Photo credit: David Morrison
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I've long been an admirer of the designer Anwar Carrots, both his very direct style and the way he moves through the industry. We wanted to have a conversation about fashion and hip hop, specifically, about how people interact with hip hop through design, through street wear, like how it is on the ground instead of in the clouds.
In this interview, you'll hear Anwar thinking about quality, how to make quality affordable, and why it matters to him that regular people be able to, as he says "get fly within their budget." So we spoke to him about the route he's taken to make his dreams a reality.
ANWAR CARROTS: And hey, I’m Anwar Carrots.
FRANNIE KELLEY: Yes!
ALI SHAHEED MUHAMMAD: What up, Anwar Carrots?
ANWAR CARROTS: It’s a blessing to be in this environment with you guys.
FRANNIE: Aw, thank you.
ALI: I wish the people could get a visual cause you got the Carrots bag on your knee. Need that in this.
ANWAR CARROTS: Honestly, these are gifts.
ANWAR CARROTS: I came bearing gifts.
FRANNIE: Shit, I was hoping.
ANWAR CARROTS: So I figured something you would use would be like a water bottle.
ALI: Oh that’s official. That’s pretty dope.
ANWAR CARROTS: My little friend here –
ALI: Hold on. Where can we –
ANWAR CARROTS: – to accompany you, and you as well.
ALI: Where can one find these little gifts if they’re in the gift-giving mood?
ANWAR CARROTS: Oh. Anwarcarrots.com and select retailers around the world.
ALI: Yo, this pin is the ultimate, though.
ANWAR CARROTS: This is for you.
FRANNIE: Yo, thank you so much.
ANWAR CARROTS: You're welcome.
ALI: This pin is – this is the business right here.
FRANNIE: I love the material.
ANWAR CARROTS: Thank you. Yeah my boy, out in Japan, he drew that. His name’s Verde.
ALI: That's dope.
ANWAR CARROTS: Ah man, all you need to come through bearing gifts, man, all these musicians with merch. Y'all need to come through, bless these people with your merch, man.
ALI: It’s all good. Thank you. How did you get into making these products?
ANWAR CARROTS: The merchandise itself?
ANWAR CARROTS: Like so, I actually moved out to Los Angeles when I was 14 from the Virgin Islands, like, my family and stuff.
ALI: Which island?
ANWAR CARROTS: Saint Thomas.
ALI: Ooh, OK.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah, so like, my dad’s side of family, so like my grandmother’s fam – all my family is from Saint John, but we lived on Saint Thomas and stuff. So I used to go back and forth on the ferry. But my dad, he actually started screen-printing t-shirts out here. Like, he got into the whole thing with this Russian cat or whatever. But within that time of us moving here, my parents actually having to break apart, so my dad went back to the Islands, but that stuck with me once he left. And then –
FRANNIE: What type of images was he putting on?
ANWAR CARROTS: Honestly, my dad’s a real enlightened, like, being per se. So these t-shirts, the brand was going to be called Prosperity, but like a t-shirt, but Prosperity. So he had like Star of Davids that just said “prosperity” in Hebrew writing. T-shirt had just like spiritual meanings to them. So pretty much even if you’re just looking at it, you get a blessing from it so you don’t have to know what it means. That’s what my dad’s whole – so he was making those, so I saw that and said, “Ah, this is dope.” So I was wearing them in high school, like in ninth grade and stuff.
So my next year after that when I turned 15, I went walking around my area, just to know my vicinity, just Los Angeles. I used to go to L.A. High. So I walked from L.A. High to La Brea and 1st Street. So this is when I got introduced to like Undefeated and stuff like that. So I was being curious, just like, “Oh, what’s this? Oh shit. I ain’t never seen nothing like this before. I never seen a shoe store like this.” So I walked in the shoe store. It's different kind of sneakers I’d never seen before. So I was just like intrigued.
So it went from that to right next door was the Stüssy store. I didn’t know about Stüssy at the time. This was 2004 – 2005, actually. I was 15. So it’s like, “Yo. This shit's dope. I need to check this out.” So I took a sticker or whatever, a business card, so I could just, like, research when I got home. A little bit more up, I started walking up a little bit more to this store called Union. I know they had one back in New York at the time.
ANWAR CARROTS: But out here it was the Union L.A., so I got introduced – well I introduced myself pretty much. I walked in the store and was like, “What is this shit?” I was like, “Yo, my name’s Anwar. I go to L.A. High. I just moved out here,” or whatever. So there’s this guy, Chris Gibbs, who runs the shop. So I met Chris, and there was another cat in there, Pete. So the only reason I knew I went in to that shop was for – I was into Bathing Ape. I was into Nigo. I was into that old Pharrell shit. That’s what got me into that side of things, on my own.
But yeah, I sat down in there after school and was just like, “Yo! What is this? Like, all I know about is Bape, cause I came in here to come look at the Bape stuff.” Cause I couldn’t afford it, so it was just to be around it and touch it in the physical form. It was just like, “Yo, I need to be around this type of stuff.”
But the downstairs had all these different brands from King Stampede out in New York, your Red Clays, Lemar and Dauley, Rogue Status. It was just all these different ill brands, so I’m just like, “Yo, what is this? What is this considered?” He’s like, “This is what we call streetwear. This is part of the whole streetwear culture.” I was like, “Alright.” And I remember I seen a pair of shoes up there. They were these Union 180s, like Nike 180s. I was like, “Yo, those are hard.”
ALI: I never saw those.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah. I was like, “Yo, these are fire". Like, "What is it?" He’s like, “Yeah, that’s my shoe.” I’m like, “That’s your shoe? What do you mean that’s your shoe?” I’ve never seen anything like that, so they would just put me up on game.
I would go there everyday. I would work at this shop on Crenshaw and Washington, selling white tees at this female, boutique-type shops. I’d save up my money and shit. I'd go back – every Friday, I’d go there and buy a t-shirt. Tee’s at that point was like $40 a t-shirt, and it was mad unique how they had it set up in the stores. They used to set the tee’s on these cardboards to where it looked like a vinyl, so it looks like you going through vinyls, but it’s just all t-shirt graphics. So I’d just like look for a tee that caught my eye or something that I can like relate to.
So, pretty much from 2005 is when I got into it, and then from there on – 2006, I remember I got cast for this Stüssy lookbook, so it was just like, things were coming back full circle for me, and like, I guess putting it out there for the universe or whatever. So I got booked for that. Peanut Butter Wolf was a part of it. Erin Wasson, like people I didn’t even know at that time, but it was like, I met these folks, and they was mad cool towards me and everything, just mad down-to-earth people that I got to know who they were later on. I was like, “Oh shit.”
But then in 2007, like me saying Rogue Status, I saw this in a store, it was this hoodie with like all these guns all over it. I’d never seen nothing like that. The quality of the hoodie was fire, so I was just like, “Yo, I want to know about this.” My step-dad now, he happened to work for the guy who – not worked for the guy. He worked with the dude that was the manager of the brand at the time, on the set of E.R. Cause my stepdad, he’s like head coordinator for hair and makeup for a lot of movies. He’s been in this thing for like 25 years or whatever.
FRANNIE: So this was when E.R. was still on TV?
ANWAR CARROTS: This was when E.R. was still on TV.
ANWAR CARROTS: So he told – Jasper Watts is his name. He told Jasper, he was like, “Yo. My real son, he’s into the whole streetwear thing, the graphics. I remember you telling me about this. Like, you should sit down with him and see if you could use him for anything.” He’s like, “For sure.” I went to their headquarters out in Abbot Kinney in Venice. Again, something I’d never seen before. I was like, “Yo, this is tight.” Like, whole crib – this was at the same point in time they was pushing merchandise out the crib and stuff. But it was well laid out. The crib was nice.
I’m like, “Yo, this is nice. I want something like this.” Not knowing that it gets bigger than what this is later, but I was like, “Yo.” At the time to be 15, 16, 17, I was like, “I want this.” So they was like, “Yo, so what are you in to?” Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." And then I was like, “This is what I’m in to, but forget about me. What is this? Like, I’m here for a reason. I want to know what is this about.”
So they put me on to, like, the whole Rogue Status statement, like, what a brand is and how they came up with the name and how they come up with their graphics, their ideas, who does their graphic work, their art director, your creative director, your sales manager, your brand manager, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So they put me on all that stuff at like 16, 17.
ALI: Was this like a one time sitting or was this like a repeat?
ANWAR CARROTS: This was one time sitting for the Rogue Status thing. I was there for like a good three or four hours. It was, like, nighttime. I remember after that I went to a party with the homies or whatever.
FRANNIE: You had to shake it off.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah. So, probably like two or three, three or four months went by, and then they were starting to work on the store. So once I got to meet them, I started looking at blog. I got to figure out what a blog was. So it’s like, “Yo! I need to get one of these.” Like, I’m seeing these bigger cats doing shit like this, like, “Yo, I need to get a blog."
And I started knowing about other brands, like The Hundreds. The Hundreds ended up being a staple Los Angeles brand, so I used to go there every time, cause I was into wordmark T-shirts that just pretty much repped the brand. It just said The Hundreds on it. It had the address. I was like, “Yo. This is some real L.A. shit. It’s an L.A. address on it. I want that shirt.” So I used to go there also and buy those shirts.
It was this particular day though they put out this New Era hat. It was like a big ass bomb on the side of the hat. This was like a $70 New Era fitted at the time. I was just like, “Yo, I’ma still cop.” I bought it. Soon as I bought it and walked out, Jasper called my phone like, “Yo, let me just finish building out this spot. You think you – do you need a job or anything?” I was like, “Do I need a job?” I was like, “Yeah, I got a job at the point. This Crenshaw shit. But I’m trying to be into this.” So I left the job I was at, and I started working for them for like two years.
FRANNIE: What did you do for them?
ANWAR CARROTS: I was just running the shop, pretty much learning how to run a retail business, and meeting a whole bunch of different new people, putting the gear on certain people. Pretty much got it known within the city, cause I was in the whole inner-city pool, just like prep gangs and just being known throughout the city. Like all my homies, homegirls, whatever, I used to give everybody t-shirts. Like, “Yo, y'all put this on. Wear this shit.” And anytime you went to a party somebody got on Rogue or a gang of people got on Rogue, so it was like a whole bunch of people coming in the shop, spending money.
ALI: Just catching on.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah. So I got known off of that. And from there, being at the shop, I ended up – like, popularity, people knowing me. I had my blog going, so it’s like pretty much my taste, stuff that I like at that point in time.
When kids had blogs – this was a trendy thing – kids would pretty much repost what was on the major blog we was looking at and post the same shit. I’m like, “Yo. Why would I look at your blog when I can go look at that.” It’s like, "You’re not telling me anything about yourself through this blog. You just reposting everybody else’s stuff."
So what I would do, I would take pictures of whatever items that I liked from any collection or brand that I liked. So I’d just take a certain item and put it on on my blog and just highlight it. Like, "Yo, this is what I want. I want to cop it but, shit, I ain’t got no bread right now.” I would just be honest about it and just tell people what I like, post pictures of my everyday, shit I was doing around the city after school, at school, parties, concerts. Kids caught wind of it. Music, mainly the music thing, I’d post random ass songs and videos that I like. A lot of Southern shit cause I grew up down south as well. I lived in Orlando for 11 years.
So just like a lot of that type of stuff, and then kids caught wind of it, and there was this one particular kid at the time, this artist named Casey Veggies. He was 13 at the time. He was like, “Yo. I want to meet you or whatever. I like your blog. I like what you’re doing.” So I met up with him at his middle school. He was in middle school at the time. I remember me and my homies went to go meet up with him while we were in high school. Sat down with him, just kicking it. He started rapping to us. It’s like, “What? You rap? I thought you were just a regular kid or whatever.” So he just started rapping for us, and it’s like, “I mean, it ain’t bad. You can get better. Keep it going.”
I remember that whole summer, I guess, he just stuck to the rap shit. He came at us one time. He did this joint called “The Cool” off a MF Doom beat. And it ain’t half bad. Like, "This shit could be hot.” So I just started – I would put his music on my blog and mix with everything else I was doing. So just like – just throw it in there and not mash the people in their face, and we ended up just growing up together, just being cool together.
Yeah. From there I was still working at the shop. I got fired, just doing dumb shit at the shop. I got too comfortable pretty much. Like, he’s like, “The shop isn’t yours.” But I feel like that whole thing was a lesson pretty much. Like, there’s more to life than just being at retail. I remember he told some kid that. Some kid told me, he was like, “Yo, he told me he fired you just to show you that there’s more to life than retail.” I kind of do thank him for that.
At the same time, but at that point, I remember when I got fired, I said to myself, like – I was 19. I was like, "I will never get fired again. I don’t know what I got to do or how I’ma do this, but I need to be in a place to where I run my own shit. I can’t get fired. I don’t want to get fired." I didn’t like the feeling. It was a heartbreaking feeling. I’ve never been fired before.
But, back to the music thing, I got associated with a lot of dudes in the music industry, just rappers, just based off me working at the shop. And then I took that and parlayed it with the Casey thing. So my blog at the time was called Peas & Carrots. It was me, my boy Josh, ended up basically labeling him as Peas. So he was Josh Peas. And then Casey was like – “Yo, you be the Veggies, cause you encompass everything.” It’s just like, music and fashion go hand and hand. But I didn’t have a brand at the time, but it was like, yo, I know I’m going to do something with it.
FRANNIE: What was Josh’s role at this time?
ANWAR CARROTS: Josh’s role at the time, Josh, he’s really into music. Like, my man has every Source magazine that ever came out – and we’re the same age. So pretty much, he collects all the magazines. He loves rap memorabilia. He studies rap, head to toe. Like, he’s into that. Me, I was into clothes. Like, I like rap for what it is. I love to listen to music and stuff like that. So that was my whole thing.
I love aesthetic. I know how to bring two things and make it in one. So it’s like, “Okay. This works. You deal with the music stuff. Let me deal with the creative shit. And then boom, you just focus on your music.” So that’s why our logo is a triangle with a pea and a carrot in it, so it’s just like a trifecta.
So it went from that to – I’m gonna skip a bit. That was 19, 20, 21. I would say 20, 21, during that whole time, I was like, “Yo, let’s just focus on this Peas & Carrots and this music shit. Like, you do your rap.” Casey ended up putting out his Customized Greatly Volume 2. He put out Sleeping In Class during that time.
FRANNIE: Can we talk about what else is happening in hip-hop at that time?
ANWAR CARROTS: Hip-hop at that time –
FRANNIE: And also what streetwear was then?
ANWAR CARROTS: Ooh. I got you. So what? This is 2011, 2000 – 2010, 2011. Around that time streetwear was, for me and my circle, it was like Freshjive, wild tees that were just super anti- – just everything was just so anti- and kind of negative. I wasn’t really for that so like, I always believed you are what you wear. People see you in a certain thing, they start judging you based off of what you wearing. So it’s like, "Yo, I can’t wear none of this weird shit, but I dig it! I get it! But it’s not for me."
So that was Freshjive. Reserve. That was on Fairfax. That was Tyler and them. Tyler and them used to kick it at the Reserve shop. Around that time I was working at FourTwoFour. FourTwoFour now is like the high-end, contemporary street fashion/high-end shop on Fairfax that’s like streetwear meets high fashion. So like, A$AP Rocky pretty much blew that spot up. But at that time it was Reserve.
Music at that time, on the West Coast, that’s your Dom Kennedys, my man Carter at the time, Pac Div. It was real Los Angeles local, from what I was paying attention to. Like, other stuff on other coasts, it wasn’t really – I’m trying to think. What was going on at that time on the other side? I wasn’t really paying attention to what was going on the other side, so it was like what was in front of me.
ALI: That's fair.
FRANNIE: Well the funny thing was the West Coast wasn’t really penetrating the East Coast at that time either. It was about to.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah, but in the West Coast we were penetrating. Like, we had – I remember a time that we would do random ass shows at houses, and house parties be cracking. Everybody know the songs and stuff like that. Or we’ll go to a random Dom show in, like, Pomona, something like that, some shit people don’t even know about. It was super underground at that time. It was popping. It was a lot of L.A. rappers going on around 2008, 2010, 2011, for me, more so.
And I was the centerpiece of everything. Like, I knew everybody who was rapping. Everybody fucked with me, so it was just one of those things that was like, “Yo, let me connect you with him. Let me connect you with him. Let me connect you with him.” I’m like the connector. So that was my little role, but I never looked at it as a role. It was just me being a good person. Like, “Yo, I can see you guys doing something together.” Like, I never wanted anything out of that stuff.
But streetwear was, yeah, like – everything was super L.A. for me. Cause when I moved here, my whole goal was to penetrate the culture, to understand Los Angeles as a whole, like from gang banging to fashion – I guess the Hollywood scene. Like, “What is this? What is this? What everybody ramped and raved about moving here for?" So, I indulged myself in that.
Yeah, 2010, music. As well in our world, this was like when Mac Miller was starting to come up. I used to blog about Mac Miller. I was cool with Rich Hil at the time. This was Tommy’s Hilfiger’s son. I remember I blogged – I literally said, I was like, “Yo, this is – it’s like Mac Miller sound like Rich Hil if he was a rapper.” Cause Rich Hil wasn’t doing rap at that time. For some reason, some way some how, they reached out to me. Like, Mac’s manager Cue, his boy, like they do, remember, music together, he reached out to me, just like, “Yo! Take down my number. Let’s get up.” I was like, “Alright. Whatever.”
So I called them, and this time – I forgot what tape. It was a tape before his Blue Slide Park album that came out. So this is like right when he just took off. So he ended up just like, “Yo. Like, I fuck with your blog, and I fuck with what y’all doin’. Blah, blah, blah. Let’s get Casey on a tour with Mac and shit like that.” I was like, “OK. Hell yeah.”
So that was our first exposure to, like, being on the road. This was 2011. Never been on the road before. These are like his first shows. We were on tour for like three months. He did his first three month tour.
ALI: Was it just a U.S. tour? Or was it –
ANWAR CARROTS: It was all U.S.
ALI: All U.S.
ANWAR CARROTS: All U.S. And these were totally different markets, cause it wasn’t a rap market. It’s Mac Miller, so it’s like, yo, we saw different parts of the U.S. that we never even thought we would go to. This is my first time making a t-shirt, so we just did the logo tee’s in three different colors: black, white, and grey.
ALI: Did you learn anything from being on that tour?
ANWAR CARROTS: What? Did I. Like, being on tour for me was a lot of solitude. To me, like my personal, I would be by myself a lot, cause I’m at the merch table. Casey on stage. Josh backstage. I’m just taking care of this. So it was just a lot of just thinking to myself and seeing where this could go. It was just a lot of just, I guess, prophesizing.
I would just sit there and like, “Yo. This could us one day." You know what I mean? "I don’t even have to be at the merch table no more probably. It’s like, our merch could get bigger. We could be hitting these same routes, have the same cult following that he had." Well has. Not even had, it’s just what he has. Just like, yo, traveling just broadened my mind more. Meeting new people.
FRANNIE: Did anything about his audience – did that affect your thinking at all?
ANWAR CARROTS: Oh it was – it was all white people, so I was like, "I’ve never seen that before." And it was a rap show. And it was funny because a lot of them don’t know who Casey were, but a lot of people did know. Like, he had his little few that was like, “Yo Casey, we fucked with you since Tyler did your first cover on your first mixtape, and you had those songs, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah." Stuff like that. I'm like, yo – I’m like, "We could be on our way. This could be crazy."
Literally after we got back from tour, shit did slow down, so I ended up getting that job at FourTwoFour or whatever. But stuff started picking up. We started doing more and more stuff. Shit just got crazy, started inching up, step by step by step. And then Customized Greatly 3 came out. He put that tape out around that time.
That’s when I had this dude who had a denim brand at the time called Twelve Bar. He came to me and was like, “Yo. I believe in what you guys are doing. I want to help you guys out with your brand.” I’m just like, “I don’t really have a brand, but if you gon’ help me, shit, I can make one for sure. I got a lot of stuff in my head.” He’s just like, “Yeah.”
So, it went from that to the clothing started working, the music started working. Customized Greatly 3 came out. Label's started attacking. We started visiting different labels. Me personally, I wasn’t into that, but that’s where Josh came in. He loved that shit, so he would coordinate with all the labels. We’d go sit down and meet with them. It was just crazy.
Like, walk in, and it's like, seeing people I had seen when I was a kid on TV and shit like that, like execs. I was like, “Yo!” I was like, “I remember watching you on" – and they be like, “Oh, this is – how old are you?” And I was like, “Shit, I’m 21. Born in 1990." They were like, “Phew. Whoa.” I’m like, “Yeah.”
So it went from clothing working, music working. We ended up getting a deal with Epic Records. We were supposed to end up getting a label deal after that, through that. We got a co-management deal with Peas & Carrots International with Roc Nation. I ended up getting a Puma deal. I did my own shoe as well. Casey had a Puma Ambassador deal. Stuff started going. We opened a store.
FRANNIE: Can we go back like one second?
ANWAR CARROTS: Let’s go backwards.
FRANNIE: To you talking about the big names, names you recognized from whatever. Who are we talking about? So Casey met with Jay for the Roc Nation deal.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah. Oh, first time we went, we didn’t meet with Jay. But I would say before the Roc Nation thing, I'd say the Epic Record thing, like a Sylvia Rhone. I'm like, "Yo, you dealt with Cash Money. I grew up with – I’m a big Cash Money fan. I grew up on Cash Money when I was 9 years old." Like, I was a little boy watching Baller Blockin’, listening to Juvie, and I just seen you had a Juvenile shirt. I was like, yo, this is crazy. That album was, I would say, my childhood, but not my life. I was like, “Yo, I want to be that dude.” Looking up to him, white tees, “Back That Ass Up,” like, all that wild shit at that time.
This dude named Larry over at Interscope. I wouldn’t say he’s like an older one, but he was a new cat, and just telling me how he came up and people he done met like Jimmy Iovine. Meeting with – who’s my man at Epic? – Reid, L.A. Knowing his son, his son telling us different stories about what he been around. But mainly one was Sylvia Rhone. I rock with Sylvia Rhone to the death. She’s 100%. She’s dope. She’s a boss. Like, that’s a real boss. Get to it.
FRANNIE: It’s just funny. I really empathize with that feeling of being in the room suddenly with people that you’ve only ever seen on TV or whatever, and then being like – not only are you just there, you’re negotiating. You know, you’re on the same level.
ANWAR CARROTS: All that I can say is god put you in certain positions with certain people, and it’s just like, yo, who would have thought you could get in this position? There’s so many different people in the world that would die to even be in this office, that may even have a certain way better talent than the next person or whatever, but they just – I don’t know – they just never implement the work. So it’s more of a work factor that got us there.
FRANNIE: Yeah, yeah. And also, it doesn’t mean like, you’re looking for their faults or whatever, but it’s kind of like – it’s more uplifting for you than negative for them.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah. That’s why I even said – coming in here, like I’m walking through the door, I feel Saadiq sitting there. I come in. I’m sitting here with you, talking to you. It’s like, yo, it’s a blessing to even be here amongst people who put in hard work and dedication. I don’t even know what y'all went through really, really. You know what I mean? Everybody just see what you see. It’s like, if anything I tip my hat off and just pay my respect.
But that’s how it was when I was amongst those people. I was like, you could feel it. It was like, yo, y'all been through a lot of shit. And then it’s like, man, I’ve been through a lot of shit and I’m barely even in it. But all I can say from that whole experience with the Peas & Carrots thing – I don’t even want to elaborate more from that – all I can say is like, he went off to do his own thing. I left the brand alone. I’ve just figured, like, OK. It’s best I go do my own thing.
FRANNIE: Meaning Casey, or meaning Josh?
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah, Casey.
FRANNIE: So Casey went off to do his own thing.
ANWAR CARROTS: And Josh, as well. Josh is doing his own thing. He got Ain’t Shit Funny. Yeah, it was a time to where I had to leave and go do my own thing. He got to go do his own thing. You got to go do your own thing.
ALI: After all of that, and moving forward doing your own thing, at any given time during this whole process – cause it sound like it happened so fast, but maybe parts of it didn’t. It’s like, you know, ten years ago, your journey almost, right?
ANWAR CARROTS: Pretty much.
ALI: At any given point did you sit out and write out what your next steps were, especially from that sort of apprenticeship with Rogue? No?
ANWAR CARROTS: I’m gonna be one thousand with you. No.
ANWAR CARROTS: I just knew that I was like, “Yo, I want to do this. So I’m sticking to it." More so like a write out plan for what was next, literally when I said I was done with the P & C thing to go do my own shit, I had this opportunity to do my own stuff. Just like, yo, Scion had reached out to me. They was like, “Yo, we want to do this gallery/retail experience with you.” I was just like, “Well, I’m in the transition phase at the moment.” It’s like, “OK. How about you just debut it here?” I was like, "Whoa."
So I didn’t have no time to like sit down and write something. I just literally got out of bed and rolled into the next one to go do my own – literally like a month or two later. So I was busy working on Carrots now. It’s like, OK, I don’t have no time to like sit here and dwell. I did have time where I was just, like, sad, depressed. Like, shit. Whatever.
But I didn’t have time for it, so, shit, it was either – it’s now or never I guess. So it’s like, let me do this. Let me seize this opportunity. And literally from there it was just like, yeah, there’s no time to think about this. Let’s just keep going. So now, like right now, I’m going. Things are still going. It’s just like, I started this pretty much a year from now.
ANWAR CARROTS: So a plan-out was just like, nah. I just know that this is what I want to do. I want to make essential goods, pretty much. I want it to go from clothing to essential goods. I always told people – people are like, "If you took two creatives that pretty much made you, who would it be?" I always say I wanted to be Martha Stewart and Nigo put together. So it’s just like, you got a taste level, but a woman who also has essentials that are in Target. It’s very affordable.
So I want to bring the two worlds together. So I really want to be affordable for people, but give them nice shit as well. For the people in the beginning who bought the stuff at the certain price rate, like “Yo, I remember when such and such was this cost, and now he doing shit for Target. It’s big, and it’s still the same quality, and it still look the same from when he first started.” So that’s my whole – I guess that’s my plan.
So that's always been my thing from the get-go anyways, so it never switched up. My vision never switched up. So I guess my plan was already set from when I started my blog. It’s just now it’s in a physical form to where I can actually produce the same things that I wanted to buy off of Hype Beast and now I’m on Hype Beast and shit like that. So maybe some kid probably doing the same thing with my stuff. Like, “Yo, let me pull this, put this on my blog. It’s a random hoodie. Like I want this hoodie, but I can’t afford it right now.” I see it on Twitter all the time, so I’m like, “Yo. I’m not crazy.” Like, I know what’s going on.
ALI: Also at the time when you were getting started, it seemed like blogs were really forming and shaping the world and from, you know, culture, music culture specifically, and even art. And it sort of died off a little bit, unless you’ve established yourself. If you established yourself then you riding, you straight, but in terms of just the surge and the effect that that had on culture, what do you see as the budding, sort of, version of that now?
ANWAR CARROTS: Honestly, it’s like everything. Everything just, I would say, evolved, but it stays the same. Right now is a open lane for new blogs, cause it like – my favorite blog used to be Highsnobiety and Hype Beast. They’re sold now. Complex, they’re sold. So these is like – they getting money. So it’s time for, like, new young boy to come up with a new way to express what’s out, but in a different form. It’s just like, being more creative, but it’s nothing new under the sun. It’s just way better, I guess.
ALI: Just wondering what is that now bubbling –
ANWAR CARROTS: That now bubbling like the –
FRANNIE: I think it’s Instagram, and it’s collabs.
ANWAR CARROTS: It’s pretty much all the same. It's just outlets. It’s like, yeah, I guess different forms of outlets. But me, personally, I don’t like fucking –
ANWAR CARROTS: Those too. Yeah. I never hopped on the podcast wave, but I’m just one for tradition and shit. I don’t want to switch nothing up. Like, that’s just me. I grew up in a certain – seeing certain things, and that’s how I want to do it, just following footsteps of others pretty much. I don’t need to be that guy, like “I’m about to change the world.” I just want to make ill shit in a world that’s changed, I guess.
ALI: That’s dope.
FRANNIE: But I’m mentioning collabs because I feel like that has been a really smart way for you to move, and to sort of co-mingle followings kind of. How do you choose, though? Like how do you know who you will and won’t work with?
ANWAR CARROTS: Honestly, the collaboration thing, I'ma tell you two sides of it. For me personally, it’s just people I’m already cool with. So it’s like, I don’t care if you big, you small, if you the homie, you the homie. Let’s do something. It’s gon’ come out dope regardless, and just, like, see what happens.
The second thing: my girl told me as an artist you should be able to collaborate with whoever or whatever. If you’re an artist, you should be come out with dope stuff. So it's like, “You alright. You’re right. I never thought of it like that.” So me, it was just that, and then I ended up implementing what she said. I was like, “Alright. You right.” So y'all can damn – this candle over there. Collaborate with the candle company or something like that. You should be able to do you or whatever.
ALI: That’s a great perspective.
FRANNIE: Well I was thinking about like, you know – does H&M and does Target –
ANWAR CARROTS: Oh, I would love to. What?
FRANNIE: Yeah. Yeah.
ANWAR CARROTS: Those are the goals. Like, I don’t care about these little nice shops and shit like that. I’m in the world trying to have a business.
FRANNIE: Fuck Fairfax.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah, you know what I mean? I want a clothing business. You know what I mean? I want the big ass factories. I want the big offices with 200 staff.
ALI: So that’s why I’m just like, how do you get there, because you’ve done a lot, you know? And it’s like, I look at you, and I’m listening to your story, and I really admire your youth and your vision and your awareness of these surroundings, and to be able to even navigate in the sense of bringing people together, connecting people, and being able to build off of it. So you know, like where you are now – what are you? Twenty-five? Twenty-six?
ANWAR CARROTS: I’m 25, about to 26 in July.
ALI: Yeah, so I’m like, OK. And I’m doing this for my own perspective because at 25 we had already done three classic records, you know.
ANWAR CARROTS: See!
ALI: So it’s like, now I’m looking at you, I’m like, “OK. What’s the next phase?” I didn’t know what the next thing was going to be. I knew I still wanted to make music, and I was on the road of being in the environment to continue to build on that. But I’m just looking at you, and I’m wondering: OK, how do you get into H&M? What –
ANWAR CARROTS: I think it’s just two things for me. I don’t know. I look at everything simple. I’m a simple kind of guy. I have meet, focus, looking out the box. You box yourself in, you can’t even get to those places to reach those types of heights. So like, that’s why I’m just open to shit. Like whatever comes to me, if I feel like it’s right, there’s a feeling like yo, I need to take this and just seize it. But that’s how I feel it. It’s just focus.
It’s just like you said: you just wanted to deal with music, but you don’t know what’s gon’ be next. It’s just like, that was your focus. So that’s what my focus is: making goods. I don’t know where I’m going to end up. I just know I just still want to make clothes and make goods. So that’s all it is.
FRANNIE: So can you tell me like – tell me the difference between streetwear. Like, how would you define that word?
ANWAR CARROTS: To me, streetwear, this another thing too, being boxed in. Me personally, I don’t want to be boxed in to, “Oh, you’re streetwear.” Nah, I came up in the streetwear culture. I understood the culture of it. I knew the people who made the stuff and then –
FRANNIE: It’s kind of hard to say, right?
ANWAR CARROTS: And I’m a different – nah. It’s easy to say for me, but sometimes I don’t like – I don’t even like to talk to streetwear dudes about it.
This shit our culture, bro. They’re like, “This hip-hop.” Like, this shit came from y'all. Like, Malone, fucking Wu Wear, this Rocawear – I grew up on Rocawear. I grew up on State Property. I grew up on Sean John. I grew up on Fubu. Those are my inspirations. These are $350 million corporations. Like, who care about this little streetwear $10 million a year shit. Like, these niggas – he was making $350 a year. Jay was rapping about this shit. That was my real vision at the time.
So it’s just like, OK with the music and fashion, but my vision ain’t change. Look at Fubu. This man had his own label just based off of clothing. So all that stemmed from hip-hop. So if you look at all these streetwear brands, these is dudes that ain’t even come up like I came up or came up how you came up. Some people well off and just did this shit. It was like, “Oh, I’m inspired by hip-hop.” Fine, whatever. I’m not one to judge, but me personally, I come from this. This is part of my roots. This is what I grew up on. Like, I grew up in hip-hop shit. So, yeah, that’s my answer. Like, streetwear is hip-hop. Period.
ALI: Yeah, when you said Union, I instantly went to that logo.
ANWAR CARROTS: And that’s fucking Miles Davis, which is –
ALI: So, yeah.
ANWAR CARROTS: And speaking about it, you look at every look, everything’s derived from hip-hop. Lot of the inspired t-shirts, all hip-hop. Everything. I was at The Hundreds the other day. I was talking to Bobby Hundreds. So the pin I gave you, it was inspired by this other logo called Palm Boy. It’s this brand out of Japan called Devilock I used to look up to cause – anybody that was cool with Nigo, I just paid attention to that type of shit. Like, I’m into the whole Japanese culture as well, so I pay attention to that.
But he told me what a Devilock is. I’m like, “What’s a Devilock?” He was like, “Oh. A devilock is – I don’t know if you’ve ever seen the punk dudes, they have that just one lock in front of their face? It’s called a devilock.” “Oh, so you mean like a loc? A dreadlock.” He’s like, “Pretty much.” I was like, “Oh, so everything just stems back to part of my culture man.” So it’s like, that’s it. Streetwear is hip-hop.
FRANNIE: Yeah. Thank you. This is why we wanted to have you on, and why it makes sense for us to talk to you, we think. But yeah, it feels to me like streetwear has become – the definition has gotten so broad that it is a little bit meaningless.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah. I’m a simple dude. It’s the simple – where it’s at and what it is, it is hip-hop. Period. Point blank. Like, it will never be anything else. It derived from hip-hop. It derived from – it was urban wear – before we were just urban. So now it’s streetwear cause you wear it out in the street. But then again, what is – let me ask you, what is streetwear? It’s clothes you wear in the street. It can be two things, but culture-wise, it came from hip-hop. Streetwear ain’t nothing but clothes you wear outside. You got on streetwear.
FRANNIE: Just no buttons. Oh, OK.
ANWAR CARROTS: Buttons can be streetwear, too. It ain’t nothing but a henley. You put a graphic on there now, "Oh, it’s streetwear." It’s like, nah, man. It’s clothes. It’s shit you wear in the street.
FRANNIE: OK. So, I want to sort of use this to get into questions of how people use what they wear to broadcast how they think of themselves, into the world. So it’s kind of question about taste – which I also feel is a bullshit word – but also I think it comes back to class, kind of what you can afford, what you aspire to, what you think signifies that. So my question would be – I guess my question is, how would you feel if somebody was using your apparel to appear aspirational in some way.
ANWAR CARROTS: I’d feel blessed, cause that’s part of my journey as well.
FRANNIE: Yeah. It is. OK.
ANWAR CARROTS: That’s why I want to take where it’s – how do you get to that platform to where it’s like, oh you have this 200 – once you get bigger, the stuff gets more cheaper.
ANWAR CARROTS: I’m getting money. It's just like, yeah, bring that price down. Let these people get fly. That’s how I look at it. It’s like, “Yo, you trying to be fly at an affordable price. I can’t mark my jacket up – $1000 jacket." It’s some kid in the hood that want that $1000 jacket and can’t afford it.
So it’s like, I want to make that same jacket, the same quality, not even – $150, $200. I know it’s still got to be a little pricey, but shit, he can aspire to get $150. 200 bucks. Like, it could happen. $1000? Maybe that’s too much. That’s somebody’s rent. It’s just crazy.
FRANNIE: Yeah, it's not right.
ANWAR CARROTS: Just for the majority of the world – like, I think about the world when I think about my stuff. So I’m not thinking of a class of certain people or like this niche or this person. Or, “Oh, this is for this person.” My shit for everybody.
FRANNIE: How would you feel if you saw your apparel on somebody that you didn’t fuck with? Just, like, on sight.
ANWAR CARROTS: I’m not that person. My clothing ain’t me. It came from me, but it’s cotton at the end of the day. You paid your money. I respect you for that. Now I fuck with you.
FRANNIE: You made one right decision.
ANWAR CARROTS: It was probably in the past. I’ma let it go. I appreciate you for rocking with me, cause you didn’t have to rock with me. That’s how I look at it.
FRANNIE: Is there any type of sort of fashion move that you don’t think is right? That is a little bit corny.
ANWAR CARROTS: I honestly just wasn’t into all the zippers that was going on. I’m not Balmain jean-type. I like straight, just regular – just jeans. I don’t like biker jeans. I feel like they’re called biker jeans for a reason. You put those to use. Like if you’re a real biker, biking in Balmain’s, I respect the shit out of you cause you’re putting them to use. It's like a function. But me personally, I’m just not into biker jeans, so I wasn’t into all the zippers, and zippers down here, and they come in sweatpants.
FRANNIE: Also, it hurts kids. Have you ever picked up a little kid and you have a bunch of zippers on? I’m telling you.
ANWAR CARROTS: I’m sure.
FRANNIE: You need to be careful. Think about it. I mean, I guess that maybe what you are saying about – is functionality important to you, I guess?
ANWAR CARROTS: Very.
FRANNIE: OK. It seems that way. Cause all – the things you gave us today are very immediately useful.
ANWAR CARROTS: They’re functional. But then again, essential.
ANWAR CARROTS: That’s how I look at it. You need a bag.
FRANNIE: I do.
ANWAR CARROTS: A lot of women carry purses, put something in it. It’s a water bottle. Who doesn’t drink anything? Or who doesn’t need water in this world? It’s essential. But everything goes back and stems from the t-shirts, so I never stop with the t-shirt thing.
But yeah, my whole goal is essentials. Candles, chairs. Shit, if I ever get into works with people who actually make soundboards, I can do my own soundboard, just like my color scheme or whatever like that. And work with somebody who knows this shit and just tweak it.
And that goes back into education for me, too. Like, I would like to work with stuff I don’t know about. Just put my flair on it, but then again I get indulged into a whole other world. So that’s a whole other culture.
FRANNIE: Keeps you young. Learn something.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah. Always can learn something. Never stop.
FRANNIE: OK, so I have a question, and this is a thing that I feel very uncomfortable with, but I think it’s partly my age or whatever. I don’t really understand the word “brand,” and it immediately makes me a little bit – where like I feel like somebody’s trying to take money unfairly somewhere in the line.
ANWAR CARROTS: I can express my view on brand. I’d tell somebody like, there’s a difference between a clothing brand and a clothing line to me. Like a clothing line may not have a face. It may not have a lifestyle to it. It may not have this certain artist connected to it. It may not have sports connected to it. It's just clothes, just like Charlotte Russe or something like that. You just go in there. You don’t know who Charlotte Russe is. I’ve never seen Charlotte Russe. You just go in there to go buy clothes. Like, Black House White Market or something like that. You’re just buying clothes. It’s a clothing line.
Clothing brand is something you identify with, like a Nike, or I have on Brooks today. It’s something you identify with.
FRANNIE: Like, you feel fine representing that idea.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah. Carrots. Something you identify with. I mean, then again, that could be a clothing line or brand at the same time cause it’s like, everybody knows what a carrot is, but it’s attached to me, so it’s like, “Yo. I’m buying into this brand.” So I actually sit in the middle. Thank god.
FRANNIE: OK, here are two other words – three other words – that make me feel uncomfortable. Influencer. Ambassador.
ANWAR CARROTS: And tastemaker?
FRANNIE: Lifestyle Artist.
ANWAR CARROTS: Oh.
FRANNIE: Tastemaker! You’re right. My bad.
ANWAR CARROTS: I mean, if you are that, you are that. And if you have to label that to get a check, do what you got to do. That’s how I look at it. So shit, yeah, I’m an influencer. I’m a tastemaker. Send that check this way. Brand advisor, ambassador, whatever. Hey, I look at it like that, but if you just out here just claiming that, I mean just live up to what you claiming. I have no problem with somebody, even if you – say you on the Internet and you got one follower, shit, you influencing somebody. Somebody following you. Like, shit. They care about something you doing if they listening to you.
FRANNIE: OK, well I feel a lot better, cause when I hear about these things and I read about these things, I feel a little bit sad.
ANWAR CARROTS: It comes off corny, but a majority of the time when it comes off corny, it is what it is. You can’t fight it. It’s just labeling stuff. You got to – we live in a world of labeling things. Things have to be labeled. So it is what it is.
FRANNIE: OK. Well also people feel the need for other people to tell them what is good.
ALI: Some people, yeah, actually, and some people don’t.
FRANNIE: And maybe not in all situations, but I mean, I think it’s pretty clear that you can get a check off taste.
ANWAR CARROTS: I mean –
ALI: For having an opinion.
ANWAR CARROTS: Pretty much. It’s been going on for ages.
ALI: If someone was very successful at showing you how to get a million dollars, you would not step up if they called themselves an influencer of getting a million dollars, guaranteed? Like you just, I mean – I feel you, but –
FRANNIE: I mean, look, it can go bad quickly.
ANWAR CARROTS: Oh yeah, for sure.
ALI: Oh yeah.
FRANNIE: And I think that hip-hop has done that for many, many years and hasn’t always gotten the percentage. And so – I mean, I think it’s pretty clear that the answer was for entrepreneurs like yourself to do it yourself, not to begin within a corporation. To build something that the corporation then has to come to you.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah, I told you, from 19, I didn’t even get to – I had a chance where I was supposed to work for an ad agency. I just got to that point at 19. I said that I would not work for – I don’t want to get fired. I’m just not here to get fired. You can bring me in to come work with you guys, not working for you. We’re eye and eye on this thing to where you can’t even fire me. Period. So like, I still have Carrots. We’ll be doing this together, and there’s no firing me. You brought me in. I didn’t have to come to you. I can go do this on my own. That’s how I look at it. But that’s just my mind.
Like everybody – a majority of the world don’t have leadership mind, a mind of a leader pretty much. So that’s why, yeah, you do need certain people to tell you what to do, what to go buy, what to watch, where to live, what to eat.
FRANNIE: Yeah, but in a certain way, also then if people sort of agree to represent your brand in their daily life, they’re also agreeing with your principle.
ANWAR CARROTS: That’s why it’s kind of mind-blowing at the same time. Like, “Yo, this is wild. People are buying into this. This is crazy.” I believe in it. I would buy it, but I’m not everybody else. But everybody who does buy it they show me that, OK, this could be something.
FRANNIE: My little brother met you when we met at the other interview, and he later bought a t-shirt.
ANWAR CARROTS: Oh, he’s amazing.
FRANNIE: And he – yeah, so shout out to Gabriel.
ANWAR CARROTS: Shout out to Gabe. Thank you.
FRANNIE: But he also wanted to make sure that you were cool with that, that he did that.
ANWAR CARROTS: Oh. Shout out to Gabe. Gabe. Thank you, Gabe. I’m over cool with it, Gabe. I’m going to say Gabe five more times. Gabe, Gabe, Gabe, Gabe, Gabe. Gabe.
FRANNIE: It’s going to be his new ringtone. But yeah, I think that that is – when people, again back to the word streetwear and things crossing over into a mainstream, by which I mean white audience, then –
ANWAR CARROTS: I love you guys by the way.
FRANNIE: – that that relationship is really interesting, and it is not as commercialized as it was in the past. There seems to be a more direct like, “I know you” or “I know what you do,” –
ANWAR CARROTS: Internet.
FRANNIE: – or, “I researched you.” Yeah.
ANWAR CARROTS: Internet.
FRANNIE: "And therefore, I will give you my $40."
ANWAR CARROTS: Internet. And that’s why I hold to the whole pop up experience thing, cause I actually run all my pop ups all day. I’m there all the time. Kids come up to me, “Are you gon’ be there?” I was like, “Yeah, you better come and ask me some meaningful questions. Don’t come here and just like stare at me and be weird. Just be a normal person."
So all the kids that come to engage, whatever questions they ask. They come with their brands, give me their t-shirts. I’ll rock it. Whatever to help them out. Take them to that other step, wherever they’re trying to go. Yeah, it’s normal shit. If I got some knowledge that they can gain from me, I’m free and willing to give it away.
FRANNIE: Yeah, I was wondering about events as well. The idea of you sponsoring events, is that something that you’ve done?
ANWAR CARROTS: Have I sponsored an event before? Oh, OK. The Pow! Wow! School Of Music. I wouldn’t say I sponsored it, but yeah, pretty much I guess. I did a t-shirt for the Pow! Wow! School Of Music, and I spoke to like – there’s only seven kids but, shit, it’s a good enough audience for me. I spoke to seven high school kids. So they used the Pow! Wow! School Of Music thing as their after-school program, but it’s not an after-school program. It’s part of – I don’t know if you know about Pow! Wow! –
FRANNIE: No, I don’t. What is it?
ANWAR CARROTS: – or like Hawaii, or Pow! Wow! Art. They do all these tours of like Pacific Islands, just a whole bunch of different artists. It’s a pretty big thing. Pow! Wow! Worldwide, you guys should check it out, but this is a new section of it, so it’s Pow! Wow! School Of Music. It’s just different people teaching these kids about music, whether it’s engineering, songwriting, instruments – if you’re a rapper, rapping – production, the business of it.
So I pretty much told the kids just like my journey and my story and the business side of it, pretty much the basics of it. Like, make sure you own your stuff, own your name, own your trademarks, if you’re into writing music. If you’re in that blessed situation like a guy like Chance The Rapper, own your own publishing. Like, you don’t have to go do the deals and stuff like that, and if you do do a deal, just make sure everything’s A-okay. Get you a great lawyer.
Just stuff I’ve paid attention to and just saw. It’s like, get you a great lawyer. Even besides your lawyer, have your parents read your stuff over too, even if you have to, cause they lived a life before us as well, people that's been in these certain situations. Just ask questions, and always be curious.
FRANNIE: Yeah. I was thinking about your parents a little bit, and about – I mean I’ve seen you say that you’ve been inspired a lot by your travels, which have included, I think, going to both of their homelands. I mean, how does that work? Like, how is that transmission of, you’re in a place and you see some shit, and you come back and you want to make something?
ANWAR CARROTS: To be honest, before the whole clothing thing, when I would go to certain places, it was like, “OK. I’m here.” I’m not thinking of it no deeper than what it was, even the Islands. I lived in the islands for two and a half years. I was just there having fun, going to the beach, sitting in mango trees with my cousins, eating mangoes and shit, plums, whatever. But now, when I go, it’s like, “Yo. I’m doing stuff people wish they could do on a normal basis.” It was just normal life for me.
But I really – when I go travel, I just really soak in on the travel, and if it’s like – I don’t really use travel tours like my inspiration. More so cause I just let it be what it is. I just like indulging myself as a person, like, knowing about a certain place, the history of it. I don’t really implement that into my stuff.
Sometimes I do, cause if it made, like, a real impact on me, I would. Or more so if I’m doing it for like a store or a certain brand or a friend that’s there, I’ll do something based on what I learned while I was there. Just like school, history lessons, pretty much.
FRANNIE: Got it.
ANWAR CARROTS: I just really just like to enjoy the place for what it is.
FRANNIE: That’s smart, I think.
I’m a cynic, and I have a lot of hesitation around these ideas of the ways that a fashion line represents somebody’s musical creations as well, musical expressions as well, and then how things feed into each other, and where not only does the integrity stand, but where is the set-up for the long-term business.
ANWAR CARROTS: Oh, it’s set up. It’s just like –
FRANNIE: I mean, and if it is, it is.
ANWAR CARROTS: Honest, did you ever pay attention to Pharrell?
ANWAR CARROTS: It’s the same exact thing, but like newer, fresher, and earlier. Yeah, I think around this time – what was Pharrell doing at twenty-five? Just producing? And this is like N.E.R.D. era?
ANWAR CARROTS: I would say he kind of surpassed all that. This is all early. My man’s on his third album. Pharrell put out, what? Two albums? The second album didn’t come out till this time now. Like, he’s doing shit – literally, once he got in the game, he was doing what Pharrell ended up doing later on when he met Nigo. He’s doing his shit on his own. So, I perceive it that way. It’s like, “Yo, you’re doing something. This is new.” Like, “What you have is new."
So out of anybody doing some shit – like, if I was a kid I would super be looking up to Tyler. Like, if I was that 16-year-old at home like how I was off of Nigo and – that’s how me and Tyler met. He was a Pharrell fan. I was a Nigo fan. So it was just like, I got the clothing. He did the music and the clothing. He got a double brain for that shit. It works for him. And he balances it perfectly. Like, I don’t know how he do it. Man got a wild mind, but it works. And he got the perfect team around him.
And the long run for that shit – look where Pharrell is now. Longevity. He’s doing the same thing, over and over. It’s just getting better. And it’s just like, “Yeah, I do this. I make product. I’m doing Palladium, I’m doing Adidas. I had BBC. I had Ice Cream. I’m bringing BBC back. I do this.”
ALI: I think the part of their success though is, obviously, you know, being driven, having a vision, but in addition, is having success and then being able to, what I call, diversify. You know, it’s no different than buying stocks, right? And so, you diversify your portfolio, and you use whatever that platform is, music, or fashion or art or whatever. Its success allows for you to diversify and build on it. And so that’s why I was asking you, I think the key for Tyler and for Pharrell is that they realized they needed to get a team who could facilitate their visions.
ANWAR CARROTS: Delegation.
ALI: Yeah. And so you delegate it, and you have people who have access.
ANWAR CARROTS: And skill.
ALI: And so I think that’s been the one missing element for a lot of I’ll say blacks, a lot of minorities –
ANWAR CARROTS: Cause we don’t trust nobody. That’s our fucking problem.
ALI: – and people in lower economic brackets. It’s just that we don’t have access to people who have connections to facilitate the ideas.
And it’s not that because you grew up in, you know, some place in south side that you’re not important or valuable, you are. And if you’re making hip-hop and even, you know, like what Tyler’s doing with the whole Odd Future collective, it’s a matter of having the access. And if you have the access, you can build empires. It’s no different than any – I don’t care if – Rothschild, Roc-A-Fella, whomever, they had access and connections to make their ideas –
ANWAR CARROTS: Come to life?
ALI: Not only come to life, but to be influencing. So they were the influencers. And now you go decades and generations and generations, and these ideas have been interwoven into our everyday life that we’re conditioned to accept them. And so it’s no different than hip-hop. I mean the culture of hip-hop is built off of fighting oppression, right? I mean, the art form was built off of fighting oppression. And –
ANWAR CARROTS: That’s what this music was at the beginning pretty much.
ALI: Yeah. And so the expression and dancing and art and then the music. But then fighting off oppression in another form is having money. You know? And then with that money, having access to people and getting into situations and environments so, you know –
FRANNIE: Being able to say no.
ALI: Yeah. Well, yeah. So definitely hats off to Tyler for getting ahead of the game. Hopefully he will be influential to the next up-and-coming –
ANWAR CARROTS: Ten, 15, 20.
ALI: – 14-, 15-year-old out there that’s looking at the whole landscape and seeing what can come of it. I know you’re cynical. I just wanted to –
FRANNIE: Everybody knows.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah, I’m really in that transition phase with delegation as well.
But I feel like another problem, too, is just like, yeah, trusting people. Cause once you do have that access, you have to let go of certain things cause a lot of people are control freaks on certain shit too. So it's like, they don’t want to give up that access of like, “Oh. You’re going to take everything.” Nah, you gotta put trust in certain people that actually have that certain skill and let them do their job. And that’s what helps.
But yeah, once you do get in that phase of, like, you do have access to people, but access do come from hard work and the right exposure for yourself first. So then, when these people just start knocking.
ALI: Trust is a big thing. And being able to delegate and give up, it’s a huge leap of faith. I’m one to speak cause I control too much of my life. But it’s all – hopefully you’re finding good people and you have great contracts to just simplify whatever error in someone else’s choices that hurt your business or hurt your feelings personally.
ANWAR CARROTS: Indeed. Sometimes your business is your feelings, if it’s something that you built. That was your baby pretty much, so.
ALI: Yeah, I’m just now getting to accepting the idea that it’s not all personal, cause to me it’s always personal. Business. In business, everything’s personal.
ANWAR CARROTS: I feel like its personal cause you putting yourself in that state. It’s like, "You’re bringing me in to screw me over, fuck me over? Yeah, it’s personal. It’s a problem." “Oh nah, it’s business.” Like, nah. You personally screwed me and my business. Like, yeah. So it’s a personal thing.
FRANNIE: People fuck with my money, I take it personally.
ALI: Yeah, there you go.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah. Pretty much.
FRANNIE: Anyway, my last question is what’s the difference between fashion and getting dressed?
ANWAR CARROTS: That’s a great question.
FRANNIE: Thank you.
ANWAR CARROTS: The difference between fashion and getting dressed. OK. Simple guy, right? Fashion and getting dressed. Fashion, you could just look at fashion.
FRANNIE: Right. Yeah. Dress you have to wear all day.
ANWAR CARROTS: Yeah, you can’t – yeah, getting dressed, you're just looking at your closet like, “Oh shit. This is not just like how I just saw it on The Satorialist or whatever." It’s not just laid out. Like you can just push a button and then just start pairing up outfits in your closet. Like, I’m gonna wear this fit to –
FRANNIE: Like in Clueless.
ANWAR CARROTS: Exactly. Getting dressed is a whole process. You put it on, it’s like, “This doesn’t look like how I envisioned this.” So you take it off. But fashion is just – it’s already there. It’s laid out, because somebody already did the work and paired this together from something they probably sketched up or mocked up. You can’t sketch what’s in your closet. You just got to start – "That." Or you just really have to be on that straight militant like, “I only wear this. I only wear these type of jeans. I only wear this type of shoe,” and just have a uniform. Yeah.
FRANNIE: Uniform. Yeah. So fashion's like fantasy, but –
ANWAR CARROTS: Getting dressed is an art form. It’s an art, because once you’re done, it’s like, “Yo. This is it, huh? How do I want the world to perceive me today? Boom.”
FRANNIE: How so you feel when you know you’re, like, dressed? Done.
ANWAR CARROTS: Me. Simple dude. I mean, I don’t do dress like – if I know I’m in a rush, me personally – like, me and my girl, I let her get dressed. I’ll be just sit there. Literally like the last ten, 15 minutes before it’s time to leave, I got a shirt around. Throw on a shirt. I’m confident. I’ll say, “Fuck it. I’m confident.” I know I’m fresh any time I put something on, so I just put on my shirt, put on jeans, put on a pair of sneakers, a jacket or a hoodie, and let’s go. That’s how it is with me.
FRANNIE: I feel I'm dressed –
ANWAR CARROTS: I’m not like a fashionista. “I need to layer this shirt with this shirt. I’ma wear this pea coat with this hat.” I’m like, “nah.” I’m a cozy boy. I like to be comfortable. Like, sweat suit or just regular jeans, sneakers, long sleeve or a t-shirt, hoodie, very basic. Basic, but like when you see, you're like, “Oh, OK.” If you know, you know. It’s one of those things, but – it's like a subtle flex.
FRANNIE: Alright. You got to keep your closet a certain able.
ANWAR CARROTS: Mhmm. All t-shirts all well-folded. Shit looks like a retail store. I got a certain OCD for clothes.
FRANNIE: Do you have a certain way of folding?
ANWAR CARROTS: Oh, I have one of those – go to the container store, the blue flip board.
FRANNIE: Oh my god.
ANWAR CARROTS: Everything is uniform. You could stack blacks, greys, whites, and colors.
ANWAR CARROTS: Jeans. Work pants, like chinos or whatever. Shorts. Sweatpants. All sectioned out.
FRANNIE: There you go, kids. That’s how you do it. Well, thank you so much for doing this.
ANWAR CARROTS: I appreciate it.