Rapper Vinny Chase first came on the hip-hop scene in 2004, directing music videos and documentaries for fellow Harlemites like Dip Set and Max B. Now Chase has gone from behind the camera to being in front of its lens as a recording artist.
Chase, alongside his Cheers Club comrades Kid Art and Cartier Court, combine a flashy Uptown aesthetic with high-level lyricism that separates them from the pack of fashion-conscious rappers. (Watch his video for “Harlem Roses” and download his Golden Army mixtape for proof.)
We sat down with rapper Vinny Chase for a quick chat about his style, some of his favorite pieces, and his relationship with designer Marc Jacobs.
Mass Appeal: Tell us about your personal style and what influences it.
Vinny Chase: My style is constantly evolving. Growing up in Harlem I came from a part of town where people are known for being fashion forward. I draw a lot of influence from what’s going on overseas and I’m always looking out for what’s new.
Mass Appeal: We’ve seen the “Urban Outfitters” video and the Marc Jacobs cameo. How did your relationship with Marc come about?
Vinny Chase: Before music, I was doing a lot of stuff in and out of showrooms and stuff like that with street wear fashion in Japan. I met him doing that. I was working with a brand called Swagger in Japan, they have a showroom here and that’s where I first met him and Jeremy Scott.
How did you get Marc Jacobs on board for the “Urban Outfitters” cameo?
When we were filming the video, we were riding through SoHo and his office isn’t that far. We hit him up and it just so happened. I was surprised. He was wearing this nice pink suit and had a Birkin Bag. I was pretty shocked by it, like damn, I didn’t know people could give it up like that.
Would you say that Marc Jacobs is one of your favorites? What about the MJ brand do you find appealing?
He’s definitely one of my favorite designers for sure. Even when he first started working for Louis Vuitton. He had a documentary a while ago before I was doing music that I used to watch on repeat a lot. He’s definitely one of my favorite dudes in fashion. I’m always in his accessories store on Bleecker. I’ve been going there for years; I usually cop a couple of book bags every year. I’ve always been big on his accessories and backpacks.
How would you say that your style influences your music?
It influences it heavily. I only talk about what I know and what I experience. Most of that isn’t gang banging. Most of it is fashion forward stuff and lifestyle driven things. Not just luxury brands but spaces.
Are there any old school styles that you’d want to see come back?
I want to see vintage sports t-shirts coming back, I like those a lot. I don’t want to bring back too much, baggy pants can stay where it’s at. I’d bring back boxers with name tags on ‘em too.
Do you have a staple item or favorite looks/pieces that you think complete your look?
I mean really, I’m the type of dude that I can’t really move without accessories. I can’t go too far without accessories. I’d definitely say my gold rings.
Are these custom rings?
Yeah, I get them custom-made up in Harlem.
Q: Okay, what else?
Stuff like that, my Rolex. I just got a new Louis Duffel, my first Damier so I’m kind of hype. I switch it up every day. I might not feel like wearing any luxury brands at all, I like to switch it up. It could be anything. I try not to box myself in so that if I want to try something new I don’t look too crazy.
If you could style your own shoot and bring your favorite pieces what would you bring?
I’m probably gonna bring a lot of accessories:
• Stainless Steel Rolex
• Gold rings
• Gold chain Chanel sunglasses
• LV Damier Duffel
• Stainless Cartier watch
• MCM Trench
• Ralph Lauren Turtlenecks
Is there a piece that you admire or feel like you have to have?
Yeah and I’ve been seeing it on a lot of real dudes too. I’ve been seeing people wearing this yellow Cuban Chain with diamonds in the Cuban. I really want one of those, bad. That’s the only thing I can say that I really want. I like stuff that you don’t really see a lot.