YG x RVCA: The gangster approach to street wear...sort of

24 year-old rapper and Bompton native, YG, and RVCA Founder and President, Pat (PM) Tenore are just two good pals, making clothes—appropriately embellished in red bandana print, in this case. Since the duo’s first encounter, they’ve managed to turn an unlikely friendship into an evergreen creative partnership, collaborating on a number of concerts throughout the country, and now this: an exclusive, YG x RVCA capsule collection. We caught up with YG, assumedly bickin’ back, between sound check and hitting the stage in Boston to talk about the RVCA collab, his friendship with Pat, and the verdict on whether skateboarding is gangster.
NYLON Guys: How did you and Pat become friends, in the first place?
YG: I was shooting the artwork for my album 'My Krazy Life' and the dude who was shooting it, Mike Miller, he’s like a legendary photographer, he knows Pat. So while he was shooting the artwork he told me he’d link me up with his guy Pat, to give me some RVCA clothes. I was like, “I really fuck with RVCA.” I’ve seen their clothes in stores all my life. So he was like, “Yea, I know the owner!” He linked us up and then Pat wanted to do a show with me in Hawaii; this was around December 2013. I went out there with them; my momma came out there, some of my homies. So we just started having conversations about other shit; what I wanted to do, shit that was interesting to me, then we started the whole thing about doing a lil’ line, but it was just an idea. After we left Hawaii, we kept in touch and kept building on the idea. And that’s how it all happened.
NG: Nice! So this entire project happened organically.
YG: Everything with me is organic. I feel the same way about RVCA and that’s why I really fuck with ‘em.
NG: I’m sure that friendship helped strengthen the creative process. How involved were you with the design team?
YG: They had me pick what type of pieces I wanted. They gave me ideas and showed me all of the different pieces, so when I saw all of the pieces I was like, “aight I want to do somethin’ like this, but I want bandana print on this shit right here.” I was involved on the creative side, all the way. I had something to do with every piece.
NG: How’d you keep it “YG,” though?
YG: All of the pieces, I’m not sure if you’ve seen them, but there’re shirts and jackets, and on the back there’s a VA sign. That was supposed to be 4hunnid but Pacsun was saying they thought 4hunnid was gang related, at the time, so we had to take the 4hunnid off of all the shirts. But the 4hunnit was hard; it was 4hunnid with the red bandana print, and all that. But we took it off and replaced the 4hunnit with the VA, but it still got the red bandana print. All the pieces got red bandana print. The pants, if you flip them over, the waistline got red bandana print, I got a black polo shirt with a red bandana print pocket. Then I got a plain white and red shirt with YG RVCA on it, and the “YG” is in Old English, that’s something I use a lot. We got the YG in Old English on every piece. It’s the styles of the shit. I got two pair of pants, black ones and brown one, and they on some khaki shit, you know that’s some LA shit. The flannels, that’s some LA shit. And then the bandana print on all that…yea.
NG: So, very YG, throughout.
YG: Exactly!
NG: Traditionally RVCA is a board-sport brand. You can ride beats but can you ride a skateboard?
YG: Oh, nah, I know how to ride a skateboard.
NG: So skateboarding is gangster, officially.
YG: Na, I ain’t sayin’ it’s gangster.  But I do know how to ride a skateboard.
NG: Ha! In that case, it seems like this capsule was a convenient way to blend two, LA cultures.
YG: But we didn’t blend off that. We blended because RVCA is all about their culture and I’m all about my culture. So we really tried to bring RVCA in our world. To the urban side. It just so happens…I know how to skateboard! But that don’t have anything to do with why we collabed. We collabed, on some shit, because they represent what they represent, I represent what I represent, they tryna expand, and it’s something they wanted to do. But they don’t need to do it. They’re successful but it’s about building and growing, you feel me. They want to expand to the urban side, organically. And I want to expand to their side, too. So that’s why we did what we did. Everything organic.
NG: So, more about showing love than forcing the concepts of the brands?
YG: Exactly!
NG: Can we expect more apparel collabs from you in the future? An RVBA spin-off of this capsule, maybe? And I’ll let you have that branding for free, by the way, ha!
YG: Ha, oh na, we already been talking about shit like that, you feel me.
NG: Ha, word! Well, though you couldn’t hook up this capsule with the 4hunnit branding, how do you use what you’re learning from Pat to expand the 4hunnid brand?
YG: It’s all a learning experience. Running your brand is really about being what you stand for and all that shit. I learned a lot about that. And just staying consistent because they (RVCA) always dropping some shit, so it made me think, “I gotta do the same thing if I want my shit to be successful.” But I’m learning a lot.
NG: No doubt. I want to see that Bompton hat in more places, too.
YG: Oh yea, we workin’ on that. I’m about to do something...Well I can’t say too much, but know that you gone see it more places soon, though.

Interview by: Taj Reed

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