ComplexCon returns to Long Beach Nov. 6 - 7 with hosts J. Balvin and Kristen Noel Crawley, performances by A$AP Rocky and Turnstile, and more shopping and drops.
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So you’ve talked about before, that you hate fashion, love clothes. I loved the Gucci campaign with you, Rocky, and Iggy Pop. What made you say you wanted to work with Gucci? Why did it make sense for you?
Uh, I liked what Alessandro [Michele] was doing. When he came to Gucci, it just kind of lined up to what my taste was molding into. And I just loved how the photos and things were shot. It had, like, moments where it was like, oh, that’s some shit I would’ve done. So that’s why. Because, like, before that, I wasn’t really too much into Gucci. And I think it’s just because of the way that a lot of my peers wore it. It was just super gaudy and like, “Oh, I got on Gucci.” But it’s like, “Hey that piece isn’t even good. You’re just wearing it just so people could be like, ‘Oh, he got on Gucci.’” So I was always like, eh, that’s not the shit. But when Alessandro got there, I started noticing, like, this is good and this is in line with what I want to wear. And then Rocky had a relationship with them, and that’s my boy. So I was like, hell yeah, I’ll do something with my bro and Iggy Pop. Right before I went onstage for the Grammys—like, literally, like, “All right, Tyler, you got to walk onstage”—I was listening to “Shake Appeal” by The Stooges. That song by The Stooges is one of my favorite things. It always got me amped, so doing something with Iggy Pop was like, “Yoooooo!”
I know you are a fan of Old Céline under Phoebe Philo. How are you feeling about her returning with a namesake brand?
I literally saw that the day before yesterday. I thought that was ill. I really liked so many random Céline pieces from when she was there that people wouldn’t know were Céline. Like I have these bright green pants and people always thought were, like, work Dickies, but they were actually women’s Céline pants. I just got the biggest pair. And, like, so many bags. So much random shit from her that I’ve always liked. So I’m interested to see like what she does. Um, she’s tight.
You said on the “Blessed” interlude or song that you have a new store coming. Is that true?
I hope. That’s one of my goals at some point.
I’m assuming that you opened your store to be kind of like a community spot where like-minded people can hang out. But it seems to have turned into a tourist destination. How do you feel about that?
Yeah. I wanted it to be like the ill hangout spot. But a lot of these kids are fucking weirdos and don’t know how to, like, talk or, like, social cues and it sucks. Because I had the ill books in there. And I had a projector in there that I never pulled down because some people will, like… just be weird. But it is a tourist place, and I don’t allow pictures in there because I do like the idea of people going in there and, like, not knowing what it looks like and, like, being like, “Oh wow, this is it,” instead of already having a reference point of it.
And I have to ask about the BET Award performance because it was so amazing. Can you talk about that? Are you able to say your thought process behind it?
I was so hype to perform at the BET Awards. Like, I don’t think people understand, dude. Having Durk and Lil Baby and Styles P just tell me how good the performance was meant a lot. I just never felt like my style of music would ever have been, not even appreciated, but allowed on there. And because of that, I would mock it. It was like a defense mechanism because I felt like I wasn’t accepted by that audience. But when they asked me this year, man, I was enthralled. I was so happy.
So I was like, I didn’t want to do anything good or bad. I just wanted to do something that had people say, “What the fuck was that?” whether they liked it or not. And, um, I think I did that and I was like, man, I have to perform, like, one of my hardest rap songs on there. ’Cause that, that channel taught me how to rap. It taught me about just all the stuff I know. So, man, shoutout to the BET team. ’Cause they were awesome. They were great. We got a bunch of calls and they were just so cool. And especially being, like, after the pandemic, man, they really handled that show very well.
How was the response to it?
So I’m at this spot called Naturewell and I’m chillin’. And, like, this super-gay older Black dude with his two dogs and his purple shirt, he walked up to me. He was like, “Yo, Tyler?” And I was like, “Oh yeah, what up, bro?” And he was like, “Man, that BET performance was amazing. You don’t know how important that was. People think that when you do a performance with a concept or at a level like that, that it has to be for the Billboard Awards. It has to be for the Grammys. But when they go to BET, they think that they have to tone it down and make it cheap.” Then he told me that he was so happy that I did something like that at a place like that, where it doesn’t get the same respect as other places. And, man, my eyes started watering when he said that. Because I was like, man, you got this older Black guy, whose reference point of not even just BET, but of music, is older than me.
The guy was 60 and has probably been tuned into music since he was 13. This man was alive when In Living Color was new. Like, was alive when D’Angelo put out his first album. He’s seen these changes of just art. So for him to see me do something, and for him to hold it that high and feel like, “Oh my God, yes, this is as good as stuff that’s in my bowl of reference for good art or good music or a good performance.” Like, he would see Michael Jackson or Janet Jackson do things. That shit meant a lot. But if a 20-year-old told me it was good. I’d be like, “Sick, thank you.” But, man, this dude was, like, 60 and has lived a life. That shit meant a lot. So I was happy that if everyone hated that performance, at least it cut through to one person to see how ill that performance was.