Culture Music

The History of Hip Hop Fashion from 2000 to 2020

The blurring between “hip-hop fashion” and high fashion has been a decades long process, ultimately culminating with Louis Vuitton’s appointment of Virgil Abloh as the house’s menswear Artistic Director in 2018. This move was so monumental because as the first African American artistic director of a major fashion house, Abloh and his collections have demonstrated the breakdown of the binary between “high” and “low” fashion. As is the case with art, this distinction is unproductive, serving only to hierarchize fashion rather than encourage people to wear whatever they want. 

Nonetheless, I take issue with Abloh’s recent assertion that “streetwear is dead.” Wearing brands that you love or saw skaters wear, pieces you saw rappers don or cool things you saw people repping on the street is certainly not dead. How could it be? But the concept of “streetwear” as a standalone genre of dress, unrelated to high fashion (whatever that means), is certainly dying. 

The evolution of hip-hop style, especially from the year 2000 to today, is a good indicator of this dissolution of the high fashion/low fashion binary. What we once deemed “streetwear” in, say, 2005, has now become fodder for the design of fashion houses globally. Since the year 2000 and the forthcoming influence of Kanye West, the ubiquity of certain brands/trends/silhouettes have ebbed and flowed constantly, demonstrating the cyclical nature of hip-hop fashion. 

As a note, this history is by no means entirely comprehensive. When we track the “history” of hip-hop fashion, we aim to identify trends and moments throughout the timeline, rather than truly define the history completely. There are many rappers not mentioned who had a massive impact on trends, and similarly some whose influence may be overstated. 

The Early 2000s: Nigo and Pharrell

I won’t pretend to be able to lecture about the origin of hip-hop as a music style in the late 70s and early 80s. That said, I believe the birth of the modern rapper/designer crossover is traceable to the turn of the millenium. When rappers began developing careers as designers (rather than just influencers and curators), it opened the doors of what it could mean to be a hip-hop star. Although RUN-DMC had certainly escalated the cultural capital of the Adidas brand in the 1980s, when Nigo and Pharrell first collaborated on Billionaire Boys Club, they set the pace for rappers who wanted to dive into the fashion world. And especially considering the longstanding animosity between the high fashion world and rappers (an animosity steeped in racism and a latching on to the aforementioned high/low art binary), the move began to change the game for rapper-creators.

There are many brands that come to mind in a discussion of the hip-hop fashion landscape of the early 2000s. The running thread through all of these brands is the founder of A Bathing Ape (BAPE), Nigo, whose influence on the era’s style cannot be understated. The influence of 90s Japanese street style generally is widespread in modern hip-hop fashion. The now defunct Fruits magazine was a landmark publication in the history of street style. 

Nigo began BAPE in 1993 but began his symbiotic relationship with American hip-hop fashion in the early 2000s. With the help of rapper/singer/style icon Pharrell, the duo teamed up to create the label Billionaire Boys Club (BBC), which debuted in Pharrell’s “Frontin’” music video in 2003.

Johnny Nunez / Getty Images

This video solidified a growing conflation between hip-hop culture and skate culture. Though skate culture had long been a predominantly white, California-led subculture of the surf lifestyle, the proliferation of street skating throughout the 90s began to link the two initially disparate scenes. The “Frontin” video features skaters repping BBC, interspersed with shots of Jay-Z spitting. In this moment, Pharrell—and his partnership with Nigo—helped bring together elements of hip-hop fashion with aspects of street skating trends, unifying them under the burgeoning umbrella known as streetwear

Pharrell went on to expand his designer repertoire, adding the label ICE CREAM to his portfolio. The label focused on skate style, and released multiple skate-focused collections. In their myriad of projects, Nigo and Pharrell had teamed up to create a growing kind of street style, one which drew inspiration from the likes of Mark Gonzales as much as it did from Jay-Z.

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The Mid 2000s: Kanye and the Pink Polo
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Of course, the most-referenced example of the crossover between hip-hop and high fashion is Kanye West. With his donning of a pink polo in 2004, West began to destabilize notions of masculinity in hip-hop fashion, encouraging rappers/singers/producers to loosen their grasp on long held concepts of what rappers needed to look like. Between his pink polos, slitted glasses and Polo sweaters, Kanye demonstrated the wide range of outfit possibilities for artists.

Mychal Watts / Getty Images
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Although his style would evolve, sometimes including vivid color and other times maintaining a stark commitment to monochrome, the precedent was set. Rappers no longer needed to merely regurgitate elements of street style emphasizing staunch notions of masculinity; The possibilities of what rappers could wear were becoming endless.

The Late 2000s

In the late 2000s, Kanye had opened doors for other rappers/artists to expand their style horizon. With the emergence of style icons like Kid Cudi, coupled with the expanding eccentric dress of early-2000s southern-rap icon Andre 3000, hip-hop fashion was beginning to solidify around only one rule: There are no rules. 

One of the most important moments of this era took shape in the form of West’s collaboration with longstanding fashion house Louis Vuitton (LV). Long before Virgil Abloh would take the reins of the massive house, the man with the pink polo collaborated with LV on the Don, now one of the most iconic sneakers of the 21st century. This sneaker debuted the same year as Kanye’s first Nike collaboration, the Air Yeezy 1, but the LV collab signaled a bridging of the previously disparate world’s of hip-hop and high fashion. Where the Nike collab echoed some of the longstanding collaborations between rappers and athletic brands (like RUN-DMC and Adidas), the LV collab set a new bar for what was accessible to rappers.

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In this era, Kanye began to turn to the world of high-fashion in his personal dress, famously adopting some more upscale looks for events he attended throughout 2009 and 2010.

Michel Dufour / Getty Images

The turn of the decade also saw an influx of new silhouettes into the spotlight. Rappers like Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa notably began wearing skinny jeans around the turn of the decade; The transition from baggier silhouettes towards skinny jeans was ongoing in this moment. This transition is one of the most momentous in fashion generally between the 2000s and the 2010s, and these two rappers (as well as many others) foreshadowed this growing evolution. The turn back towards baggy pants would not truly begin again until the late 2010s.

Kevin Winter / Getty Images

The Early 2010s: The Skatewear Revival and Integration of High Fashion

The early 2010s once again saw a revival of the conflation between skatewear and hip-hop style. With the debut of Odd Future and Tyler the Creator’s 2011 project, Goblin, the weirdo/shock-value-oriented genre of music, style and performance was emerging as a centerpiece of hip-hop fashion writ large. In the aftermath of Kanye’s heralding of high fashion, this era clapped back against these notions, instead opting for a totally and completely individualistic style, not subscribed to any former “rules.” In their donning of ridiculously colorful articles, Odd Future and its members began to recreate what cohesive style was. 

With Tyler’s five-panel hats (which became a staple of the era), shorts and flashy shoes (often skate shoes, rather than basketball shoes), he cemented a new style for youth getting into hip-hop. In this same era, artists like Chance the Rapper and other up-and-comers were similarly subscribing to a colorful, not-cohesive way of dressing. There was a sort of immaturity to the style; It was not based on any previous trends.

Roger Kisby / Getty Images

Simultaneously, older rappers of the moment (Kanye, Pusha T and Kendrick Lamar, for instance), were sporting a monochrome kind of dress. This is the era of Kanye’s Yeezus, which is arguably one of the most important albums stylistically and visually of the whole decade. With its silvery cover reminiscent of MF Doom and Madlib’s Madvillainy, this aesthetic emphasized cohesion, industrial visuals and, often, darkness.

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These two genres of aesthetic, in direct conversation with each other, were part of what made the era so interesting. While many California-based hip-hop stars were embracing mismatched pastel colors and unorthodox silhouettes, some of the already established icons were beginning to develop a more muted style. These two seemingly disparate styles found their footing together in 2015 with West’s release of Yeezy Season 1, which emphasized monochromatic, drapey, fabric-centric pieces interspersed with increasingly informal fits, silhouettes and shapes.

2015 to Now

In the earlier part of the decade, rappers like A$AP ROCKY (and the whole A$AP CREW) began to name-drop high fashion brands in their music. Though huge names like Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent and Louis Vuitton had long been dropped in flex-tracks, the A$AP crew popularized some designers that had previously been unassociated with hip-hop fashion. With songs like “RAF” and lines like, “I spent $20,000 with my partners in Bahamas/Another $20,000 on Rick Owens out in Barney’s” (from “Excuse Me”), Rocky increased the social capital of these brands in the hip-hop space. 

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Raf Simons and Rick Owens’ collections were also becoming increasingly street-style focused. Although their runway lines continued to have an experimental quality, their footwear began to seep onto street style moodboards globally. With his adidas collab, Raf established himself as one of the preeminent sneaker designers in hip-hop fashion.

Antonio de Moraes Barros Filho / Getty Images

As A$AP Rocky and others began to make their personal style (and their looks) an integral part of their artist brand, more rappers continued to enter the game emphasizing their individual style. The XXL Freshman class of 2016 included a myriad of rappers who are still some of the biggest in the game. Between Lil Uzi Vert, 21 Savage, Lil Yachty, Denzel Curry and Kodak Black, this list sparked a new era of cultural icons. From Yachty’s multicolored grills to Uzi Vert’s face tattoos/piercings, the group continued to fortify a growing individualism in hip-hop fashion.

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As rappers continue to dress more and more uniquely, it becomes more and more difficult to find a unifying thread throughout all of their style. Of course, assessing the style of the previous decades also benefits from hindsight, and thus it is a bit too early to determine the defining trends of the past few years.

That said, between 2015 and 2020, rappers have continued to integrate designer pieces into their style, continuing to blur the line between streetwear and high fashion. When Virgil Abloh declared that streetwear was dead, I don’t think he meant “streetwear” generally was dead. Rather, it meant that our conception of streetwear being separate from the artform of fashion is dying. The distinction is dying, but the practice of streetwear is very much alive.

Hip-Hop Fashion in 2020
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What’s to come in 2020? It’s hard to know. Silhouettes are beginning to veer away from skinny bottoms paired with large tops towards an overall wider shape. Nonetheless, the individualism of hip-hop stars’ outfits these days makes it difficult to make sweeping statements. Rappers will continue to wear new things, old things and whatever they want. That’s what makes hip-hop fashion so cool.

Sports Strength

Your Definitive Guide to European Soccer Leagues

As someone who has followed both soccer and basketball in my life, I can understand how daunting it could be for an American to get into the sport. I’m English, so I probably shouldn’t even be referring to it as soccer, but it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make for you and clarity’s sake.

The NBA, for example, has a structure that’s relatively simple to understand. At the end of an 82-game season, the eight best teams (based on wins and losses record) in each conference battle it out in a classic tournament-style structure. Probably the most confusing thing about the playoffs for me to understand was the way the first seed plays the eighth seed, the second plays the seventh, and so on, which is still a simple concept.

I’m going to be honest with you now: soccer is probably more complicated than that. But I can also tell you that there’s a reason why it’s the biggest sport in the world with an estimated 3.5 billion fans worldwide – it’s well worth the trouble.

If you’re reading this, I assume you already have at least a moderate level of interest in soccer, so there’s no need to cover the absolute basic rules. But it can be incredibly hard for Americans to understand the way that the sport truly functions in an entirely different continent. But not to worry. To make things a little bit easier for you, I have written your definitive guide to European soccer leagues. Even that requires an asterisk because there are dozens of soccer leagues in Europe recognized by UEFA (the Union of European Football Associations) that you could follow if you were a devoted enough fan. You can view a list of UEFA’s member associations here, with each country owning multiple leagues. Even narrowing things down, there are dozens of leagues part of the official European Leagues sports organization. Instead, we’ll keep things as simple as possible and focus on the five most prominent leagues in Europe. Get ready for the kick-off.

Premier League
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We’ll start at the top. The Premier League is an English league that is considered the best in the world by far. Best is subjective, of course, but essentially before a season starts, the English Premier League (or the EPL) has the most teams that have a good chance of lifting the trophy. Currently, that includes Liverpool, Manchester City and Tottenham.

In the EPL, each of the 20 teams plays each other twice (once at home, once away) for a total of 38 games in a season (which lasts from August to May). A win is worth three points, a draw is worth one point for both teams, and a loss is worth zero. The team with the most points at the end of the season is the winner.

As mentioned above, there are a total of 20 teams in the EPL, and there have been since 1995—but the teams have not always been the same. The Premier League uses a relegation system every season, wherein the three lowest-ranked teams after a season are essentially demoted to the EFL Championship (or just the Championship for short). Think of this as the three teams with the lowest W-L record in the NBA having to go to the G League. Of course, to balance things out, three teams need to be added back to the EPL. The top two teams from the Championship are promoted to the League, while the third, fourth, fifth and sixth teams battle it out in a playoff series for the third and final spot. This system helps add a little bit of drama to the bottom where things are otherwise bleak for the lower-ranking teams and their respective fanbases. Every league mentioned here functions in the same way.

Even if you’re a beginner when it comes to soccer, you might have known of this league for a while because of Cristiano Ronaldo’s run in it with Manchester United from 2003 to 2009. To many, he was the best player in the world during that time. In his last three seasons in the EPL, Ronaldo helped United win three consecutive seasons (the most that this trophy has ever been won consecutively), each time edging out the win against Chelsea.

Though United (who boast 13 EPL wins) and Chelsea (boasting five League wins) had their rivalry, you might have noticed that I named two different teams both with “Manchester” in their names; City and United. That’s where the classic Manchester Derby comes in. In soccer, a derby is where two teams with a similar geographical location play each other. So in the NBA, the Clippers and the Lakers games are derbies, along with the Nets and the Knicks. United and City do not share a home ground like the aforementioned teams, but the rivalry is still one of the best in soccer. In the EPL, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, West Ham and Crystal Palace are all London teams, so anytime one of them plays the other, it’s a London Derby.

If we’re discussing the history of the Premier League, the Top Four have to be mentioned. Throughout the 2000s, the league was dominated by Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool and Man United. In that decade, outside of them, only four teams qualified for the Champions League. Things are a little different now with other clubs in the mix, but this period was one to remember, with legends like Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Wayne Rooney and Cesc Fabregas all taking part.

La Liga
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In Europe, second to the Premier League is La Liga (also known as Liga BBVA), Spain’s equivalent. Founded in 1929, this league boasts some of the best clubs and players in the world. The league functions in the same way as the English Premier League in that it utilizes the same double round-robin format, the same point system and the same promotion and relegation system. Spain’s equivalent to the EFL Championship is known as La Liga 2 or Segunda División.

As mentioned before, La Liga is home to some of the better players ever to kick a soccer ball. Though great teams like Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Atlético Madrid and Sevilla have been competitive in it for decades, there’s no question that the league’s two giants are Barcelona and Real Madrid. Of the 88 seasons played in league history, both teams combined have won an astonishing 59 of them (with Madrid at 33 and Barca at 26). That’s 67 percent of the seasons won by just two clubs. That’s dominance.

Naturally, this dominance has given birth to the most iconic rivalry in soccer—El Clásico. This is the name of the derby between Madrid and Barca. Every time they play each other, the soccer world tunes in, no matter what your team is. It even goes as far as Spanish politics getting involved, with the two sides being perceived as opposing political sides. Both teams are the most followed on social media. In 2019, Forbes estimated Barcelona’s value at $4.02 billion, with Madrid at $4.24 billion, putting them in the number four and number three spots respectively on the list of Most Valuable Sports Teams. Incredibly, of the team’s 244 competitive matches to date, they’re both equal in wins at 96. This is a storybook rivalry.

The clash only became more iconic when Ronaldo left Manchester United in 2009 to go to Real Madrid in a then-record move worth £80 million. This meant that Ronaldo and Lionel Messi were now in the same league. Those two have long been considered the two best soccer players in the world and even of all time, with hundreds of millions worldwide debating who was first and who was second. This is Mayweather and Pacquiao, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, Jay-Z and Nas. Since the inception of soccer’s equivalent of the MVP award (but for every league in the world), of the ten awards given, Ronaldo and Messi have won nine.

La Liga is the home of so many more great players, even in Barcelona and Real Madrid themselves. Many of the team’s best Spanish players have come together to play international soccer at the highest level over the years. But if you’re getting into La Liga, this is the rivalry to follow.

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With England and Spain covered, the next best league in Europe is Bundesliga, German’s top league. Although in most ways the league functions in the same ways as the ones above (with the same system of promotion, relegation, points and games in a season), one key difference is that this league consists of just 18 clubs, as opposed to the EPL and La Liga’s 20.

By far, the most successful club in the league’s history is Bayern Munich, who, at the time of writing, has won the last seven seasons. The second most successful club is Borussia Dortmund (also known as BVB). The crucial game in German soccer is any time these two play each other, dubbed Der Klassiker. There has been some dispute on whether these games should be considered classics, due to them being devoid of much historical context, but regardless, there’s little to no debate on who the best two clubs in German soccer are.

Bayern’s dominance is interesting because while it has meant their fans worldwide have been satisfied, things have become repetitive and monotonous for others. The Germans have an incredible grasp on finding and developing homegrown talent, but it’s Bayern that mostly gets a hold of the talent. Think of this like the dominance of the Warriors making the NBA Playoffs a bore for some. This is a recurring theme for our final European leagues too.

Serie A
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Officially founded in 1898, Serie A is Italy’s offering of its top soccer clubs. Following the same format as all leagues mentioned above, teams that are relegated at the end of each season play in Serie B.

The top clubs in this league are Juventus, A.C. Milan and Internazionale (commonly referred to as Inter). Even though Italy boasts numerous classic names in soccer, similarly to Bundesliga, Serie A has been dominated by Juventus in recent years. Since 2011, Juventus has won every season. Juventus is the current home of Ronaldo, Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín.

Naturally, as you might have guessed by now, Juventus is one half of the most prominent Italian derby. They come together with Milan for Il derby Dei Campioni (Derby Of The Champions). However, there are multiple smaller derbies in Italian soccer, which make Serie A fun. Napoli and Roma, Inter and Milan and Genoa and Sampdoria are all some of the fiercest competitive games when it comes to the sport in Italy.

Ligue 1
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Finally, we have France’s premier league, Ligue 1. Just like all prior leagues, Ligue 1 seasons are 38 games long for clubs, and the team with the most points at the end of the season wins the L’Hexagoal, the name of the league’s trophy. The bottom three Ligue 1 teams are relegated to Ligue 2.

The number of championships each team in the league has won is a little bit deceiving here. The team with the most wins (ten) is AS Saint-Étienne, but they have not won a title since the 1980 to 1981 season. Next is Olympique de Marseille with nine wins, but they have had no wins from 2009 to 2010. In third place with eight wins is Paris Saint-Germain, usually shortened to PSG. This is the biggest and best club in the league, winning six of the seasons that took place in the 2010s.

The classic derby (Le Classique) in French soccer is the one between PSG and Marseille, who had their first meeting in 1971.

Champions League
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Now that we have the best five leagues in Europe out of the way, it’s time for me to explain how they interact at the highest level. Every year, the top four teams in the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga and Serie A, and the top three teams in Ligue 1 (along with other top clubs from different European countries and leagues) qualify for the UEFA Champions League (UCL). The UCL is by far the most prestigious club competition in European soccer.

The tournament begins with 32 teams, divided into groups of four. Teams from the same nation are never in the same group. Within their groups, they play the double round-robin format with a points system, and the top two teams from each group are entered into the next round.

Round two starts with 16 teams. Here, the winners in one group will play the runners-up of another group. They will play each other twice; once at home, once away from home. It is the team that scores more goals over the course of the two games that advance to the next round. This is where the aggregate score comes into play. Listen close because this could get complicated. If at the end of both games, both Team A and Team B have scored five goals, but Team B scored more of their goals at Team A’s home stadium, they win. Away goals count for more. If away goals are also even, teams will play extra time.

The UCL final is just one game played at a neutral stadium; in other words, a stadium that is fair for both teams and neither of their home grounds.

The winner is presented with the European Champion Clubs’ Cup, with each player on the winning team getting a gold medal and each player on the team in second place getting a silver medal. One of the prizes in this tournament is money, with set amounts earned for each type of accomplishment. Getting to the preliminary qualifying round wins you the equivalent of $261,000 while winning the finals gets you a whopping $21.5 million. Under this structure, a club can earn close to $100 million for winning. While this probably sounds colossal, remember that everything’s relative. In 2017, Neymar went from Barcelona to PSG for $255 million.

There are, of course, other cups and tournaments that European teams can win, but the Champions League is by far the most coveted.

All in all, those are the basics of European soccer. If you made it to the end, I hope next time you run into a soccer fan, you can get your way through a conversation with them and probably surprise them with your knowledge. If you want some extra points, refer to it as football.

Entrepreneurs Grind

Meet WHOOP, the Wearable That Top Athletes Are Using to Optimize Their Bodies and Reach Peak Performance

Fitness has been a fascination with men and women for decades. Nowadays, everywhere you look, fitness is staring you in the face. Whether it is the fully equipped gym at the five-star hotel you booked or the ad you’re served on an Instagram story, health and wellness are more popular than ever and dominating in pop culture. In the fitness consumer market, wearables, or tiny devices used to track your body’s performance and habits, are helping people track and reach peak performance. With a plethora of options on the market that offer various functionality, one wearable recently caught our eye: WHOOP. It’s a 24/7 coach to help you improve your body that is changing the way professional athletes, trainers and high-performance individuals optimize their operating system, consciously and safely. 

The WHOOP Strap 3.0 is both lightweight and waterproof, and it’s bundled with a comprehensive membership that provides users with physiological data for improving sleep, recovering faster and training smarter. With a five-day battery life, WHOOP supplies members with accurate and efficient feedback to last them throughout the week. The subscription includes hardware, software and analytics around sleep, recovery and strain and costs $18 a month, which makes it one of the more affordable options on the market. Fascinated by the highly acclaimed health band that’s used by some of our favorite athletes like LeBron James and Keenan Robinson, ONE37pm sat down with WHOOP founder and CEO Will Ahmed to learn all about the wearable’s technology and his quick success story.

Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm
WHOOP Founder Will Ahmed

ONE37pm: How did you get started, and what inspired WHOOP?

Will Ahmed: Our mission at WHOOP is to really unlock human performance. We believe that every individual has an inner potential that they can tap into if they can better understand their bodies and behaviors. I got into this space because I was always into sports and exercise. I was playing squash while I was at Harvard and I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing to my body while I was training. Most people go through this period of getting fitter and fitter and then all of a sudden fall off a cliff, also known as overtraining. I believed there was this over-emphasis on exercise, sports and what you were doing in the moment and a lack of emphasis on the other 20 hours of the day.

What does it truly take to optimize performance?

Ahmed: The short answer is that there are secrets that your body is trying to tell you that you can’t feel. So basically, your physiology has key indicators about the status of your body that you aren’t aware of. I believe that athletes would actually get better if they focused more on sleep and recovery than if they place most of their focus on more exercise. A lot of athletes overtrain, but it turns out if you get eight hours of sleep versus six hours of sleep, you’re a better-performing human being.

So you’ve linked up with some key figures and important people, how did that come about?

Ahmed: I think the secret to connecting with a super successful or well-known person is to connect with a person who has a big influence in their life that isn’t as well-known. And in the case of professional athletes, that tends to be their trainers. With LeBron James and some of the other athletes, we got to know their trainers first, who then started using the product and recommended it to them. Eventually, we went from working with individual professional athletes to teams and then consumers. In the last two years, WHOOP has exploded and seen so much growth in the consumer market.

What are some sacrifices that people don’t talk about when starting a business?

Ahmed: I founded WHOOP when I was 22 years old and almost everyone told me I was going to fail or that I didn’t know what I was doing. For a young person, that’s really hard to hear and you have to find a way to put up a wall to all the negativity. Having so many people who I respected doubt me was hard to deal with. In part because you’re trying to do something that no one else has done and also being really young. The truth is that founding a company is much harder than you think it will be, but it’s not nearly as hard as everyone says it will be. You have to have the confidence to keep marching and to find little wins along the way that you can use as a form of momentum to keep you energized throughout the process.

What’s been your greatest struggle in building WHOOP?

Ahmed: Managing the psychological aspect of it. People don’t talk that much about the beginning and the phase of the company when you only have five or ten people. Today we have close to 100 employees, and we’ve raised over 100 million dollars of capital, but I still remember vividly what it was like when we had five or ten people and one person quits. You’ve lost 20 percent of your company. So over time, as an entrepreneur, two things happen: losing one person no longer becomes 20 percent of your company and you learn how to manage the highs and lows of entrepreneurship.

What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as a founder?


  1. You have to have a point of view on the world that is different from what everyone else is saying. Mine was contrarian, and the way to become a more optimal individual was to focus on sleep and recovery instead of stress and strain.
  2. You have to be incredibly persistent. You’ll keep finding ways to approach whatever problem you come across. No one says you’re entitled to be a great entrepreneur.
  3. Surround yourself with people who are more talented than you and hire great people to tell you, what to do.
Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm
Sarah Jacobs/ONE37pm

Was there ever a time in your career where you felt the most stuck? 

Ahmed: I reached this point of crisis where I felt like I wasn’t able to manage the business and meet expectations. I was incredibly stressed and wasn’t sleeping a lot. So I got really into transcendental meditation and it actually changed my life and helped me with managing the business. In my opinion, meditation is vital, especially for young founders who are figuring out how to balance everything in their lives.

Where do you see wearables headed in the future? Your product was around before the Apple Watch launched, so how did you react when that debuted?

Ahmed: I was actually a little relieved when the Apple Watch came out because I thought it was going to do more innovative things around health and fitness. I have a lot of respect for Apple and I think over time they’ll continue to do more and more things in the space, but I generally think you’re lost if all you’re focusing on is the competition. You have to have a core reason for why your product should exist, and for us, that was creating a great member experience around sleep, recovery and strain. WHOOP is focused on human performance, and that feels like a different lane than even what Apple or Nike is focused on.

What sets WHOOP apart from its competitors? 

Ahmed: I think WHOOP is great at very specific things because of all the other things that we don’t do. When you look at the WHOOP strap, for example, it doesn’t have a screen on it. It’s not doing push notifications. Instead, it’s just focused on health data. And by doing that, it allowed us to be much better at collecting health data than other products. We’re trying to marry the best athletes in the world with people who are aspirational, people who want to better understand their own bodies. And it was always encouraging to me that WHOOP was by far the most adopted product at that super high-end level of professional and college sports, and now we offer that same technology to optimize everyone else under a cool brand umbrella of WHOOP. We collect so much more health data than a Fitbit or an Apple Watch in a given day, just because we’re so focused on it. But you’re not going to call an Uber with this thing. Instead of trying to be good at everything, we keep our focus on one thing: health.

Culture Music

A Lau Talks the NY Drill Scene, Working with Ski Mask the Slump God and Finding Your Lane

In this week’s episode of our podcast Monday to Monday, host Mike Boyd speaks with producer A Lau. A major producer and engineer in the rapidly burgeoning drill scene, Lau provides unique insight into the New York rap scene. Lau drops a ton of knowledge in this interview, covering the different potential avenues for music producers, the creation of Off Record studios and the importance of Youtube and Facebook to the drill scene.
Anomie Williams

Lau was born and raised in NY, and emphasizes his commitment to the city in his career. Though he’s primarily a producer, he spends a lot of the interview with Mike discussing how he found his lane as a beat-maker. “I wake up every single day and I’m in the mood to make beats,” he says. He excelled as an engineer as well, but ultimately found he was most passionate about producing. “I’ve always known that I love music more than anyone else around me,” he tells Boyd.

They spend a chunk of the interview discussing the rise of drill music, and where Lau thinks it can go. “People think that drill is kind of just this thing that’s done by like Brooklyn gangsters, or like UK guys. But I think that it’s very possible for it to be done by everyone in different ways. And for people to make different genres with those sonics,” he says. Drill music is certainly everywhere and featured heavily in clubs nationwide right now. And Lau himself is responsible for the production of lots of these tracks including hits with Jay Critch, Ski Mask the Slump God and many more.
Anomie Williams

Although production is still a major part of Lau’s work, he’s spent a lot of 2020 working on breaking new artists. He’s primarily working with three young rappers: Rocko Ballin, Tazzo B and 26AR. Interestingly, none of these rappers have a major Instagram presence. Instead, much of their music is circulated on Facebook and in some curated Youtube channels; “Everything takes place on Facebook,” he says. When Boyd asks him for his favorite song from these three new artists, he says, “Just search their names. And watch the videos. You know what I mean? I genuinely don’t have a favorite song from any of them.” He has so much faith in each of them as consistent artists, so he emphasizes that he isn’t trying to get a specific track to go viral. “I’m not tryna make a Rocko Ballin song go viral or a Tazzo B song go viral. I’m tryna get people to see how talented and consistent these guys are,” he says. 

Lau goes on to discuss the different potential lanes for producers. There are pure beat-makers, who just churn out beats all day and email them to potential artists, but then there are the networking producers, who are working all hours of the day and night to build their personal brand. He stresses that being a producer requires a real sense of self and a knowledge of who you are. “You have to really know yourself to be part of this industry. You have to really know who you are and what matters to you, because there will be things that will challenge your ego and your pride and just your image of yourself and you have to be able to get through that, like, knowing that you’re solid with yourself,” he says, before adding, “I pay a lot of attention to my psychological health. And I think that that’s something that people really need to do when they get into this.” 

The reason behind his emphasis on self is clear as well. “We live in an era of comparison,” he says. But he stresses that it’s important to maintain awareness of how your paths differ from others, making the comparisons unnecessary. “Like my hustle is different, so I’m gonna have different results and I’m gonna have a different journey,” he adds. 

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They spend a bit of the interview discussing some of Lau’s biggest placements, including his major contributions to Ski Mask’s 2018 record, Stokeley. This record was immensely important for Lau because of the relationship he formed with those who worked on it. “Stokeley was bigger than music for me,” he says.

For Lau, the work he’s done with some of these lesser-known artists has been just as fulfilling as the work he’s done with huge names. “Getting 100,000 views with someone who’s no one yet, and who no one has heard of, is way more exciting to me than getting a million views when anybody could’ve made that beat and—because the artist is big—it’s gonna get millions of views,” he says. 

Lau started a recording studio called Off Record, and it was the jumping-off point for a lot of the relationships he’s built with rappers. On the success of Off Record and his process of building up some young rappers’ careers, he adds: “That’s really the only thing I’ve ever wanted to do. Is like make something from nothing, and make it really something.” He began these relationships as a sound engineer, but then would show off some beats only when the time seemed right. “I was like, ‘Man this ain’t a coincidence that every rapper I’m playing a beat for is getting on the beat and releasing the song,’” he says. 

One of the things that makes Lau different from a lot of the other artists on Monday to Monday is that he doesn’t have a team behind him. “I’m the playmaker. I don’t got nobody,” he says, before adding, “I do have a lawyer. I’ve never had a manager. I’ve never had a person get me placements or put me in rooms with people or get me, like, money. Ever.” He isn’t opposed to ever having a manager, but he hasn’t found the right person yet. “It’s better to have no team than a bad team,” he says. 

A Lau concludes the interview on a note of positivity and gratitude: “It’s been a lot of work so far and it’s been a lot of blessings so far, so we just tryna keep it going.”

If you loved this episode and want to hear Boyd chop it up with other producers, managers and rappers, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when he sat down with rapper Yung Mal.

A Lau
Culture News

Go ‘Down the Hatch’ with Barry Flavors and Dips Galore

It’s Flavors Friday, and that means it’s time for another episode of Down the Hatch. This week’s episode is a special “Work From Home” edition, featuring Mr. Flavors in his apartment taking on an assortment of dips. Despite the change of scenery, it’s a classic episode. Barry tastes, jokes, rates and, of course, sends a few tasty snacks “Down the Hatch.”

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There are five dips up on the tasting table in this week’s episode and all of the options are available on Amazon! So you can have a little Down the Hatch recreation of your very own. Barry commences his review session with a classic Onion & Herb dip, before moving on to something a little more indulgent: ButterMilk Ranch. 

He follows with a dip reminiscent of one of last week’s items: Pimento Cheese. Last week featured Bobwhite Counter’s famous pimento mac and cheese, so the stakes are high. The king of flavor follows up with a Red Pepper Dip, before closing the episode with a veggie dip (it’s for your veggies, not made of veggies), which is humorously titled, “Dip Shit.”

If you loved this episode and want to watch Barry take on more exciting snacks, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when the king of flavor put Bobwhite Counter to the test.

Sports Strength

Kansas City Royals’ Minor Leaguer Daniel Tillo Is All About Trading Cards

Daniel Tillo, a minor league starting pitcher in the Kansas City Royals organization, was drafted in the third round of the 2017 MLB Draft. Earlier this month, he purchased the most valuable and sought after baseball card of himself on eBay, a 2017 Bowman Chrome Superfractor, which is serial numbered 1/1. Superfractors are regarded as the most sought after Bowman Chrome card in the sports card world. Once Tillo purchased it, he tweeted out that he had just bought the card of himself.

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Tillo had seen his Superfractor listed on eBay for about a month and was going back and forth with the seller trying to obtain the card. “I ended up getting the card for around $325,” said Tillo. Almost immediately, he received reactions about the tweet of him buying this unique card of himself. These reactions included many sports card enthusiasts throughout the world, including Gary Vaynerchuk, Kansas City Royals fans and other sports card collectors and buyers.

One Royals fan, Terry Gardner, even offered Tillo another similar card of the pitcher, serial numbered 1/1, the Bowman Black base version. “When I saw his tweet, I thought it was cool that he had bought his own card and liked collecting. I got to thinking about it and remembered that I had one of his cards,” said Gardner. Eventually, Tillo and Gardner were able to connect through Twitter. “I just tweeted to Daniel I had one of his cards and wanted him to have it. He offered to buy it, but I did not want money for it. He has since put a signed baseball in the mail for me and my son,” said Gardner. Tillo also suggested in a tweet that he may be able to obtain game tickets for Gardner and his son should he receives a call up to the majors in 2020. Gardner got back into sports cards starting in 2011 and has been collecting Royals ever since.

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Tillo has always been interested in sports cards dating back to his childhood: “I have been collecting since I was ten years old, my older brother first got me into sports cards,” says Tillo. The process of having your own baseball card being created is an exciting experience for an athlete. “Once I realized I was going to be a high draft pick, I realized I was going to get a card of myself,” said Tillo.

Sportscard collectors or buyers collect a wide variety of players and products, and the same applies to Tillo. “I collect all sports, especially football, Prizm football is my favorite product and Optic is growing on me,” said Tillo. One of Tillo’s favorite football players is Cleveland Browns’ quarterback Baker Mayfield. “The way he goes about himself just fires me up,” said Tillo.

Similar to a lot of sports card collectors or buyers, Tillo is collecting as a hobby but also wants to start buying players cards that can increase in value. “I enjoy buying and collecting as a hobby, but now also investing in players that I think will jump in value. Keston Hiura is a guy I like a lot to go up a lot in value for the 2020 season,” said Tillo.

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In the past, Tillo has had an excellent eye for spotting future stardom as he played against Mets superstar Pete Alonso who won N.L. Rookie of the Year in 2019 and hit 53 home runs. “I had mentioned at the start of last year that Pete Alonso could be special, he was crushing the baseball when I had played against him in college,” said Tillo.


Many sports card collectors or buyers are always wanting to expand on what they are buying, and the same applies to Tillo. “I started expanding more into buying more baseball and basketball cards. Once I signed my contract is when I started buying more cards again, ripping more packs and getting hobby boxes,” said Tillo. Since Tillo invested in sports cards, are there more professional athletes doing the same thing? “I haven’t seen too many other professional baseball players buying sports cards that I know of, I know Phil Hughes does a lot and many of my teammates want to show me their old cards,” said Tillo. There is still a big unknown if other athletes like Tillo are buying sports cards, let alone cards of themselves. Will other professional athletes start buying sports cards more or possibly invest in a high-end sports card of themselves similar to Tillo? Only time will tell.

Culture Music

The History of ’80s Hip-Hop Fashion

When someone says the word “hip-hop,” even its most avid followers and those you’d describe as the hip-hop community will think of music. That’s only natural. Since the culture’s supposed inception on Aug. 11, 1973, rap music has by far been its most popular and lucrative export. The biggest names in hip-hop are all from music: Jay-Z, Eminem, Kanye West. But hip-hop influences the world in many more subtle ways, like fashion throughout the last few decades. When we think of hip-hop fashion today we might just think of some high fashion brands and designer wear, but the 1980s saw a more eclectic range of brands that got hip-hop’s support. Looking back, it was an incredibly important decade that shaped the rest of the culture for decades to come.

Focus on Sport via Getty Images

Just as it is today, sneaker culture was also incredibly important back then. The Air Jordan brand was established in 1984, and the Jordan 1 was released in 1985. Even today, the Jordan 1 is an iconic sneaker and one of the most popular of all time. When the 1 drops, you can bet that the resale value will be high. In the ‘80s, Jordan also released the underwhelming 2, the iconic 3 and classic 4. With that being said, Air Jordan and even Nike were nowhere near as dominant as a force in sneaker culture as it is today.

Back then, Reebok, Fila, Adidas, and Puma were all on-trend. In the mid-’80s, Run-DMC recorded and released “My Adidas” after company executives watched them perform at Madison Square Garden—Adidas executive Angelo Anastasio gave them a $1 million endorsement deal. If that number seems ridiculous to you, Angelo Anastasio had revealed that in the four years after signing the deal, the group generated over $100 million in sales. This gave the company a huge boost over Nike, whose growth was exponential at the time.

One of the biggest names in sneakers in the ‘80s was TROOP. The original founder, Teddy Held, had expressed his joy in seeing LL Cool J wear his TROOP sneakers and said that moment was when he felt accepted. However just as quickly as the brand rose to prominence, it fell to pieces. At its height, a rumor spread that TROOP was run by the KKK and stood for “To Rule Over Oppressed People.” This was not true, but MC Shan ran with it. “Puma’s the brand ’cause the Klan make TROOPs,” he rapped on his 1988 single “I Pioneered This.” In a 2004 interview, Eminem told XXL that everyone he knew threw out their TROOP sneakers after that song dropped. The brand started and finished at the hands of hip-hop.

Sony Music Archive via Getty Images/Terry Lott

When you think of bucket hats today, ScHoolboy Q may be the first rapper who comes to mind. But back in the 1980s, LL Cool J was the man in many hats, one of them his Kangol bucket. Though he wasn’t the first rapper to do it, he was one of the biggest. On the back cover of his 1985 album Radio, he wore a pair of Bred 1s and a red Kangol bucket. The style then got upgraded to appear on the front cover of his 1987 album Bigger and Deffer and it is considered his most iconic style choice from any era. The MC helped usher Kangol into not only Black America but also mainstream America.

As well as clothing, ‘80s hip-hop artists also donned incredible jewelry. As the culture grew in prominence and size, so did the chains. Rappers often wore colossal gold ropes, gold rings, and gold watches, long before Trinidad James was ever a thing. On the cover of their classic album Paid in Full, Eric B and Rakim wore jewelry that Ben Baller estimated to be worth a total of $200,000, which is closer to half a million dollars in 2020 money. Rappers would compete with each other to see who had the flashiest, most expensive pieces and fashion designer Isaac Mizrahi took note. Studying a decade of hip-hop fashion, in 1991 he incorporated similar accessories to his New York Fashion Week runway show for a look that Women’s Wear Daily called “homeboy chic.” Over their black garments, models were luxurious gold. It was hip-hop.

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Of course, when you talk about high fashion and hip-hop in the 1980s, Dapper Dan has to get a mention. The legendary fashion designer would cut up genuine handbags from Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Fendi and piece them back together to create one-of-a-kind, custom streetwear pieces. Run-DMC, Mike Tyson, the late Jam Master Jay and more were seen in Dan’s clothing in the ‘80s. Unfortunately, regardless of how fly it looked, the use of their logos was illegal and as his clothing store in Harlem became more and more popular, the brands cracked down and sued the designer. Although this forced him to put his services on hold, the influence was already set in stone. In fact, a few years ago for their Resort 2017 Collection, Gucci put a model in a coat that was nearly identical to one Dapper Dan created in the ‘80s. Whether or not it was intentional, it said a lot about what Dan meant to fashion. In response to the inevitable criticism they faced, Gucci announced that they were going to collaborate with Dan long term. Decades later, it was a win for the designer and a win for hip-hop.

Perhaps some extravagant things come to mind when you think of ‘80s hip-hop fashion, but it should never be forgotten how bold the era was and how impactful it was on the decades of culture that have followed it. So much so that no matter how far hip-hop fashion goes, it will reflect the 1980s.


Entrepreneurs Grind

The 14 Best Business Podcasts

There are two types of people when it comes to making use of some unexpected free time: the kind who falls into the trap of mindless scrolling, couch-napping and binge-watching and the opposite who makes the most of a week by staying motivated and working toward their goals. Since you’re reading ONE37pm right now, we’d venture to guess that you fall into the latter category. Props.

If you’re keeping up your grind from home or looking for the inspiration you need to finally launch that side hustle, some of the best stories, advice and real-world tips for killing it in business are just a listen away on these top podcasts. And while there are so many entertaining and informative pods to choose from (can you tell we’re obsessed?), we’ve ranked the best of the best—from the most interesting for the already CEOs to the most useful for the business beginners ready to put their dreams into action. Take a look.

Best Podcast Interviews with Successful Entrepreneurs
14. ‘How I Built This with Guy Raz’

This NPR-produced podcast hosted by journalist Guy Raz offers firsthand accounts of the world’s most game-changing companies and innovations. Each episode features a one-on-one interview with an entrepreneur, from the founder of Wikipedia to Michael Dell (yes, of Dell computers), in which they share the real stories, struggles and triumphs behind their success. If you want an in-depth look at how your favorite brand or product came to be, give this one a listen.

13. ‘Art of the Hustle’

Jeff Rosenthal, cofounder of the exclusive Summit series for creators, takes a conversational (and humorous) approach to hosting entrepreneurs on the quarterly pod by iHeartRadio and WeWork. The podcast is always an easy and enjoyable listen, featuring guests like Dollar Shave Club’s Michael Dubin and RxBar’s Peter Rahal, who touch on a range of topics exploring their approach to growing their million-dollar ventures. Most episodes feel like a coffee (or happy hour) catchup with your casual genius friend.

12. Mixergy – Startup Stories

We’re ranking Mixergy as the highest among the interview-focused podcasts not only because of how expansive its archive is (over 1,900 episodes to date) but also because of host Andrew Warner’s unabashed ability to ask difficult questions in order to dig deep into the journeys of business founders and leaders. We also love Mixergy’s diverse range of guests who are making waves in all sorts of unique industries, from cybersecurity to cryptocurrency to gaming. And you’re always sure to get something out of it. As one reviewer said, “Andrew is honestly one of the best in the biz at expertly extracting [the] bits of gold that listeners are looking for.”

Best Podcasts for Actionable Advice
11. ‘Entrepreneurs on Fire’

For those who enjoy hearing from real entrepreneurs but want some solid directives to glean from their success stories, Entrepreneurs on Fire combines the best of both worlds. Host John Lee Dumas chats with CEOs and thought leaders, and each episode discusses a concept or strategy that’s worked for them. Some recent episodes include “How to Launch & Scale Your Expertise with Nick Unsworth” and “How to Become ‘Data Rich’ and 10x Your Business with Data with AJ Yager & Meaghan Connell.” The lingo and ideas are a bit high-level, so it’s recommended for those who are already familiar with the ins and outs of the business landscape.

10. ‘BiggerPockets Business Podcast’

The BiggerPockets Business Podcast has practical content that is accessible for newbies. Hosts J and Carol Scott were once everyday corporate managers when they left their careers to launch their own house-flipping business, so they know what people who might not have formal training want to learn from entrepreneurs who are already doing the damn thing—without any lofty language.

9. ‘Online Marketing Made Easy’

If you’re already deep in the trenches of running your own business or work in digital marketing, tune in with pro Amy Porterfield, who hosts Online Marketing Made Easy. There are over 300 episodes live right now, a selection that features a mix of masterclass tips from Porterfield, strategies you can apply right now (like, 6 MUST DO Action Items to Make Magic Between Launches), interviews with experts and some inspiring pep talks. Listeners have recently raved about episode 305, “Why Overnight Success Is a Myth.”

8. ‘The $100 MBA Show’

No MBA? No problem. Let Omar Zenhom, the award-winning entrepreneur, speaker and host of this straightforward podcast, be your teacher. You won’t find any long-winded backstories here, just plenty of fluff-free lessons for modern business leaders and beginners alike (that’s why each episode is only around 15 minutes long). We love that Zenholm offers real-world advice on things business owners deal with every day, like difficult customers, how many support agents you really need and when the best time to send out your newsletter is.

7. ‘Youpreneur’

Calling all aspiring influencers: If you’re not only interested in building a company, but also a personal brand, this pod is a must-listen. British entrepreneur, bestselling author and international keynote speaker Chris Ducker offers smart, easily-digestible advice on what you need to do—no matter your hustle. From ways to monetize your podcast to how to write your first book, Ducker gives you his secrets in bites that are mostly under 20 minutes. The only asset you need to get started is, well, you!

The Best Podcasts for Beginning Side Hustles
6. ‘Side Hustle School’

If you’ve been thinking about starting a little something on the side during your commute to a cubicle, this daily podcast will inspire you to finally take that chance. Chris Guillebeau, the bestselling author of The $100 Startup and The Happiness of Pursuit, shares the stories of real people and the side hustles that changed their lives, like the barista who turned a coffee blog into an $8,000 per month copywriting career or the music teacher who quit her job to earn $100,000 on Fiverr. Additionally, he answers some relevant questions from listeners, like “Should I pay someone to build my website?” and “Where do I begin if I want to create an app?”

5. ‘Smart Passive Income’

You don’t need to create a billion-dollar tech startup to earn major dough. According to Pat Flynn of The Smart Passive Income blog and pod, all you need are a few different revenue streams. The best and perhaps the easiest way to create those are through online businesses. Through interviews with pros and mapped-out strategies from Flynn, listeners can learn how to tap into niche markets, build authority online and make use of all the digital marketing opportunities at their disposal. The goal? Eventually, build something that makes money while you sleep.

4. ‘The Side Hustle Show’

“Because your 9-to-5 may make you a living, your 9-to-5 makes you alive.” That’s the tagline of Nick Loper’s The Side Hustle Show, which we’ve ranked the highest here because it offers the most direct and actionable advice that could be applied to side businesses in any industry. Episodes range from covering the basics (7 Key Steps to Start and Grow Side Hustle) to advice on when to hire an assistant and how to manage your product flow. And if you’re not even sure what kind of side hustle you’d be interested in, don’t worry—Looper has an entire episode with ideas.

The Best Inspirational Podcasts
3. RISE Podcast

Look at some of the world’s most successful people and you’ll find that it’s not just business acumen that sets them apart—it’s their entire outlook on life. Rachel Hollis’s RISE podcast is a great place to start when it comes to understanding and embracing the habits, mindsets and perspectives of leaders who’ve risen above the norm. Glean confidence-boosting wisdom from Hollis’s diverse guests or get the kick-in-the-butt motivation you need from her solo shows. No matter where you’re at in your career journey, everyone can benefit from being urged to “Stop Procrastinating!

2. The GaryVee Audio Experience

Of course, the guru of grind himself, Gary Vaynerchuk, aka GaryVee, has a podcast. One of his most prevailing pieces of advice, after all, is that you can always make more content, and on The GaryVee Audio Experience, you’ll find a compilation of some of his best. His honest, no-BS insight comes through in every episode, whether it’s a motivational keynote he’s given, one of his #AskGaryVee editions, a segment from his #WeeklyVee video series or a chat with a fellow innovator. You’ll definitely pick up some solid, applicable branding tactics and business strategy. Even more importantly, you’ll take away some life advice that is sure to fire you up, from overcoming the self-judgment holding you back to being dedicated to living life on your own terms. Boom.

1. The Tim Ferriss Show

We’re sure you’re familiar with Tim Ferriss, the legendary entrepreneur and author behind the concept of “The 4-Hour Workweek.” Most of the over 400 episodes highlight a world-class performer killin’ it in their field, ranging from CEOs (including longtime Disney CEO Bob Iger just before stepping down) to chess players, scientists, sports stars and even burlesque icon Dita Von Teese. While it’s not a straightforward “business” podcast per se, the fact that it extracts teachable lessons and big ideas from unexpected places makes it the best listen for anyone who wants to disrupt the business world.

Sports Strength

The Best WCW Wrestlers of All Time

WCW was the underdog wrestling league that gave the WWE a run for its money during the ‘90s, up until the early 2000s when they were finally bought out by the WWE. Today, it seems like history is repeating itself with the emergence of All Elite Wrestling (AEW) which was able to lure some talent away from the WWE similar to how WCW did in years past. Some wrestlers shined more at WCW, but they also brought a lot of new talent to pro wrestling. Here is a list of the wrestlers that cemented their iconic careers in WCW.

1. Rey Mysterio Jr.
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Kazuchika Okada and Rey Mysterio Jr. compete in the New Japan Pro-Wrestling G1 Climax 28 at Nippon Budokan in August 2018.

When Rey Mysterio Jr came on the scene at WCW, his high energy, and high flying moves helped the Lucha Libre style of wrestling from Mexico gain a following in a world of big men. The former cruiserweight champion was a “must-see” wrestler. Mysterio was able to crossover and bring his talents to the WWE when WCW’s time was over. But it goes without saying, his most legendary matches from WCW are still worth watching today.

2. Kevin Nash
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Kevin Nash during Soap City Finals, 2000.

Kevin Nash is one of the founding members of the New World Order aka NWO. The NWO was one of the most influential WCW groups of all time. They became a pro wrestling staple that represented something much bigger than any sanctioned promotion. Nash was known as “Diesel” over at the WWE, but he truly broke out when he went back to WCW as an original face of one of the most infamous characters from the WCW era.

3. Lex Luger

A lot of great pro wrestlers in the WCW came in from the National Wrestling Alliance and Lex Luger was one of them. He had a massive frame and a finishing move known as “The Torture Rack,” which was just an excuse to lift another wrestler over his head. Luger was one of WCW’s triple crown champions, meaning he won several of the promotion’s titles (heavyweight, tag-team, and United States champion).

4. Dean Malenko
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William Regal flies into Dean Malenko during World Wrestling Federation action, October, 2000.

Known as “The Man of a Thousand Holds” Malenko wrestled in Extreme Championship Wrestling aka ECW and New Japan Pro wrestling. Despite these tenures, some of his most exciting matches occured in the WCW. His matches with Rey Mysterio, in particular, are worth rewatching today. He currently serves as a coach and senior producer for AEW according to Wrestling Observer.

5. Vampiro
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One of the many face painted wrestlers from the ‘90s, Vampiro was silent because he did all his talking in the wrestling ring. His Lucha Libre style was unique because he weighed 250 pounds, but moved like a cruiserweight. He held the tag team title with The Great Muta and also joined Sting as “brothers in paint” since their facial paint used the same black and white color scheme.

6. La Parka
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The moniker “La Parka ” has been used by a few luchadors but the one that makes this list is Adolfo Margarito Tapia Ibarra. Ibarra, like many wrestlers in the glory years of WCW, came from another promotion. La Parka—like many luchadors—helped keep eyes on WCW’s cruiserweight division where fast-paced wrestling mattered more than any storyline.

7. Ernest “The Cat” Miller
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Professional wrestler Ernest ‘The Cat’ Miller in April, 2008.

Miller was one of many wrestlers who was also a trained martial artist. Casual onlookers are always quick to dismiss pro wrestling as “fake” because of the predetermined outcome of matches. But, there is still training and athleticism involved with professional wrestling. Miller was a kickboxing champion and karate tournament competitor so taking bumps came easy to him. It helps that he was a karate instructor to the son of WCW President Eric Bischoff.

8. Tank Abbott
Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
David “Tank” Abbott punches Wesley “Cabbage” Correira during the UFC 45 in November, 2003.

The line is thin between mixed martial arts and professional wrestling. Many fighters have gone back and forth between both sports but for WCW, the most notable name would be Tank Abbott. Abbott was a heavy-handed knockout artist from the early days of the UFC and somehow, his knock out power got Incorporated into his pro wrestling persona. Towards the end of his WCW tenure, he was associated with the boy band stable “3 Count”.

9. Sean O’Haire
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WCW grew a lot of their own talent when they were at their peak at the WCW Power Plant. O’Haire was one of the wrestlers to come out of there but he was also an accomplished kickboxer and went on to compete in mixed martial arts. Sadly, O’Haire took his own life in 2014.

10. Mark Jindrak
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Wrestler Mark Jindrak “Marco Corleone” attends the Stivens Palacios Beautiful Glass, in 2010

Jindrak was tag-team partners with O’Haire the duo was another product of WCW’s Power Plant. JIndrak trained under Mr. Wonderful himself, Paul Orndorff and along with O’Haire formed the pro-wrestling team known as the “Natural Born Killers”. He and O’Haire won a WCW tag-team title before WCW folded.

11. Scott Steiner
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Scott Steiner during Soap City Finals, 2000.

It’s hard to talk about any of the Steiner brothers without mentioning both, together. However, even though Scott and his brother Rick began as a tag-team, Scott would go out on his own and evolve into the man known as “Big Poppa Pump”. Big Poppa would win the WCW World Heavyweight title and before that held tag team titles with his brother.

12. Rick Steiner
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Of course, Rick Steiner deserves a mention on this list. Rick and his brother were both accomplished amateur wrestlers at The University of Michigan and it was something Rick and Scott brought into their pro-wrestling personas, too. Scott did away with it, but Rick would take it through WCW, equipped with ear guards and his University of Michigan varsity jacket.

13. Scott Hall
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Scott Armstrong, Brian Armstrong and Brad Armstrong attend the WWE 2011 Hall Of Fame Induction

In WWE he was known as Razor Ramon, but Scott Hall along with Kevin Nash were known as “The Outsiders”. The duo would help form the nWo, the professional wrestling group that would look to take over WCW and gather a few notable wrestlers under its wing. Hall was probably one of the longest-running heels during his time in wrestling.

14. Jeff Jarrett
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DïLo Brown and Jeff Jarrett battle it out during SummerSlam, 1999.

Jeff Jarret carried a guitar around the ring with him for the sole purpose of cracking it over another wrestler’s head in WCW. He coined the term “slap-nuts” in his trash talk and was a multiple-time WCW champion. In one single night, a feud with WCW commissioner Terry Funk would have Jarrett take on three matches against George “The Animal” Steele, Tito Santana, and Jimmy Snuka.

15. Mike Awesome
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WCW Wrestler Mike Awesome flexes his muscles for photographers, 2000.

Mike Awesome went through a lot of attempts at changing his persona during his time with WCW. From trying out a 70’s theme and even to the “Canadian Career Killer”. Awesome’s biggest claim to fame was coming into the promotion, while still being the ECW champion on an episode of Monday Nitro.

16. Ric Flair
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Ric Flair during WWE Superstar Ric Flair Signs Copies of his New Autobiography “To Be The Man” at Planet Hollywood.

Flair has wrestled everywhere. “The Nature Boy” feuded with many wrestlers on this list and of course, was a multiple-time WCW champion and President at one point. For WCW, his matches with Lex Luger and Sting at Starrcade in 1995 was probably the height of his WCW career. But for Flair, that is only one of many highs in the scope of his pro-wrestling career.

17. Sting
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Sting during Soap City Finals, 2000.

Sting probably shares the most active and competitive ring time with Ric Flair and owns “the dirtiest player in the game” title. Ric Flair brought Sting over during his rise, but Sting brought something new when he came up from NWA, then WCW. The black and white face paint was very symbolic and memorable part of his persona.

18. “The Franchise” Shane Douglas
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Douglas was part of a stable in WCW that included Jindrak, O’Haire, Mysterio, and few others on this list known as “The New Blood”. This would make for many rivalries in WCW, some real and some fake but kept up with the theme of putting the newer wrestlers over.

19. Diamond Dallas Page
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Christian and Diamond Dallas Page at Wrestlemania X8.

Page, or DDP for short made a name for himself in WCW. His signature move, “The Diamond Cutter” could seemingly be done from any position in the ring. He would win a WCW tag team title along with Kevin Nash, and a WCW World Heavyweight champ title too. More recently DDP has become a yoga guru and has helped others get fit through his DDP Yoga program.

20. Konnan
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Konnan was one of many of the Mexican-American wrestlers that had success in WCW. At the height of WCW, Konnan switched to a cholo-themed, west-coast gangster persona and was part of a nWo sub-group known as “The Wolfpac” lead by Kevin Nash. He is credited with helping get Rey Mysterio on La Parka on the WCW roster.

21. Hollywood Hogan
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Hulk Hogan, 1990

Another icon in pro-wrestling, Hogan has always been associated with being one of the good guys. However, when he came to WCW, he traded the yellow and red colors for nWo black and white and became, “Hollywood” Hulk Hogan. His 2000 “Bash at the Beach” feud with Vince Russo is one of WCW’s most controversial moments.

22. David Flair
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David Flair, the son of Ric Flair, had a less than warm welcome when he made his WCW debut. The nWo ganged up on him and Hogan whipped him with his belt. He would eventually join “The New Blood” and wrestle his father in a retirement match, for a retirement that obviously did not stick.

23. Barry Windham
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Barry Windham was a tag team wrestler, usually with his brother, Kendall and was brought back to WCW by Eric Bischoff, along with Curt Hennig. He had a short-lived gimmick in a stable called “The West Texas Rednecks” that did not last. Windham ended his WCW run along with his brother in a match against the Harlem Heat.

24. Big Van Vader
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The mask Big Van Vader wore for his ring entrances made him a fan favorite. It covered his upper body and would blow steam when he entered the ring. Like his name implies, Vader was big but he was able to move just as good as any other wrestler, delivering a moonsault as one of his finishers using his 400-pound frame.

25. Billy Kidman
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A multiple-time tag-team champion and cruiserweight champion in WCW, Billy Kidman was one of the high flying wrestlers of WCW that was must-see. He wore denim shorts before John Cena made them cool and accented the outfit with a white tank top. When he performed his finishing move, the shooting star press, it usually meant a win for Kidman.

26. Eddie Guerrero
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Wrestle Mania XX, 2004.

Guerrero’s family has been involved in pro-wrestling for generations. But in the WCW, Guerrero wrestled the likes of Konnan and Ric Flair cementing his own name in the industry. He was a two-time WCW cruiserweight champion and one-time heavyweight champion. He would lead an off-shoot of the nWo called “The Latino World Order”(LWO) to push other Mexican wrestlers in WCW.

27. Buff Bagwell
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Buff Bagwell in action during the WWA Wrestling “Inception” fight night held at the Sydney Superdome.

During the days of Nitro and Thunder (WCW’s Thursday night program) Bagwell wrestled as part of nWo. He then became part of The New Blood and was involved in feuds with David Flair and Goldberg. He would win five tag team titles during his time in WCW.

28. Booker T
Moses Robinson/Getty Images

Booker T was partnered with Stevie Ray in the tag team known as the “Harlem Heat”. When he transitioned to singles matches he would go on to win WCW titles multiple times. After winning the championship five times, Booker-T did his signature “spinarooni” move, except now he would hold up five fingers representing his many title wins.

29. Juventud Guerrera
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Known for his long hair, baby-face, and high flying moves, Guerrera was a WCW cruiserweight, a title he won on WCW’s debut of Thunder. Like many Mexican wrestlers with a luchador style, he wore a mask. He was unmasked by Chris Jericho at Superbrawl, and kept wrestling without one long after.

30. Goldberg
Jerod Harris/Getty Images

Goldberg is probably the most popular wrestler who began with the WCW and stuck it out until the buy out from the WWE. He’s a Power Plant trained, naturally athletic entertainer. Mostly strengthened by his days in the NFL, and training in MMA. Goldberg always had a lot to build on. His WCW persona can be compared to what Mike Tyson did for boxing. Goldberg was known for finishing matches quickly and racking up wins. All of which helped him develop the catchphrase, “Who’s next?”.

Culture Music

Yung Mal Talks ‘6 Rings,’ Fatherhood and the Best Advice He Got From Gucci Mane

On this week’s episode of our podcast Monday to Monday, host Mike Boyd sits down with rapper Yung Mal. They cover a wide range of topics, including everything from Mal’s commitment to the studio to balancing fatherhood and his career.

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They begin the interview discussing the different vibes of studios in cities around the US, before going on to talk about how and when Mal knew that he could make a career out of rap. He says, for him, the moment he knew was when he released his song “Str8 Out Da Pot,” which he recorded his first day out of jail. “Literally like, soon as I got out, I went straight to the studio. So that’s I guess why that song is that song,” he says. Seeing what had happened in his community while he was locked up informed his decision to double down on rapping. “When I get out, I gotta do this shit for real. Because… folks dying out there,” he says. 

Mal got out of jail in 2015, and signed a deal with Gucci Mane in 2017. Mal says he’s learned a lot from Gucci, and succinctly summarizes the iconic Atlanta rapper’s advice: “Mainly, it’s just like, stay alive, basically.” Mal and Mike go on to discuss Mal’s newest project, 6 Rings and his favorite songs on the track. “You can’t listen to no songs, like, without bobbing your head. Because like the beat gonna make you wanna listen to the words,” he says. He talks about the symbiotic relationship he has with producer Pyrex Whippa, telling Boyd, “It’s more organic, like a kitchen. Alright, Pyrex gonna do this, so I gotta add the pepper on it.”

Mike notes to Mal how it seems like he can get along with everybody. “I don’t got no problem with nobody. No bad blood with nobody. So it’s all love,” he says, and goes on to talk about the strong bonds he has with a lot of the younger Atlanta rappers on the scene, like Lil Gotit and Lil Keed. 

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Mal and Boyd spend some time discussing the process of balancing being a father with Mal’s hectic touring/press schedule. The rapper’s schedule is unbelievably busy, and he often doesn’t sleep because of his commitment to always working. “I gotta be doing something or I feel like I’m just at a standstill,” he says, before adding, “I don’t like not doing nothing. That’s why I don’t really like sleep like that. Because that’s doing nothing.” He laughs, and then describes his schedule the day of the podcast recording: “I was at the studio all night. Then I left there. I shot a video. To be honest, I didn’t go to sleep. I still ain’t been to sleep.” 

The rapper, who’s originally from New Orleans but grew up in Atlanta, emphasizes the importance of the business side of rapping, rather than focusing exclusively on the music.  “You can be the best rapper in the world, everybody can love you, but it’s like, if you ain’t like really got your business side right, you doing it for no reason,” he says. He goes on to add his advice for burgeoning artists. “For new artists, it’s just like, ok you gotta just, understand the game. Have patience. Patience, for sure. And like, not move so fast on everything,” he says. 

Mal’s commitment to patience is a running thread throughout all of his advice. “Everybody who at the top, they had to go through it,” he says. “You gotta pay attention to everything, be on top of everything. This shit a business, man,” he adds, again emphasizing the business aspect of building a rap career. 

Near the interview’s end, Mal leaves us with some wisdom: “Besides the rap, you still a human being.”

If you loved this episode and want to hear Boyd chop it up with other rappers, producers and more, make sure to check out last week’s episode, when he sat down with up-and-comer 2K Baby. 

Monday to Monday: Yung Mal