It hasn't even been 24 hours since A$AP Rocky dropped his shade-throwing "Multiply" video, where he calls out Been Trill and Hood By Air, and someone is already cashing in on his beef. That someone is Been Trill designer Heron Preston, who is proving to be one of the smartest people in streetwear.
Heron is now selling t-shirts printed with a screenshot of A$AP's Been Trill dis for $50, as part of his Heron Preston Bootleg series. As eye-catching and lightning fast as the design is, the real genius behind it is how he's subverting and reappropriating A$AP's critique—"I ain’t really f****** with that Been Trill, swear that s*** is booty like Tip Drill/ And I ain’t really into throwing shots, but these motherf****** better gimme my props!"—into his own profit.
It's an interesting move for a couple of reasons: Heron is not only turning coin on Rocky's shots, he's also making a smart commentary on how fashion and rap have become intertwined. In another Instagram post, he writes:
"what happened to rapper on rapper beef? the days of biggie vs tupac & jay z vs nas are over. Remember how Nas's 'Ether' or Tupac's 'Hit Em Up' made you feel? Remember what that meant for rap music? The fact that a rapper dissed a clothing company is a huge sign of the times. does that mean rap is boring? has rap lost it's edge? Today, power in music is style. power is fashion. Let's keep this s*** shocking and competitive! this is how you push things forward. and the song/video is good. let's continue to shake s*** up! our culture needs it. [sic]"
The response doesn't necessarily fire any shots back at Rocky—if anything, Preston seems to compliment the song and its video, and that No Limit hat he's wearing could even be considered a sign of solidarity (Rocky wears a Master P tee in "Multiply"). Either way, it shines a light on the fact that sometime between East Coast vs. West Coast and Kanye West channeling his anger at Hedi Slimane into "I am a God," designers became rappers' biggest platforms. It used to be that rappers would come up by gaining cosigns from their peers, but now that power has shifted to designers with figureheads—like Marc Jacobs circa Louis Vuitton and Givenchy's Riccardo Tisci—powerfully outfitting and shaping the aesthetics of the likes of Kanye West and Jay Z. Like Kanye says, the gated walls of fashion have become an elite circle that everyone wants in—and we can't wait to see how this plays out.