Polo and Hip-Hop, an Oral History [Pt. 2]
9. 2009 – The New Generation:
Inspired by Kanye and Young Dro, a new generation of ‘Lo Heads emerges across the country. Ralph Lauren begins re-releasing updated versions of classic Polo pieces to introduce them in a new era, and Jose Hustle’s “Been Had Polo” YouTube video becomes a viral sensation among ‘Lo Heads.
Jose Hustle: It was like a current series of videos goin’ around called “Been Had,” that myself and another guy was doin’. He started, and I was like, “well, I’ma jump in.” And I noticed that I had a lot of Polo attire. And “Been Had” is something that you have a lot of, in great amounts. So, like I “Been Had Polo.” I’ve done previous other “Been Had” videos, but that one got the most attention because the popularity of the brand at the moment and I guess the entertainment that people got from watching the video, too… And, I’m not takin’ any credit for it, but after my video came out, it seemed like it really became a bigger surge in Polo.
88-Keys: I remember seeing that video that went around the Internet— aw man, what was it called again. That was hilarious, oh my God. Once I saw that, then I knew what was goin’ on down south.
Just Blaze: Oh yeah. I made a response video for that but I never actually put it out. Just to be funny. Because the stuff he was throwing out was all like Macy’s stuff. It was admirable for a 17-year-old or whatever, but he obviously didn’t have anything worth anything in there. But it was funny. I actually started making a response video as a joke, but as I started pulling stuff out of my closet, I was like, ‘I have way too much.’ I had to throw Polos back in the closet. I was like ‘never mind, I’m cool.’ It was just that moment where it was funny at the time and it seemed like a good idea, but in the execution, I realized how much work it was gonna be, I was just like, ‘nah, never mind. I’m let home boy live.’
Jose Hustle: [Feedback] been mostly positive. Because for the main thing, “Damn, look at his collection. His Polo collection is so vast and large.” And the crazy thing about it is, that was just the Spring ’09 collection. That’s just the shit I got for Christmas that year… On the other hand, of course you had people dissin’. “That shit fake,” or “This nigga’s a clown,” and you can see plenty of diss videos from that. They noticed a lot of small things in the video and then made it a big part of their video. I was like, “Man, this shit’s crazy. People don’t even know me and hate me.” I mean I’m doin’ something right so we can get Nashville that attention.
Victor Ving: This is a joke to me. I think these kids watch way too much MTV cribs. To me, it was always about keeping pieces on the low and just breaking them out when people least expected it. These kids are bragging about factory outlet sale pieces that cost close to nothing. Also, what happened to boosting? I think that Polo and boosting go hand in hand. Why would you show off a $1000 sweater that you actually paid for? Doesn’t that make you the sucker? [I] can go on and on about this, but its all comedy to me.
Dallas Penn: That’s a reality. And at the same time, too, I will in a second’s notice say, “Hey listen, here’s the entire culture. Here’s the whole spectrum of it.” But that’s simply the reality of it. For someone that’s 16 years old now, my personal collection is over 20 years old. I’ve got pieces from ’86. So someone that’s 16, someone that’s 18, they weren’t even a thought when I got some of these pieces. What can we say to that? Even from that day to this moment, Polo still represents aspiration.