Photo by Glynnis McDaris.
Cam’ron caused a huge commotion in the rap world when he started wearing head-to-toe pink outfits. Turns out his entire Diplomats crew are couture revolutionaries. Killa Cam rocks graffiti- painted Tims, and Diplomat general Jim Jones stays covered in (mostly red) bandannas. Now Juelz Santana, the baby of the bunch and the author of such memorable one-liners as “okay okay okay” and “yeah yeah yeah yeah,” has opened Santana’s Town, a store that finally makes the Diplomats’ gear available to thirsty Harlemites.
VICE: Tell me what this store specializes in.
It’s all custom shit. Shirts and pants with bandannas sewn on them. We got our girls to design all that. We’re also heavy into graffiti-painted jeans. We do sneakers—we’ll put bandannas on them, too. You know, we like to pizzazz it up a bit. All the Dip Set (the Diplomats line) shit is red, but it ain’t no specific color with us. We rock all colors.
How important was it to open in this neighborhood?
: Harlem represents trendsetting. We grew up watching all the hustlers getting fly, all the money, all the flashy cars, all the fly girls. There’s things that only we could get away with, like wearing pink. We’re the fly boys.
So you guys are the fashion police around here.
: We like having everybody follow what we do. Especially if you’re from Harlem, you don’t want to get snapped on by the females. The females in Harlem is on top of their game, so you got to be on top of your game.
How about some tips?
: Let me tell you what females look at, man, females look at the soles of your sneakers. Don’t think you can just wash them sneakers up. If the back of your soles is ran down, they’re going to say you’re a bum. They’ll destroy you, man.
Basically if you’re crunchy, you’ll get snapped on. You can have a pair of Air 1s, even a crispy pair, but if they ain’t tied up right and they look crunchy, girls will get on you. A crunchy dude might be choking his sneakers a little bit, tying them up a little too tight. I ain’t never been crunchy. I’m always fly.