Thirstin Howl The 3rd is a name that is synomonous with both New York rap and hip hop fashion and he and his Lo Life crew are famous for their love for and loyalty to the Polo by Ralph Lauren brand and this has been the case since the 1980s. The Brooklyn rapper documents the Lo Life story in a new book Bury Me With The Lo On. We had a chat with him to hear all about the book, the history of the Lo Lifes, New York in the 80s and what he is up to next musically. Check out the interview here and check the excellent book out, it’s a must have for any true hip hop head.
For those in the UK who aren’t familiar with the Lo Life crew. Could you give us a quick history lesson?
I can give you a brief one! Lo Lifes is a group of kids from Brooklyn who came together and inspired the world to wear Ralph Lauren, we kind of made Polo and Ralph Lauren a standard in hip hop by the way we coordinated our styles and the way we wore it since the mid 80s. We’re a big part of New York City history and hip hop as well as fashion throughout he world. It was definitely a negative to positive story, it was a story of survival and our self expression.
You have just released a book entitled Bury Me With The Lo On, can you tell us a bit about the book and how it came about?
The book, Bury Me With The Lo On is based around the Polo culture and where it is today meaning all the different people involved within the Polo culture today, you know, transpire get from back in the 80s till now. The book came about because I was approached by director and photographer Tom Gould who was interested and gad seen a bunch of my photos and archives and things and was interested in documenting a story of the Polo culture per se. We got together, it took a good six years, we joined force with Victory Additions and we have the book Bury Me With The Lo On.
What was it that made you choose Ralph Lauren and the Polo brand as your clothing of choice?
It wasn’t like we really chose him, we touched all brands, the reason we touched Polo more than the others was because of the evolution of styles that we were coming from, we were already into many other brands that were colourful and bold so Polo just became the one that was most consistent and seasonal. We were more aware of him because he constantly came out with something new each season, so that’s what made him our choice because he always came with something fresh and something new on a seasonal basis.
The creation of the book must have brought back a lot of old memories. What are some of your fondest memories of that time?
My favourite memories were how much fun we had back then with all my friends growing up cos we were a brotherhood as well, we were people surviving together throughout all the chaos and the craziness and the negativity. We had so much fun, basically everybody loved each other and we really had a lot of fun doing everything we was doing.
There have been photography exhibitions and a documentary made about your story. Will there ever be a movie about the Lo Lifes?
Yes there will be. It should be in the works very soon.
I’m sure this is a tough question but what is your all time favourite piece of Polo clothing?
For me, it’s more like the all time favourite logo. The Cross Stripes is my favourite logo. It came out in 87 and 88 and it was the one I gravitated to the most you know. I have it tattooed on my stomach very big and it was just a fly piece to have, the Cross Flags, it was great.
How did you feel when you started seeing hip hop stars and fans rocking Ralph Lauren clothes?
It felt inspiring man. We were having such an influence on them and the world. We knew it was coming for months, we were the only ones going every place wearing it and doing it.
What was New York like back in the early days of the Lo Life’s?
New York was really crazy man. It was like Vietnam! It was a real crazy place man, there were a lot of drugs on the street, there was a lot of crime, a lot of gang stuff happening. The subway was a whole other world, just riding the subway alone, you entered a whole other dimension of the city, more than anything it was like the veins of New York City so you’ve got to go through the veins of New York City and be everywhere but it was also a beautiful time like I said. It was very much a fun time growing up, everything wasn’t so strict with the laws, we didn’t have as many terrorists existing you know.
You live in Miami now but how do you feel about the gentrification of New York nowadays?
The gentrification of New York? Same thing is happening in Miami haha! I live in Wynwood, in the art district where they have art. My families house has been here over 44 years so I’m witnessing the gentrification happening here as well. My family owns the property in the ares and everything like that so to actually benefit from the gentrification, not only that, myself as an artist involved in all forms of art, it’s actually an advantage for me. I get to intertwine ourselves with the whole art base and the gentrification of the neighbourhood and all the artistry going on.
You have been extremely prolific with your music. Are you working on anything new at the moment?
I never stop working on music! I work on multiple projects at a time. I’m always ten steps ahead with how much music I’m in possession with right now. My next album that I’m going to drop is going to be the Skillmatic album, I’m not even sure of the dates but I’m going to start dropping videos already. I’ve shot several videos for it and I plan to start dropping some soon.
What do you think of the state of hip hop nowadays?
I mean, it is what it is man. Mumble rap, I guess is the big thing right now and more power to them you know. I’m not really into it but I understand evolution, it doesn’t mean I have to respect it , it doesn’t mean I have to intertwine but I just stay in my lane man. I worry about what I do and the kind of stuff I put out. I’m not paying too much attention to other artists and trends and things like that.im always focussed on my creativity.
You can buy the book Bury Me With a The Lo On here – www.burymewiththeloon.com and check out the latest music from Thitstin Howl The 3rd here – www.thirstinhowlthe3rd.com