Monday, February 1, 2010

All I Need: Carhartt Brown & Skull Snaps

Born out of Dearborn, Michigan by Hamilton Carhartt, his brand, Carhartt, has championed workwear for over 100 years.  They are known as masters of "Cotton Duck" canvas and owners of a certain shade of deep mustard'y brown.
By 1992, the utilitarian, "tough and active" aesthetic had become a staple within the colder inner city environments of the East Coast.  At a time when military gear and athletic warm-up apparel were viewed as the essential block roaming garb, Carhartt added a true sense of blue-collar form-and-function to the urban uniform.  The vests, jackets, dungarees, overalls, and hoodies all reflected the "hard as concrete", cold weather fighting, walking stashbox street imagery, plus the naturally roomy cut made for easy assimilation into the fashion of the time.

As Hip Hop was the soundtrack to any urban landscape during that last stretch of the 20th Century, it was how I first got acquainted with the brand.

To this day, Carhartt remains synonymous to the infamous opening drum break of Skull Snaps' "It's A New Day" (posted eons ago on this blog).  Although he was not the first to loop these drums, in my eyes, they will always belong to Erick Sermon as he constantly ushered them into multiple arranged marriages with an array of viscous Funk layers.  There's just something about the thick kick-hat-snare combination of this break that perfectly complements drowning basslines and the amorphous noise attack of George Clinton.  As with James Brown's "Funky Drummer" break, "It's A New Day" helped shape an era of Hip Hop, yet remains timeless.  No wonder its apt association with an American heritage brand whose clothing has stood the tests of recession, drought, and generations of hard labor in the most trying of weather conditions.

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