s and designed a new dress for Kim Kardashian. What drew ,e towards Mugler’s designs were the risqué shapes and how much they celebrated the women’s body. Making women to be other worldly, beautiful creatures in his costumes, he celebrated women’s sexuality in an artistic style that will continue to go down as a one of a kind fashion house.

5. Yeezy

Despite what the world is discussing about Kanye right now, I have to say, Yeezy came in and changed the fashion game — whether you want to admit it or not. How many people saw Yeezy season 1 come out and questioned their fashion taste? The slouching sweaters, oversized boots, intentional ripped holes in shirts, Yeezy had everyone going through a fashion frenzy but what we didn’t know was that he created the trend for all fashion houses for the next 4 years. Neutral colors, sweats paired with heels, body hugging/high waisted leggings and sweats for women. We made fun of Yeezy when it first came out because we were just exiting the era of tumblr where snapbacks was the main accessory. Over the years we came to realize that this era of “cozy” would last longer than expected and even begin to take over major fashion houses such as Rick Owens, RAF Simons, Chanel, Balenciaga; this trend also led to many dormant brands resurrecting like Champion, Fila, and Reebok. We all started dressing like 40 something year old white dads and haven’t looked back since.

6. The Met Gala

With hopes of being invited one day, I watch the Met Gala red carpet every year, as a matter of fact it’s a holiday in my house. Met Gala Monday is the time where every a-list celebrity pulls out… or is supposed to… their best haute couture looks to match the theme of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Costume Institute host a fundraising dinner. Held on the first Monday of May, the Met is home to many fashion formalities and faux pas. Until I walk those marvelous stairs to enter the event, I will join the rest of my peers in the judging room where we decide who has followed the theme this year and who let us down. The twitterverse has declared Rihanna as mother of the Met as she always is on theme and shocks the world with her red carpet look — specifically her 2016 mustard yellow Guo Pei dress. It’s fashion’s biggest single day in history. I mean, we all look forward to the Met Gala and those attending spend 6+ months preparing for it. So it’s safe to say this event will continue to be the leading fashion event for years to come. 

7. Anna Wintour

Last but not least, the woman who inspired my alias under and who inspired me to get into fashion journalism, Ms. Anna Wintour. Known as the editor in chief of Vogue, Wintour holds the titled for one of the biggest names in fashion. Her constant support for diversity and young designers has made Wintour the most respected woman in fashion. With her signature bob haircut and oversized dark sunglasses that she rarely removes, Wintour is THE reason Glossē exists now. Because her personality is so hardcore and demanding, people have speculated that Meryl Streep’s character in The Devil Wears Prada was supposed to be a loose adaptation of Wintour. Although those rumors were debunked, it’s still funny to watch Devil Wear Prada and imagine Miranda as Anna. Anna’s reign in Vogue has moved Vogue to be the most sought after magazine especially the September cover. While at Vogue has been a major change. From the models on the cover to the writers, Vogue has expanded on their pillar to make diversity a priority. As for Anna, I’d like to personally thank her for paving the way for other female editor in chiefs in fashion such as myself.

Diversity And Inclusion: Fashion’s Favorite Buzzwords

How many times have you heard “diversity” and “inclusion” when it comes to the fashion industry in 2019 alone? This year major fashion companies made it their mission to be diverse and include the rest of the world into their prestigious circle because, well, segregation is wrong. Shocker.

I’ve worked in the fashion industry since I was 16 years old. I’m no stranger to sabotage some of the tastemakers in fashion tend to do to Black people so as I sit here today reading Kerby Jean-Raymond’s letter to the publication Business of Fashion, I cry tears of joy. To read his letter, click here.

For decades, Black people have fought tooth and nail to be accepted into fashion and art. We watched as many white and white passing people have mocked and shamed us then stole our work. We sat back while we were used to fill a diversity quota in these large, white, spaces. They screamed “inclusion” and stole our work. They said “diverse” and underpaid us. We sat back and we watched, powerlessly. As they made themselves look good, we worked tirelessly to try to make a name for ourselves.

While we make them look good and share our ideas with them, they’re taking notes. They’re always taking notes on us, on our lingo, on our style, on our trends. We are the trendsetters. We are the visionaries and they know this so what do they do? Create an alternative agenda. Similar to what they did to Kerby. They invite us in as though we’re being recognized and celebrated then the mask comes off. We get blindsided and humiliated. So how do we fight back? How do we stop making diversity and inclusion just meaningless buzzwords? We do what Kerby did. Take the power back.

We use the platform we’ve built and network with people who look like us. We sit at the tables where our neighbors share the same hue as us. We take our power back. We hold them accountable. We continue to create spaces for our people. We don’t allow them to let this happen again. So thank you Kerby for using you voice to share you experience and unmasking the truth; holding BOF accountable for their actions and rooting for the people who look like you.

Letter from Glossē Magazine EIC @amaniwintour

Giorgio Armani To Be Honored At The Fashion Awards 2019

Chairman and CEO of the Armani Group, Giorgio Armani will be honored at this year’s Fashion Awards for the Outstanding Achievement Award. Armani’s name has been a household name in the fashion world for quite sometime: Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, and A/X Armani Exchange collections.

Caroline Rush CBE, Chief Executive, commented: “We are thrilled to be honouring Giorgio Armani with the Outstanding Achievement Award. With more than four decades in the business, Mr Armani’s contribution to the fashion industry is indeed outstanding. Renowned for his timeless vision of style and the brands’ ability to stay relevant, he has led the way where other brands have followed. We look forward to celebrating with him in London in December.”

Outside of fashion, Armani has been involved in many humanitarian efforts including UNICEF and Green Cross. The designer has also held awards for his sociological impact with Solomon R. Guggenheim and awards for Award for Best International Designer, Lifetime Achievement Award for Menswear, Art and Fashion from the CFDA and the first Rodeo Drive Walk of Style Award which makes him the perfect recipient for this year’s Outstanding Achievement Award.

According to BFC, “The Outstanding Achievement Award celebrates the overwhelming creative contribution of an individual to the fashion industry, who throughout their illustrious career has constantly shaped and reshaped the fashion world through their innovation and creativity.” A few people who you may recognize hold this title including Miuccia Prada, Ralph Lauren KBE, Karl Lagerfeld, Dame Anna Wintour, Terry and Tricia Jones and Manolo Blahnik.

This year’s awards will be held on Monday December 2, 2019 in London.

MRHUA MRSHUA BY NiuNiu Chou

The culturally influenced NiuNiu Chou show was nothing short of bold colors and patterns that graced the runway. The cultural and ethical influenced were mixed with the contemporary styles of pop art. The two mixed created beautiful silhouettes for the gender-less collection that married male and female designs so seamlessly.

Not only did this show pack a powerful punch with the colors and statement it wanted to make, one of the people I most admired when I first started my fashion journey walked the runway, Miss Jay Alexander. Wearing a futuristic and cultural makeup look, Miss Jay walked in recycled fabrics with multiple layers flowing with his elegant walk.

My first show with NiuNiu Chou definitely showed me the other side of fashion – the side of fashion that still remembers the fashion is a huge part of culture outside of America. Textiles, patterns, layers, the way pieces are cut, all of these factors are still very important despite what fast fashion has taught us in the past years. Chou has shown that the direction of sustainability and meaningful fashion is just around the corner.

VFILES Runway In Partnership With Depop

One of my most anticipated shows, VFiles in partnership with Depop. VFiles’ shows always seemed to have an energetic feel for all ages from their performers to their designers. This year’s designers were very diverse, from the color palettes, construction, and the concepts. Sticking to their global search for new talent from all over the world, VFiles chose Di Du, Wesley Harriot, Pierre-Louis Auvray, and Nico Verhaegen as this year’s runway winners.

Aside from their array of designers showcasing their latest collection, the performance line-up added that extra VFiles flare I spoke of earlier; Rico Nasty (who also performed in a custom Di Du look), YG, and Erika Jayne with Brooke Candy; who performed their debut single “Drip”.

My favorite part of the show was the diverse models used. From their facial features to their long bodies, the model selection was easily my top three of the entire fashion week. Aside from the models, I must say I can see why these four designers were chosen. With very eclectic, futuristic, and avant-garde looks with a hint of cosplay (which I can definitely appreciate); I’ve been waiting for the moment were avant-garde and streetwear met and made up. I began to grow tired of the same “I’m kind of lazy and too cool to care for my style” looks.

I’d like to also congratulate VFiles for two things: selling out the Barclay’s Center with over 2.000 people in attendance and launching their very own shop with Depop – which you can shop here. Can’t wait to see what the next show holds for us.

Emani Childs: How She Makes Art Into Fashion And Plans To Shift The Industry

It’s been a known fact for years that fashion is art. To know art is to know fashion. To create is to feel. This is especially true for Emani Childs, a creative director out of the beautiful Harlem, NYC. “Sometimes it’s not me designing a piece. I’ll more so try to make art and make it into clothing“. You’ll often find Childs in her office putting together what is wearable art. When you view clothing as art, your view on fashion shifts from being something trendy to something that is personal to the creator’s heart that you now get to wear.

I’ll have to say, after taking a break from interviewing and focusing solely on my writing pieces, it was great to sit and chat with a fellow female creative. “I try to keep it as original as possible and I feel like designing is such a small word. It’s more than that. That’s what keeps me going. I like to make art pieces and it just so happens that I can fuck with it and make it clothing“. She’s right. We tend to put a box on things once we put a single title to it and after that, it HAS to fall under those guidelines. We’ve seen this recent change of wording in the music industry when rappers stopped calling themselves rappers and began going by artists. Photographers are now creative directors. Just like our art, we don’t want to be limited to one specific definition.

At a young age, Emani saw so much versatility from her mother who was a model. “I stepped into everything. I would make pillows when I was younger. Style my mom before she would go out. It started there, it really started with my mom. Now looking back, it really took off in middle school“. Growing up in NYC is a luxury for fashion kids. Seeing the different cultures and styles, being around the self expression and openness, and just being able to see the creative outlets at such a young age can have a positive impact on young creatives. “I had a lot of hands on work. We had sewing machines, a basement full of fabrics. We were located in Chelsea and you’re a few blocks away from thousands of fabric stores. You walk outside and see so many outfits. You see 13 different cultures and 13 different stores that represent a different place in the world. I get amused by it“.

Now one thing we did have in common was being excited to pick out our outfits for the next day. “That’s what makes me happy. Getting dressed in the morning“. Were you also one of those kids that was always doing something different with their look?Oh my goodness! I would go from bangs with blonde streaks to putting pink in my hair when I go tired of that. When I came back from China, I cut all my hair off. Full pixie mode. I’ve gone through every hairstyle you can think of. I went through goth, girly girl, bohemian. I tested all the waters“. Working in fashion is truly an art. You’re constantly evolving, constantly finding what you like, expressing yourself in different styles. It’s an art.

We started to chat about current fashion houses, designers, etc. We both came to the conclusion that Alexander Wang has been showing out with their designs since 2017. “If I could work with people back then, I’d work with John Galliano and Alexander Wang“. Seeing A.Wang transition into this all black clothes phase has been eye catching which we agreed on. “When you’re young, we’re not looking at all black clothes like ‘oh that’s it!’. We want everything that colorful and flashy. We want that brand name displayed right in the chest. When you grow up, less is more“.

I want people to step out for their comfort zone. When I make pieces, sometimes I look back at them like ‘woah, I would never wear this’. I frame it. I make some pieces that I wouldn’t personally wear just because it’s not for me. I want people to look at my clothes like ‘I wouldn’t have done that but I can do it or I can wear it. A lot of people make the same stuff over and over again. I want people to step out their comfort zone“, Childs said when asked about what she wants her presence in the industry to shift. I couldn’t agree more. We see a lot of repetition and it’s time we shift from that and go back to when designers were doing outside of the box pieces.

With her line quickly preparing to release, Emani is all set in the designing department for EMAHN. “We’re just going step by step creating samples for everything. Everyone wants the barbed wire bathing suits. I want to do a little show in September. You guys will see the samples that’s ready to be put out”. After we closed out the interview, we sat and chatted about women in fashion and even set some plans to visit one another. I know, the Pisces in me jumped out but the connection was definitely a lasting one which isn’t rare when I do my interviews.

We’re in full support of Emani and her upcoming line EMAHN. If you’d like to keep up with Emani and all she’s doing, follow her via Instagram at @ayisha.mia.

The Saga Continues: A$ap Ant Releases “Addie Calipari”

For a little over a year now, I’ve been exploring and diving into A$ap Ant. The Baltimore rapper has intrigued me with his wordplay, the production of his songs, and his consistency when it comes to dropping new music for his fans. While we’re constantly focused on the “star” members of the A$ap mob, the real work is happening to the ones you aren’t paying attention to and Ant is one of them.

When I first start noticed Ant it was while I was listening to his verse on “Runner” with Lil Uzi Vert on Cozy Tapes vol. 1. Then again on Cozy Tapes vol. 2 where he made more features on songs such as “Blowin Minds”, “Walk on Water”, and “Get The Bag”. This is when I knew I had to find more music by him.

So in 2018 when he released “The Prelude”, I was able to get a sense of what kind of rapper he was and his signature sound. Seven (7) songs, each about 2 minutes or less. What I found unique about Ant, other than his lyricism, was his consistency. Since The Prelude, Ant has consistently put out great quality projects so fans like myself never have to wait for new music from him — which is something I can get behind, for sure.

It was no question that I had to support and listen to his latest project — Addie Calipari which pays homage to the head coach for the college basketball team University of Kentucky. The rapper also makes that known in his album work, created by @antawge, which shows him at a basketball game holding the net.

Artwork by @antawge

The song breakdown

The album starts off with Tyson’s Corner, a reference to an area in Virginia with high end shopping centers. Tyson’s Corner shows off Ant’s wordplay and signature sound off bat — “he like a Christmas tree, when we shoot we light him up”. Sliding into Lord Superb, Ant plays with some bars to describe his childhood over a Sparkheem beat. Next, NBA Live 2005 and Offseason Workout — both references to the cover of the project. 21 Donut (feat. Lulu P) immediately catches my attention because of the best change. The first half of the project were beats with similar tempos and bass — great none the less, but 21 Donut’s beat reminded me of an old beat Lil Flip would be proud of in 2005. Tris Stratus — which I believe is a reference to a bad bitch and my favorite WWE Diva, is more of a freestyle from Ant which I could appreciate especially since its only one minute long. Okay so I know I’m a feminist and all of that but I have to be honest, Bri Bri Keep Playin is the song I keep on repeat everyday. I know y’all might be mad because of the lyrics but listen, between the beat, the catchy lyrics, I’ve been corrupted. The slow tempo of the beat along with the relaxed tone of the rapping, you definitely get a vibe from this one that separates itself from the other songs. And Bri Bri, I hope you stopped playin. Alright so, I lied; Cross Country Elementary is the other song I have on repeat too. Maybe it’s the beat or maybe it’s Ant rapping “get yo b*tch off my f*ckin d*ck” about eight times but Spizzledoe and Ant definitely snapped with this one — #GYBOMFD is the mood for 2020? A&W Cream Soda and Beat And 1 (feat Baby 9eno) both produced by Sparkheem with Jonny Caravaggio show off more of Ant’s creative wordplay. As the project ends, Ooze Edition and Infantry Mobbin both shine a light on the rapper’s brand Marino Infantry.

I’ve Been In Love With Iamddb Since 2017 & Here’s Why You Should Be Too

I’ve been listening to Iamddb for the past two or three years. Like most people, I was put on by a *friend* of mine. I was always intrigued by Black music artists from the UK but was unsure where to really start. So this friend of mine sent me a song by Iamddb and from that moment, at least one of her songs stays on all of my playlists.

Iamddb shot by Scott Trindle for British Vogue

I remember vividly which song made me say “wow, yes this girl has something” — Leaned Out. She had the soul of Erykah Badu and bars of Lauryn Hill. So immediately I was drawn to her flow and versatility. Her music made me feel like the baddest bitch in the world and that men were a mere spec on my radar but then balanced me out with wanting to cuddle and smoke with my man. But that legendary balance comes from her Pisces sun. Yes, as you all know, I am a Pisces. “It’s mermaid season”, her famous intro and outro to most of her songs plays off of her water sign sun. So there may be some bias but I promise you, this girl is IT!

Aside from her musical talent, Iamddb, born Diana DeBrito, has proven she is also a fashion girl. With her clothing line “Hoodrich” names after her 4th EP, Ddb recently opened S—ply concept store with her designs on shelves and a space for fans to come and meet the artist.

Ddb is no stranger to going outside of the box with her looks. She’s done bleached blonde eyebrows, long blue braids, orange braids, and so forth. In fact, her hair styles is what truly makes her so relatable for me. As a Black girl, we’re constantly rocking protective styles like braids and twists and Iamddb has fully embraced these looks. Braided bobs, long individuals, rocking her afro, passion twists. As Black girls, we need that. We need to be reminded that the Black women we listen to share some kind of link with us.

Iamddb for British Vogue

Now let’s talk about why you’re really here. Her discography. Iamddb has released five (5), what she calls, volumes since 2016. Each project with its own theme and vibe throughout. So let’s break it down for you and then I’ll come back and give you my top five (5) songs.

  • Waeveybby – her first project released 2016. Waeveybby gives off new neo soul/hood jazz vibes. Six (6) songs of Ddb floating and harmonizing over beats that sound like a mix of early 2000’s neo soul, modern jazz, and deep bass.
  • Vibe – released in 2017, Vibe shows a side of Ddb that starts coming into play for the rest of her songs; her famous hood jazz lyrics. Giving off an arrogance that makes it known that she’s here to stay so get used to her.
  • Hoodrich – this is where we get the full effect of Ddb in her new state. Deeper beats, raunchier lyrics, more arrogance, more of the reason why she’s about to be the new IT girl coming out of the UK. You wanna be reminded how bad of a bitch you are? This is the EP for you.
  • Flightmode – now flight mode was a bit of a shift in Ddb’s discography. Still with fire lyrics but the vibe changes to something we’re more familiar with — the hood jazz vibe. The beats are more toned down. More harmonizing. More enjoying the art of the music. Similar to the vibe of “Pyramids” by Frank Ocean. Changes in sounds. Random mixes. Where the lyrics are pushed towards the back and the production of the beats are brought forward.
  • Swervvvvv.5 – her latest release (Feb 22, 2019). Swervx5 is a compilation of Ddb’s versatility. Staring off with her signature”Urban Jazz” sound (the first song is actually called Urban Jazz, too), Ddb takes us on a trip through the genre she created. After the first interlude, Ddb slides into some very ass shaking music. With “Sweg” and “Ass$s$”, those cocky lyrics come back. I listen to Sweg eight times a day with no remorse. Ending the project, mellows is down with R&B vibes. Vibes you listen to when you’re prepping for bae to come over. Vibes that sound amazing with a spliff.

So are you ready for my top 5? Alright so I originally had it in my mind to do one song from each project but I figured since Swervvvv.5 is my ultimate favorite project, I’ll switch it up a bit.

  1. Swervvvv.5 EP
  2. XOX (Flightmode)
  3. More (Hoodrich)
  4. Pause (Vibe)
  5. Childsplay (Waeveybby)

Now, I believe I’ve convinced you to at least listen to one song or even check out her Instagram. I truly believe Iamddb is the next music IT girl. When she becomes this, come back to this post and remember I told you so.

Real Street Festival: The Hottest Festival Of The Summer

Just when you thought festival line ups of summer 2019 couldn’t get any better, Real 92.3 announces their Real Street Festival line up. With top hip hop acts such as Migos, Future, A$ap Rocky, Meek Mill, and the Bronx’s very own Cardi B taking over the stage.

In August 10 to August 11, the Honda Center grounds in Anaheim, CA will be shut down with the hottest acts and even hotter brand activations. The festival will feature three stages, and a number of inviting and interactive experiences such as art installations, live murals, an artist alley, a vendor village, the California Love Thunderdome, and more. Along with these activations a car show located inside the Honda Center along with Big Boy’s Neighborhood.

According to John Reese, founder of Synergy Global Entertainment (SGE) and producer of Real Street says, “Hip hop is a GLOBAL SOCIAL PHENOMENA and the ability to produce a music festival of this magnitude in the heart of Southern California is a dream for SGE. Working with the Honda Center and its grounds has brought so much to the event. The building will be open so people can actually use a real bathroom at a music festival! Plus Big Boy’s Neighborhood and other attractions will be on the Honda Center floor center court. Real 92.3 is an awesome partner, and with so many interactive experiences, three stages of amazing artists, special food and drinks, and so much more, Real Street will be the place to be this summer in SoCal.”

Who would want to miss the biggest hip hop festival in California?! Real Street is a festival FOR the culture. From the graffiti walls to Big Boy’s Neighborhood, festival goers are bound to be immersed into what real hip hop culture is. For decades Big Boy has been a staple in the hip hop game. With his transparent interviews and love for music, Big Boy has become an icon in media as well.

If you haven’t, make sure to grab you ticket and your homeboy/homegirls a ticket too because there won’t be any other hip hop festival like this one! We’ll see y’all there and make sure to come see the Glossē team while you’re out there!

For more information or to purchase your ticket: https://realstreetfest.com

Testing Was Always Good, You Just Didn’t Listen To Us

With the one year anniversary of A$ap Rocky’s third studio album, Testing, approaching this week, I think it’s time we finally put some respect on it. Understandably, people need time for music to sink in and marinate with them. Hell, maybe even grow with it. But a lot of you are a year too late. Testing was always a great album, you guys just didn’t listen to us.

When we first discussed Testing, there was a lot of backlash. “This doesn’t sound like Rocky”. “This album didn’t slap”. Now, it could be because everyone was too immersed in the Drake/Pusha T/Kanye situation because Rocky dropped right in the middle of the shit. But let’s be real, this album didn’t connect with a lot of people due to the expectations that it would sound like “ALLA” and it didn’t.

The biggest issue people had with Testing was the music itself. But when it comes down to it, Rocky was doing things that weren’t traditional on purpose…and doing them well. We most recently heard how creative vocal layering could be executed on IGOR and When I Get Home. Rocky layered vocals in his own way on “Gunz N Butter” to the point where it almost seems like there’s two songs playing at the same time. And he’s matching the flow of that second song with his verses. This may have been annoying to some but it shows just how much you can do when using a sample. Also, he took us to Motown on “Brotha Man” with strings, keys and a lead melody that only appears on the right side of our headphones – a technique straight from the past. Y’all must have no soul to not appreciate this one.

I’d also like to bring up how instead of using the voicemail interlude trope we’ve all heard before he had a phone call verse on “CALLDROPS”…and did adlibs for said verse. “Changes” is a musical journey split into chapters across beat…changes. “Hun43rd” is classic Rocky — it actually sounds like it’s right off of Live Love A$ap; the old SGP trippy type of beat and layers of distorted vocals. “Black Tux, White Collar” is classic Rocky infused with dope experimentation.

So why did it take people a year to appreciate Testing? I wish I could tell you the answer but I do have an assumption. As consumers, we tend to go into our favorite artists’ new projects with a small hope that it sounds somewhat familiar. When it doesn’t, we write it off as a bad album but with Rocky his album title literally told you what this album was going to sound like — testing new sounds, testing new layers, testing new techniques.

Let’s discuss his rollout. In my opinion, this was my favorite rollout from the massive amounts of albums we got in 2018. Rocky didn’t do a typical press run — in fact, the only press he did was Desus and Mero, SNL, and of course his infamous AWGE DVD. If you paid close attention, Rocky has been using the black and yellow hazard sign “🚧”, crash test dummies, and construction site wardrobe to really give you the affect of testing. In NYC and LA, Rocky strategically placed these hazard stickers that connected to his testing app where you could hear snippets of the upcoming album. After a few months of the album being out, Rocky released his sneaker collaboration with Under Armour.

Rocky and the rest of the mob is known for dropping these dvd shorts of freestyles, behind the scenes of music videos, exclusive & unreleased videos, and just the whole mob enjoying each other’s company. Every mob fan knows, when this drops, that means Rocky is dropping or we’re getting a cozy tape. See below for our favorite one.

Now, don’t think we’re bashing you for loving the album because this isn’t it. We’re simply breaking down why it might’ve taken a lot of you to really enjoy the album… even if it was a year later. Nonetheless, welcome to the Testing Hive. Join us as we currently wait for his next album’s theme and hints that he’s dropping soon. For now, let’s stream Testing and enjoy the diverse sounds on this project.

This article was a collaboration with EIC @amaniwintour and culture writer @paullyb97