Part 2 – Kei Henderson Continues to Flourish

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In part 1, Kei Henderson touched on many different topics. From Paul Wall and Mike Jones and their crazy 10.Deep party, to her past endeavors, her current role with 10.Deep plus more. You can read that here. Below you will enter part 2 of our phone conversation where Kei spoke highly about her relationship with the industry, her childhood, working with 10.Deep founder Scott Sasso and more.

Continued…

JM: Lets talk about you though, did you always know that you wanted to work in this industry or did it just come about casually?

KH: Well, as far as working in the fashion industry, no because I just never really had an interest in working in fashion at all. I was more so interested in music. But obviously these days, hip hop music and the fashion world collide very often. So it’s kinda like a natural Segway after a while. Because I wasn’t brought on to 10.Deep as someone with a lot of fashion marketing knowledge. I was brought on as someone who has a lot of music context and someone who has a lot of knowledge in that industry. And that kinda’ affects 10.Deep industry too, ya’ know? I never really had intentions of working in fashion. That’s probably why this will be my last fashion job because it’s just not really [like] I don’t want to be seen as somebody who works in fashion, I want to be seen as someone who does marketing for brands. You know what I mean?

JM: You’ve worked on many collaborations in your life, and you still are working on collaborations. Personally, what is your favorite special project you’ve worked on?

KH: What is my favorite special project? That’s an interesting question. I got to think about that.

JM: We can come back to that. Scott Sasso, who is the founder of 10.Deep has been in this industry for a while now generating nothing but quality garments. What relationship do you guys’ share?

KH: Well, it’s funny. When I met Scott, I met them at a showcase. One of my artist I used to manage Grip Lide, had a show on the showcase. I forget how he got on. I think it was through a mutual friend or whatever. Grip performed one of his hit singles at the time which was Fuck That Hipster Shit and after that performance Scott came up to us was like “yo that song was incredible and I loved that song.” and I got his contact information and we kinda’ just started talking. I honestly didn’t know who he was, until he told me like “yeah, I started 10.Deep” but this was in later conversations though. I was like “okay, cool let me get your info.” – OK Scott at 10.Deep. Didn’t really do any research on it. But then he had hit me up later on like, “yo, is Dip around? I think he might be a good look for our lookbook.” I think this was 2011 maybe, or maybe even the end of 2010. From there we just kept in contact and he would hit me up occasionally and ask me what I thought about this artist. Or asking me if I’ve heard of this person or whatever! It eventually got the point where it was like “hey, we need some help coordinating an event, would you be interested in helping out?” I was like, “yeah, sure!”. And that’s kinda of how the working relationship began, but like on a personal level, Scott was just somebody from the NY community that kinda opened the lawns to me being from Atlanta, you’re an outsider until you can prove to a lot of New Yorkers that you belong here. And it was kinda’ like on some big brother shit. It was always like “yeah, you seem like a smart girl. You want to help me with this?” or “you seem like a smart person, what do you think about this?”. Beyond the work stuff, he was just a person that recognizes the potential in me and that’s kinda what lead me to taking a job here.

JM: Ok, Kei – we’re going to play a name and relation game. I’m going to call out some names and I want you tell me your first thoughts, when you hear the words. Ok?

KH: Ok!

JM: Scott Sasso.

KH: Genius.

JM: New York City.

KH: Best city in the world.

JM: Nike Destroyer Jacket

KH: Hmmm…overpriced.

JM: Paul Wall and Mike Jones

KH: Legends.

JM: 10.Deep

KH: [Uhhh] That’s hard. I have to say the right thing and the first thing that comes to my mind. But…when I think of 10.Deep I think of history.

JM: Last word: marketing.

KH: Something anybody could do, if they wanted to do it.

 

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JM: For a second, speak on your childhood. Were you always an avid sneaker enthusiast and style connoisseur? And when did that come about for you? I know you said you were big into music, but when did the side switch and you enjoyed this as well? Or were you always into this?

KH:  No, I wasn’t always necessarily a style person. I grew up like the only black kid in my class and I went to an all white school from kindergarten all the way up to college. And even in college, I went to an all white school. But it was so segregated because you’re basically an adult now, or an adult at that point. That I tried making a whole lot more black friends, that came more important for me fit in and dress a certain way. You know, my best friend in college is actually from Queens, New York. We would go shopping together, put me on some things, and then even before I really kinda’ started taking up wanting to be in New York, I was really diggin’ the Myspace. So I met a lot of people, actually that I keep in contact with that still live in New York through Myspace, but I kinda’ would like observe kinda’ what the style. But I would always go on hersonpreston.com, I would always check out Alien New York, these kids who used to have a clothing brand and they used to parties in New York. I would already kinda’ take notes of their style. And eventually, I  paying attention to Complex Magazine and that’s kinda shaped my love for streetwear. So I guess that was 2002, 2003, when I went like “okay, stuff matters if I like this shit.” And eventually, I started taking trips up to DC, taking trips to New York and that’s when it came to me and when I said I to the realization that I wanted to cop my sneakers and money on clothes. But before then I did’t really give a shit.

JM: What’s your most vivid sneaker memory? Let’s say you were there in 2002, 2003, or maybe even 2004, what’s the first sneaker you went hard for?

KH: [Uhm] I’m trying to think of the name of the shoe. I think it would be some 1990 Huaraches. I think so, yeah! I used to like a whole lot of Huaraches. I used to visit DC almost every other weekend when I was in college. I used to date a lot of girls from PG County and that was a big shoe up there besides the Nike Boots. So I guess that will be a memorable sneaker union. I don’t really have anything where I waited in line or no shit like that. I’m never done nothing like that. So, I would say Huaraches.

JM: As the spring and summer months are approaching, what can 10.Deep customers look forward to?

KH: A lot of good prints and a lot of good pieces, I think the spring collection trumps the Holiday collection. I thought the Holiday collection was some of the best stuff I’ve seen from 10.Deep but the spring stuff is a very mature streetwear, always menswear. We’ve got like trench jackets, a lot of woven shirts for guys that are graduating college or leaving one side of their life and entering another one, and still feel comfortable at the same time. You can go to work, you can go out and still feel like yourself. You know what I’m saying? You’ll still cool, we feel cool, and not feel like you have some weird 9 to 5 job.

JM: I was going to say, it sounds like the new collection is really drawing the line between menswear and streewwear, definitely. It’s bridging the GAP.

KH: Yeah, for sure! Our suff is way more  menswear. A lot of it is because it’s reflected off Scott’s style. If you see Scott on a daily basis, he doesn’t necessarily  wear all 10.Deep from head to toe. But he dresses like a grown man. He wears very basic shirts, nice denim, cool shoes. Ya’ know, he’s a very stylish dude. So, the pieces – all of them embody his personal style.  So, that’s what the product is looking like.

JM: Man, that’s nice. OK, last question for you. If you had to wear 3 pairs of shoes/sneakers for the rest of your life, what would they be?

KH: [Uhmm] I would say, Jordan 3′s. Because you can wear those with anything.

JM: Ok, Jorddan 3′s! Black or White Cement? Which ones? You gotta’ give me specifics [says jokingly]

KH: Black! Nike Roshe Run – the sneaker boot. Those are big right now. I wear a lot of those. Probably Clark’s.

JM: Wallabee? Or Desert Boot?

KH: Desert boot.

JM: Well yeah, that was a crazy ass interview. That raps up the interview. I just want to say thank you. I appreciate this so much. It means a lot.

KH: You’re very welcome. I appreciate you reaching out.

Major thanks to Kei Henderson and 10.Deep for this amazing opportunity. Thank you.

- Jonathan T. McLean

J_Clean

 

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Reese – Riley’s Theme (Prod. Slade Da Monsta)

Boondocks Tape

Words by: Jeff Lockhart

In honor of the new Boondocks season, which premiered this past Monday, a project was released. The tape was released last week but I just got around to listening to it. This was one of the standouts on it, to me. Reese put himself in Riley’s shoes and cooked up one hell of a track. I almost overlooked this project myself but I’m telling you, there’s gems on there that you don’t want to miss out on. It’s an Atlanta based project for the most part but there are artists from all over that contributed to it. Stream “Riley’s Theme” below and download the mixtape here.

NastradamusJ

Flatbush ZOMBiES – My Team Supreme 2.0 (Feat. Bodega BAMZ) (Video)

Director: The Last American B Boy

Flatbush ZOMBIES bring us a new video for their new track that released the other day featuring Bodega Bamz titled “My Team Supreme 2.0″. The rap trio recite their lines wearing SUPREME street wear in front of hood landmarks. The ZOMBIES’ new project Days Of The Dead is on the way and you can find the original version of this track on their recent mixtape Better Off Dead.

Nick Whitehead

Where Would The Mixtape Game Be Without DJ Drama?

DJ Drama

Words by: Jeff Lockhart

Every generation of hip-hop has a premier DJ and in my generation, it happens to be DJ Drama aka Barack ODrama aka Mr. Thanksgiving (I could go on all day with his many nicknames haha). Whether it be breaking the next hot artist or hosting your favorite mixtape, he has been an important piece to the rap game for years. Drama’s Gangsta Grillz brand has become prestigious for cosigning some of the best artists in the game. His standout ad-libs and keen sense for finding talent has made him a stand out DJ. As of matter of fact, his knack for finding talent landed him an A&R position at Atlantic just a few months ago.

Growing up in the south in the 2000′s, I caught on to DJ Drama’s mixtape wave early. You always knew if you heard that “Gangsta Grizzill” tag and Dram’s hilarious ad-libs on a tape, it was going to be official, because not just anyone got a Gangsta Grillz tape. It remains that way ’til this day. Mixtapes such as Trap or Die, Dedication 1 & 2, and In My Mind (The Prequel) are projects that helped shape my taste in music.

Today was Drama’s 34th birthday and I thought it would only be right to show love to the mixtape king because honestly, where would the the mixtape game be without him?

NastradamusJ

Kei Henderson of 10.Deep Speaks Style, Culture, Influence & More

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Photo cred: FRESHPres

When you mention someone in this industry who has a core knowledge, can connect all dots, put people in the right places and still remain true to themselves, Kei Henderson of will be mentioned. From working Social Media at Complex Magazine in her past, to now working Marketing/Special Projects for 10.Deep, Kei has always been one to stay ahead of the curve. Her work ethic shows you how much time she has invested in her craft and where it can take you, if focused. I spoke with Henderson one afternoon on the phone where I gained so much information about her career and most importantly the industry. Here’s the phone conversation below of two individuals, who shared the same common interest.

Jonathan McLean: JM

Kei Henderson: KH

JM: Your involvement with 10.Deep has played a very pivotal role within the brand for quite sometime now. For a moment, tell me about your current role with 10.Deep

KH: Well my title is Marketing and Special Projects. And that’s kind of like a multi-hat umbrella of [like] digital marketing, helping with everything from a lookbook, social media, to special events – large and big. From sample sales to holiday parties and stuff like that. But then also, special projects with different collaborations. If you wanted to do something with the company, then I would be the person that product manages that. And I’m also responsible for a lot of the product placement, with celebrities. So anybody you see wearing 10.Deep in a music video, or press run, I’m usually the one that provides the product.

JM: Man, that’s really what’s good. If I remember correctly, you used to work for Complex Media under Social Marketing. Correct?

KH: Yeah, that’s correct.

 

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JM: I remember hearing your name being brought up in the office, when I was interning there over the summer. What did you learn from Complex that triggered to your new job of where you are now?

KH: [Uhmm] What did I learn from Complex that contributed to where I’m at now…I guess I would say the power of social media. The biggest part of my job at Complex was to increase the referral traffic from our social media sites. Because at the time, no one was running our social media. Everything was just kinda’ on a feed. And I took over the Facebook and came up with the Twitter strategy and that kinda helped with some of the 10.Deep stuff I do now. As far as making our posts make sense and making them matter. You know what I mean? Like, getting customers excited about purchasing and finding out, about new stuff. Aside from that, I would say that something geared towards marketing programs. It just can’t be about, hey, we got this artist we want to write an article on. It’s gotta be hey, we got this article we want to write an article on, let’s do some content, let’s do an event with him and lets kinda extend the conversation beyond just one point of entry. I kinda’ do the same thing – like if we want to partner with OverDoz. to do something, lets start off by giving them some product, ok’ lets put them in the lookbook, ok’ lets help them with the tour, stuff like that.

JM: 10.Deep which has been running since 1995, has been a brand in the stretwear market that has played a huge role in hip-hop, skate, punk and graffiti. For a second, tell the people how you’ve seen 10.Deep change the culture.

KH: Firstly, I would say Scotts vision is always a very multicultural vision. It’s in a world where race doesn’t matter, social economics don’t matter, it’s a world where existing matters, you know what I mean? It’s just contributing some sort of intelligence to the community. It’s just beyond going to college, being apart of the arts, being involved in the fashion community, ya’ know including graffiti – that’s a big expression of art. So, Scott’s biggest contribution I would say is breaking down some of the barriers that exist in the fashion community, specifically streetwear.

JM: Now, I know you work a very close-knit relationship with the special projects regarding the brand. Tell the readers how you guys managed to bring Paul Wall and Mike Jones back for the 10.Deep holiday party? That was huge! I remember talking with some of my friends in class about that party.

KH: Well, really it was Scotts idea, Because he had never seen either one of them perform and he’s a fan of both of them. So, it was like hey why don’t we bring both of them together to do a show. At the time, we were under the assumption that there was no quote on quote beef with Paul Wall and Mike Jones. But later in the negotiations, I found out that weren’t on speaking terms however, both of them really wanted to do this show because it was in New York, Paul Wall was dropping a mixtape and Mike Jones has a mixtape coming out called Money Train that’s dropping. So I guess they viewed it as a promotion thing. But a lot of the behind the scenes negotiations was just me on the phone selling to Mike Jones and Paul Wall that this is going to be a great look. More so Mike Jones, because his camp was a little bit more reluctant than Paul Wall’s camp. In the end, they both saw it as a beneficial thing and I still keep in really close contact with those guys. I tell them when to come to New York or if they want to book some shows elsewhere. Yeah, I guess a lot of it was behind the scenes negotiations and Scott really wanted to see that happen. To see them share a stage, for something like that.

JM: Speaking of rappers, 10.Deep’s relationship with Chicago rapper Fredo Santana is very key to the streets. How did the 10.Deep and Fredo collaboration come about?

KH: What’s funny about that is, my homegirl actually works with him. Her name is Lola, she’s from Toronto. She actually spent a lot of time in Atlanta. She had hit me up maybe about a month before the lookbook shoot and was like “hey, can you send Fredo some stuff?”, and I’m like “sure, cool, I’ll hit you up when we get more product in.” We were between fall and holiday, so I started going through Fredo’s Instagram and as I’m looking around for a different lookbook models and I noticed that he already wearing a lot of 10.Deep to the point where it’s in almost all of his Instagram photos had something 10.Deep in the pictures. I’m like “oh shit, I didn’t even realize that was he was fucking with the brand that hard.”  I hit Lola back like, “yo would Fredo be interested in doing the lookbook?” I think he might be a good look for the holiday. Ya’ know it has like a special segment of the holiday where the collection was a blackout version.

JM: Yeah, the collection was really dark. I remember that!

KH: Yeah! It was all black, 3M. It kinda fit with Fredo….

JM: It fit was his image.

KH: Exactly, it just happened.

JM: Lets talk about you though, did you always know that you wanted to work in this industry or did it just come about casually?

To read Kei’s response, tune in tomorrow as I release part 2 of this highly intense conversation. It gets better.

- Jonathan McLean

J_Clean

 

 

 

The NBA’s Elite

Chris Paul Headliner

Skip Bayless of ESPN’s First Take set the basketball world on fire when he stated that he did not believe that Chris Paul was a superstar but simply a star. He actually starting calling him “CPZero” because he has never made it to the Conference Finals let alone won an NBA title. The debate got me thinking. What is the definition of a superstar & who are the true superstars of the NBA today? So I sought out the opinion of my good friend and fellow basketball enthusiast Collin Smith (@CE_Smooth) So here is what he had to say about the subject.

After a lot of thinking in regards today’s NBA, superstar status is not all about rings but is more so about who is truly unstoppable on the basketball court. A superstar has the ability to carry a team to a winning season and post-season success with limited help, and as I see it right now only a few players in the league can and have truly done that. Here are the current NBA players that I put into that “Superstar” category.

1. Kevin Durant- Even though he has a true running mate in Russell Westbrook, he was 30 and 5 without Westbrook this season and almost averaged 35ppg during that stretch. He is also unstoppable. He also has 4 scoring titles and has at least been to the finals.

2. Kobe Bryant- Hate him or love him, when he is ready to take the game over he will. Pau Gasol is not Shaq, Kobe won without Shaq, Easy pick.

3. Lebron James- Even though he had to pick up 2 “stars” in their own right to win his rings, he still took his team to the finals twice with zero help. If you take Lebron any off those Cleveland teams, they are only winning 10 games each season.

4. Derrick Rose- In his last full season, he became the youngest MVP in league history, and had has his team #1 in the eastern conference over the Miami Heat, he was the only legit offensive threat on the team, if he ever can get healthy again I believe he can lead that team to the NBA Finals, in tandem with defensive mindset of the head coach Tom Thibodeau.

5. Dirk Nowitzki- Closet thing to Larry Bird we will ever see, 12th all time in scoring, 7″0 tall and un-guardable, also happens to be a League MVP & NBA Finals MVP.

I like what my homie Collin did with his list he minimized it and really narrowed it down to who he thought were the best. Look for my list of who I consider the NBA’s superstars to release later on this week.

@Keepinit_TJ