Buff Monster’s – A Master’s Class on Business and Art
Buff Monster is a street artist who first made a name for himself by pasting thousands of silk screened posters across Los Angeles. Over the 20 years or so that he has been an artist, his colorful Buff Monster character has inspired paintings, stickers, toys, murals, NFTs and private commissions. Born in Hawaii to a family of artists, he went to college in LA to study business, but decided that New York City was the place to be. He is an active presence on social media where he talks directly to his legion of fans eager to hear more about his latest Internet drop, zine or collection of vintage-style trading cards created in homage to the Garbage Pail Kids called The Melty Misfits. We talk about art as business, Kaws, Andy Warhol, his love of heavy metal, collecting art, insider v. outsider, and how to make it in the art world.
Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter – Long Live Indie-Sleaze
It’s one of those happy moments for the photographer Mark “The Cobrasnake” Hunter. His new book, “The Cobrasnake: Y2Ks Archive,” features a kaleidoscopic selection of photos that helped define the party scenes of Los Angeles and New York at the beginning of the 21st century. As if that wasn’t enough, he’s also earning kudos (and photo assignments) as a visionary of what fashion magazines are calling “a mid-aughts Indie Sleaze” revival. His relentless pursuit of the next party and the next photo brought him to the edgier fringes of the fashion, music, and art worlds, where he documented LA’s burgeoning underground nightlife scene that attracted up-and-coming stars like Kanye, Katy Perry, Jeremy Scott, Beth Ditto, Steve Aoki, Smanatha Ronson, Virgil Abloh and his personal muse Cory Kennedy. Before there was Instagram, there was The Cobrasnake snapping away and capturing the last generation of partiers to predate social media. We talk about his hope for the Indie Sleaze revival; growing up in LA; American Apparel; the return of Interpol, Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs and The Strokes; Paper and Nylon magazines.
Saul Williams’ Sci-fi Afro-Futurist Musical
Saul Williams is a legend who refuses to rest on his laurels. A pioneer of the Hip hop meets spoken word movement of the 90s, he created a lane that drove poetry from the musty halls of academe into the modern era. As a recording artist, he has worked with Rick Rubin, Trent Reznor, Nas, The Fugees, Erykah Badu, KRS-One, Zack De La Rocha, De La Soul, as well as poets Allen Ginsberg and Sonia Sanchez. Perhaps his most ambitious project to date is Neptune Frost, a sci-fi Afro-Futurist musical movie written, composed and co-directed by Williams. We talk about his love of Broadway, the writing of a modern musical, African e-waste camps where our tech goes to die, hip hop’s continued relevance as mixed media, making connections between the ancient and the future and much more.
Travis Mills & Nick Gross – Pop-Punk’s Girlfriends
Travis Mills and Nick Gross are Girlfriends. No, not like that. Like the pop punk band Girlfriends that’s dropping new singles as we speak with a full-length album out this summer. Once known by the stage name T.Mills, Travis rose to fame as a rapper collaborating with the likes of T.I., Dom Kennedy, and Ty Dolla $ign. He is also an actor and the host of the “Travis Mills Show” on Apple 1 Radio. Nick has produced songs for Ariana Grande and Wiz Khalifa while also playing drums for the band Goldfinger. He’s a serial entrepreneur and CEO of Big Noise Music Group. We talk about the resurgence of pop-punk, outlaw culture, the punk-hip hop connection, genre-free music, mental health and giving back.
Valentina Ferrer – J. Balvin’s Better Half
Valentina Ferrer is half of a power couple with the father of her child, the Reggaeton super star J. Balvin. The Miss Universe contestant and entrepreneur grew up in modest circumstances on a mountaintop in Argentina in a large “hippie” family. Her lifestyle today as a supermodel and co-founder of Kapowder, a “superfood for superhumans,” is very different. We talk about being a businesswoman, raising a son in the age of social media, growing up a tomboy, her baby daddy J. Balvin and her love for Ed Sheeran, Beyonce and New York.
Jefferson Osei of Daily Paper – From Blog to Global Fashion Brand
Daily Paper is an unlikely name for a fashion brand founded as a blog by three childhood friends from Ghana, Morocco and Somalia who met while living in Amsterdam. But there you have it. My guest today is Jefferson Osei, who along with his childhood friends Abderrahmane Trabsini and Hussein Suleiman, first started a blog – hence the name Daily Paper – that focused on their shared love for music, art, fashion, and culture. All that changed when they released a small collection of t-shirts that went viral. Today Daily Paper is a growing luxury fashion brand Inspired by African heritage –as well music, art, fashion and culture – translated toward a more western narrative. With retail stores in Amsterdam, New York and London – and fans like F1 driver Lewis Hamilton – it’s full steam ahead for this forward thinking brand.
Sevana – Queen of Jamaican Pop
As a teenager, Sevana was in a girl group competing on Jamaica’s version of American Idol. She came in third, positioned to take her career to the next level. But that wasn't the path taken by my guest Sevana, at least not at first. For Sevana, the journey from reluctant pop star to a recording artist fully embracing her black female identity is a story of professional and personal maturity. With the result that we are gifted by the presence of an artist who has found her voice. And with breakout hits like “Mango” and “If You Only Knew,” she is ready, willing and able to share it with her growing global fan base. We talk about the changing face of reggae, “Euphoria” Jamaican-style, her love of Marvin Gaye, Gunna and dance hall, starting her own label and raising positive vibrations with her music.
Ted Lidie of Alien Labs
Ted Lidie is the man behind the premier west coast cannabis brand Alien Labs. A Cannabis Culture OG, he was born into a family business of growers in Northern California and learned the ropes working his way up from local dealer to dispensary door man to dispensary manager to his exalted position today as an industry elder who was able make the business legitimate in the 21st century. We talk about his preference for black market weed, the end of cannabis culture, the definition of “good weed,” and why New York City is primed to be the biggest cannabis market.
Whitney Beatty’s “Tea” Party
Whitney Beatty wasn’t particularly interested in the cannabis plant until a personal, transformative experience turned her around. For Whitney, it was a doctor’s suggestion that got her to pivot from entertainment industry executive to founder of Josephine and Billie’s – as in Baker and Holiday – the nation’s first black women-owned cannabis speakeasy. We talk about her transition from being a Detroit kid who said No to Drugs to an LA “Tea Pad” power player with backing from Jay-Z’s social equity fund. It wasn’t easy and she’s still putting in long hours, a rare black woman executive with a mission to help women connect with cannabis, whether by massage, talks, edibles or a good old fashioned smoke down. Her story is unique but universal, someone to watch as the cannabis world continues to unfold and expand.