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Polo and Hip-Hop, an Oral History [Pt. 1]

5. 1993 – The Snow Beach:
Raekwon wears the infamous Polo Snow Beach Pullover in Wu-Tang’s “So Simple” video. The Snow Beach instantly becomes an iconic piece of hip-hop history and a holy grail for ‘Lo heads worldwide, routinely selling for more than $2000 dollars on eBay today.

Raekwon: I mean, it definitely was something I thought of. I wanted to have a little bit of something on in the video. At that time, it was just all about tops. I didn’t really worry about what kinda jeans, you know. It was always basic jeans type shit. But when I put that Polo Beach on, it was only because I liked it. It took me back to the times of when I was coming up getting fly and all that. I wanted people to know that this is how I do my thing. Hat backwards, Polo pullover on— it was a pullover, it wasn’t really like a sweater or no Rugby or nothing, I wanted to take it to the next level. I think I paid probably around like $300 for it. You know, back then, that was the main thing for us. If you had a strong top on, you could just have some great jeans on, and some Uptown Air Forces on, and call it a day. But when I wore it, I wanted to see if people was gonna acknowledge that it was fly; ‘cause it was definitely fly to me. Even today, you still got cats that talk about it. Recently somebody drew a picture of me, it actually had the Polo piece on it. I was actually shocked like, ‘Wow. People is really paying attention.’ But at that time, it was just about representing, you nah mean? I felt I was a fly nigga back then, and I just wanted to see how many people would recognize that particular item. ‘Cause you know, it was all about as well, too, if you got some Polo that’s different from other cats’, that’s what brothers like. They like the fact of seein’ different stuff that they felt was authentic. It’s like, whoever had the meanest Polo shirt, Polo goose, Polo hat, if it was authentic it meant something to us.

88-Keys: When I saw Raekwon wear the Snow Beach Pullover, it didn’t hit me like it hit most ‘Lo heads. I didn’t think anything outside of, “man, that’s a dope piece that he’s rocking.” I didn’t look at it as a legendary moment for ‘Lo heads at the time. I can see looking back, but it still doesn’t really hit me that way. But I must agree, it is a defining moment in that ‘Lo head culture. I was probably taken by surprise that he rocked it, because me being from the Bronx and Long Island at the time and just running with my little crew, I didn’t think anybody was like really up on it as far as celebrities were concerned.

Just Blaze:
It probably the freshest piece they had made up to that point for that generation. The previous generation was very partial to the Polo USA stuff, but for the kids who were 14, 15 where Wu-Tang came out, and you seen that, for a lot of people, that jacket because of its color scheme, because it was bright and so different, that was a lot of peoples’ introduction to Polo. Even thought I had had a few pieces before that, I can speak for myself and speak for a lot of people that say they looked at that video, saw that, and that’s what they wanted. That’s the reason why to this day, if you find the Snow Beach online, it’s anywhere from $2000-$5000; for a pullover that cost $350 when it came out. So, I think it’s pretty safe to say a lot of people fell into it because of that video right there, more so probably than any other moment in hip-hop. A lot of people fell into it because of that video.

Stupid. Stupid! With the jeans with the one leg up. Or he had the sweats with the one leg up. I remember that. That’s why I gotta shout out Raekwon, ‘cause he been doin’ it.

Thirstin Howl III: Yeah, it was a real moment ‘cause you saw your reflection; somebody like you. You saw your style. When somebody glorified how you dress and how you look. Meaning he bigged us all up by doin’ it. He made the whole ‘Lo shit even more official. Which, it was already on full blast.

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