In this issue of Highsnobiety Magazine, we explore the theme of “factions,” highlighting how and why the lines are increasingly blurring between scenes and what that means for counterculture overall. From time immemorial, music has served as the baseline (and bass line) for almost all prominent factions. From punks and hip-hop heads to goths, ravers, indie kids and even skinheads, every group has their own codes and styles rooted in sound. With this in mind, we decided to turn the spotlight on four distinct personalities within music for our cover stories.
Detroit rapper Big Sean has been something of a lifelong underdog, but having just released his fourth studio album, I Decided., he is finally, truly coming into his own, understanding what he wants and where he belongs. We caught up with Sean in NY to learn more about how his “hunger steady grows.”
Though relatively under-the-radar on the world music charts, Korean indie frontman Oh Hyuk, of Hyukoh, is a certified star in his home market of South Korea, while at the same time stands on his own, away from the bubble gum shackles of “K-pop.” Hyuk represents a new wave of more organic Korean superstars, and he’s ready to go global.
The “pretty but loco,” gritty New York rapper Young M.A is a rarity in the sense that, as an openly lesbian, masculine-presenting woman, she doesn’t let her sexuality define her or her music. Though still relatively fresh on the scene, she’s been heralded as a return to the type of raw NY rap that’s been missing, and at the same time is showing the world that being yourself is all that matters.
Last but not least is the legendary UK funk/acid jazz band Jamiroquai and lead singer Jay Kay. Having first risen to prominence over 20 years ago, the band laid the groundwork for many acts that followed, with the likes of Chance the Rapper, Tyler, the Creator and Pharrell all saying Jamiroquai inspired their music. Back after a seven-year silence, with Automaton, Jamiroquai’s mad hatter Jay Kay himself is featured exclusively in this issue.
Beyond our four cover stories, this issue of Highsnobiety Magazine also looks back at the origins of several contemporary subcultures: photographer Gavin Watson weighs in on the controversial “skins” culture of the ’80s; while legendary death metal illustrator Mark Riddick shares his view on metal’s adoption by mainstream fashion and the double-standards of “selling out” (and also created an exclusive sticker sheet for the issue.) We also highlight a number of designers and creative nomads who are shining examples of todayʼs blended “remix” culture, including Matthew Williams of fashion label ALYX Studio; 19-year-old internet songstress GIRLI; NYC party crew GHE20G0TH1K; and Arizona-based tattoo artist and rapper Toothtaker. We even traveled to Cape Town, South Africa to go inside the young, post-apartheid creative scene and their unique take on niche culture today.