I wanted to model when I was younger.
I used to go to Saks, I would go to Bergdorf, I would go to Barneys, I would go to thrift stores in SoHo.
It would be disrespectful to take my stardom and bully my way into the fashion industry.
I would not consider myself to be a quote unquote real New York rapper. I don’t even like New York rappers.
I remember one time I went to Craigslist to find something; that’s how bad I wanted it. It was a pair of Raf Simons – this was like 2010. But Raf said he was going to make them for me.
Sometimes I feel like what’s hard for fashion designers to do is take looks from off the runway and actually put it into existence, into reality. That’s really the hard part.
I feel like everything I do in the hip-hop world has an influence. People don’t really notice what I did until somebody else does it. As far as hip-hop goes, I want to continue to make good music, and good art. I don’t really follow the state of hip-hop.
I chose to deal with the underdogs on ‘1 Train.’ I could’ve got the biggest superstars in the rap game, but why do that when you can let the young boys shine?
For me, growing up in Harlem and then migrating down to SoHo and the Lower East Side and chillin’ down there and making that my stomping ground… That was a big thing, because I’m from Harlem, and downtown is more artsy and also more open-minded. So I got the best of both worlds.
For instance, one big issue in hip hop is the gay thing. It’s 2013, and it’s a shame that, to this day, that topic still gets people all excited. It’s crazy. And it makes me upset that this topic even matters when it comes to hip hop, because it makes it seem like everybody in hip hop is small-minded or stupid – and that’s not the case.
So for me, fashion was about standing out as an individual – and it helped me get the attention that most people try to get with publicity stunts or by doing other crazy things. But I just let the attention come to me naturally, and I think some of that has to do with my fashion.
Man, if you’re gay we can be friends. If you’re straight, we can be friends. I’m not gay, I don’t plan on being gay, I don’t condone it and I’m not sayin’ I’m against it.
I’m not the best at choosing what’s good and what’s bad. I wouldn’t even know what’s a good pop song and what’s a bad one. With that said, I wanted to say what’s true to me. Some people might say that the Skrillex record was pop, but that was just about the chemistry between me and my boy.
I wanted to appeal to people who’ve never really listened to hip-hop or really given it a chance before. I’ve also tried to incorporate all my favorite lifestyle things in the music. Of course, ‘Fashion Killa’ is one of peoples’ favorites because it just expresses how much I like fashion.
My real name’s Rakim – my parents named me after the god MC himself.