This one goes out to the 90z! MC Lyte rocking a real Louis Vuitton belt early early! Lyte grew up in the 90s East Flatbush section of Brooklyn a couple blocks from where I grew up and was one of the first to shout out the hood over 25 years before Bobby Shmurder came on the scene to rep for the town. Lyte attended the infamous Somers Junior high school which was in the same neighborhood and had graduated a couple years before I started attending. Ironically Before Lyte’s career fully took off, She lived for a brief moment on the first floor of the same house as Earl. What’s crazy too is that I was also cool with the infamous “Sam” who she was rumored to be rapping about on her record. I met him through Earl-Lo. We use to always go by his house on 92nd street to bump off stuff. He was good friends with T-Black from East and other OGs from ENY. Whenever we go there they would always fight to get to us first before anyone else could buy all the good stuff. PHOTO CIRCA.1988 NYC.
My dude “Turtle” on the far left rocking a Polo by Ralph Lauren “Police Badge” Leather arm varsity and Polo by Ralph Lauren “Paddles” Crewneck sweater. (Turtle grew up on Kermie block in the 90s) Fabian on the far lower right ricking the puffy Gucci link and Guess sweater and I’m pretty sure that’s Franklin Aves very own “Raisin Hell” in The army fatigue vest. All girls wearing Guess by George Marchiano. PHOTO CIRCA.1991 Fulton Ave. Downtown, Brooklyn NY.
The Champ. Mike Tyson grew up a few streets from in Brownsville and the first time I seen him I was ten years old. He was around the corner from my house on RL (Riverdale & Legion Street) I seen him standing on Riverdale in a MCM short set with a white Rolls Royce parked up. I’ll never forget It was early Saturday morning in the summer and when I saw him he was actually the first person I ever seen on TV in real life. But that wasn’t the thing that had me awe stricken. The first thing that popped into my mind was damn that MCM suit is ill! But right after that the next thought that popped into my head was… why the fuck is Mike Tyson in Brownsville hanging out with all these gangsters, drug dealers and killers! I was 10 years old but I was far from stupid! One of the first crack spots in Brownsville was directly across the street from my house and Mike was standing across the street about ten yards from it without a care in the world. When Mike seen the little kids starting to notice him he jumped in his Rolls Royce (Which had no roof by the way) and sped off.
When the kids started chasing after the car he threw some money in the air. I had gave up running with the crowed like a half a block in and didn’t see when he hit the next corner and started throwing the money in the air. All I removed was hearing people screaming. When I got to the corner that’s when I heard he had thrown money out the car and you already know the hood went savage. I was kinda mad I didn’t get any cash but then again this was a Brownsville 1985 so the chance of a little ten year old grabbing a handful of cash of the ground would’ve possibly turned out deadly. When I rationalized that in my mind I was good. Come to find out later on the Mike use to come back to the hood just to fly his pigeons. Me and my friends had a Pigeon coop too bit too far from his. At that time we didn’t know it was Mikes birds. We use to just call him “The Man” because of the size of the flock. Every time the birds was let out to fly it looked like it was thousands of them. Mike seen here rocking a FILA “Wet Track Suit” PHOTO CIRCA.1987-88 Catskills, NY
Self Defense. Growing up in the concrete jungle you had to be prepared for whatever your environment had in store for you. It’s lions, tigers and bears on every corner. “Fight or Flight” is an innate human instinct that everyone shares. Sometimes taking the latter of those choices can turn out more deadlier than safe. As the old saying goes “When you’re in Rome do as the Romans do!” That sentiment resonated in a literal sense for those that lived in Brooklyn during that era. Since the beginning of mankind Food, clothing and shelter has been the cornerstone of man’s existence, but once you have acquired these things how do you protect it from the outsiders who are less civilized and more savage? Well I’ll tell you that 9 times out of 10 the Mr.Nice Guy approach wasn’t an effective method. Sometimes some were forced to fight fire with Fire. Original Lo-Lifes seen here holding WMDs and wearing stolen goods courtesy of Polo by Ralph Lauren PHOTO CIRCA.1989 Crown Heights Brooklyn, NYC.
If it don’t make dollars it don’t make sense… The Leather rushes quickly became a norm during the winter and holiday seasons for Lo-Lifes and other boosters alike. It’s nice to look good but looking good doesn’t pay the bills. Dudes were starting to get older and a lot more responsibility to help maintain the household fell on their shoulders. The leather rushes were a quick way for boosters to make a couple grand in a couple minutes of time. Most of the time was spent getting to the spot. The Shearling coats became a new hot commodity with the hustlers and especially their girlfriends during the late 80s and early 90s. These rushes were lucrative but not for the faint of heart. Your body had to be built like that to get in and out of a store on a rush.
It’s like having 25 linebackers with handfuls of footballs trying to all run through one narrow space at the same time in less than 5 seconds! The adrenaline and amounts of perpetual force in one rush was to a magnitude that’s somewhat indescribable. To have a serene setting and then through a bunch of bulls into a glass shop is enough to send any person into a frozen shock of sorts. Just like deers looking into headlights. They never see it coming until it’s too late. Original Lo-Life fresh after a Shearling rush with coats on they just caught. (Top) Mark aka Marco-Polo (RIP) rocking a Polo by Ralph Lauren “Ski Man” Shirt and Guess Jumper and Joey-Lo (Bottom) PHOTO CIRCA.1990 MGV, Brownsville Brooklyn NYC.
Made in Italy. Been foreign. The rugby’s were hardbody but them denim suits and Knit sweaters went hard too! PHOTO CIRCA.Early 1990s
OG Original Lo-Lifes Vic-Lo and Disco. Rocking all Polo by Ralph Lauren. PHOTO CIRCA.1988 Club Studio 54. NYC
OG ORIGINAL RALPHIES KIDS: (L-R) AV-Rock, Friz-Lo, Hector & Rack-Lo. All wearing Polo by Ralph Lauren. PHOTO CIRCA.1988 Crown Heights Brooklyn.
The OG Boostin Great “White Boy Scott” rocking a Polo by Ralph Lauren “UNI” Goose and Nike Air Max early! PHOTO CIRCA.1987 Brooklyn NY.
The Young OG “White Boy Scott” in B’More with his Cuz rocking a Classic Gerry G and New Balance Kicks. Before the Polo Goose became the staple coat for the town for the next half decade of winters. The Gerry G and Pacific Trails were the precursor and introduction of functional Ski Wear to the hood. The coats were among the first down filled coats to have a waterproof shell. This innovative combination helped revolutionize ski wear and its ability to sustain warmth and keep the person dry. The Gerry Coats were carried in retail stores such as Herman’s World of Sporting Goods and were one of the first highly coveted coat to retail a couple hundred dollars and wasn’t something practical for a parent to buy for their child, especially on a fixed income. To have a Gerry G or Pacific Trail was like playing danger games with your life in the hood. PHOTO CIRCA.1986 Baltimore, Maryland.