If you mention Karl Kani to any urban fashion follower, you’re likely to hear about a vintage piece they own and are so proud of. In my case, a pair of denim from a release Kani did in 1995. Not only is it a brand with remarkable passion and Brooklyn influence, he also shares many collaborations with legends in music. Karl Kani is a platform above the rest, adapting to different inspirations to raises awareness of the brand. Let’s take a minute to reminisce one of the past music moguls whom inspired Kani to bring history to life. Some included Tupac, Aaliyah, and The Notorious B.I.G. The designer was one of the first to recognize the star power of rappers, and started seeding his clothes out to some of the biggest names in hip-hop.
When we say “Legends Never Die”, the tribute goes out to Pac, with aspirations above ceilings. Back in 94’ the two first linked up at the SLS Beverly. Somewhere in between Shakur typing away at the script for Live 2 Tell and steady conversation back and forth on all things great, Karl was hesitant to ask the big question. “Ay Pac, I just wanted to know what would you charge to do a clothing add for me?” He broke from typing and despite Karl’s hesitation, Tupac replied, “You are black, I’m not going to charge you. All I want is for you to put THUG LIFE on some of the ads for me…” So it goes. . Tupac told Kani that he was down to support any black-owned enterprise, and soon any fan of hip-hop was seeing Karl Kani on stars like Nas, Biggie, and Puff Daddy.
A photo shoot was planned in Manhattan which stirred up many more ideas. All 12 members of THUG LIFE made the camera man shooting the whole collaboration a little too camera happy. His reluctance to stop got him in a bit of a bad spot with Tupac. Both film and photographer were saved. Karl Kani really recognized Tupac as an artist who supported his movement, and since this collaboration, now reflects on such a great relationship of “one of the realest dudes I’ve ever met.”
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