Before Ed Hardy, True Religion and Evisu jeans began suffocating young men’s lower bodies thus causing mass sterilization (Could the plot of “Children of Men” be a prophetic warning of what’s to come because of this?), the hood was all about rocking true name brands that were intended for the rich upper class, but found its way to the ghetto in baggy form. Only the realest nuccas in the hood had the right and privilege to be rocking gear from the holy trinity of name brands: Ralph Lauren’s Polo (I’m still to this day a Polo head. Lo Lives for life!); Tommy Hilfiger; and Nautica.

So when I saw the title to this mixtape, I couldn’t help but get a nostalgic feeling that brought about a ear to ear grin to the god’s grill. Me personally, I was all about the Polo polo’s and rugby’s; Tommy Hifliger jean jackets with the suede collar and his knits with the patches on the chest and sleeves and the Nautica fleeces with the reflective stripe on the hood. Oh my gawd! The golden years of hip-hop fashion.

It was only a matter of time before dudes paid homage to the white men (and Taiwanese dude who founded Nautica) who pioneered the '90s fashion of hip-hop. So on Curly Tops and Nautica Jackets some of the best from the underground scene were called on to lace this mixtape with their take on the '90s fashion movement.

Dudes like Convinced hit the nail on the head on “Starter Jacket” with his lines, “I had the Tommy Hil fly shit with all the fly kicks/Jordans early Saturday morning, front of the line shit/Gap hat, Guess pants, Polo rugby’s/but British Knights didn’t fly, oh no, buddy! Cross Colors, naw bro, those clothes ugly/the object of fashion is to not look funny.” Will someone please copy and paste that last line and send it to Kanye West and Jim Jones. Thank you.

Also I was loving how Dome Kennedy was able to describe missing out on a shorty on “Miss Donna Karen” by saying, “She’s like that one Polo jacket that you missed on sale...” back in those days it was all about ballin’ on a budget, and if you missed a dope Polo/Nautica or Hilfiger jacket on sale, you’d hate yourself for the rest of your life. I know I still do.

All in all I was loving the concept of the mixtape and the sounds it produced. It was stylish music that you could literally get dressed to and just start feeling yourself before walking out your door. I myself was listening to laid back, mellowed out “We Made It ‘09” while throwing on my RL Polo pullover and just started feeling dipped with my bad OG fashion self. I ain’t trying to walk down no runway, na’mean. I’m just trying to walk down my block and still feel like a man. And by that I mean feeling confident in the fact that I can still reproduce.

But still, as much as I was loving this joint, some of the hooks on the songs were a little off for what was going on with the song. Like the hooks on “Today’s My Day,” “Miss Donna Karen,” and “Polo.” But a few weak choruses weren’t enough to keep this mixtape from being off the hook. The music was inspired by my favorite fashion era and the MCs and artists on this mixtape captured its essence with their words and scenarios. Not an easy feat at all.

So all I can say now is keep your weak ass—not too mention tight ass—Ed Hardy’s and True Religion crap. As long as Ralph Lauren keeps making Polo, North Face helps me maintain in the winter with their jackets, Girbaud drops baggy jeans, Timberland creates construction boots, and $5 black tees exist, baby I’m good and fertile.

Honorable Name Brand Mentions from the '90s: Eddie Bauer (Underrated), Helly Hansen, Perry Ellis, United Colors of Benetton, DKNY, Coogi (still going strong), Bear (The poor man’s North Face), Old Navy (The poor man’s Gap), Chaps (Can’t Have A Polo Shirt), Trezeta boots (The spikes that would come out the bottom of the heel came in VERY handy on many occasion), Iceberg History (After Snoopy they had nothing for us), Mecca (When they started throwing out those Indian, Aztec and African tribe colors, they lost me) & Fubu (The only name brand who’s real clothes looked bootleg and bootleg clothes looked better stitched than the original).-The Infamous O

Hottest Joint: “We Made It ‘09”

Weakest Joint: “Today’s My Day” (Only cause of the chorus)