THE RAP TEE OG: KICKIN’ IT WITH PLATINUM PLUS

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Creator Spotlight

Whether you know him as FSalv, PlatinumPlus or by any other of his aliases there is no escaping the fact that the man now known as Platinum Plus was an originator of the Rap Tee revival. With his tasteful re-imagination of the sought after Rap Tee aesthetic and his own unique designs, Platinum Plus could be one of the clothing games best kept secrets. Despite his low-key stature, Platinum Plus has curated his own loyal following and designed collections for Hip-Hop legends such as Cash Money’s Juvenile. Operating both as a screen-printing service and clothing brand, Platinum Plus seems poised to continue building into one of the culture’s best sources for rare garments. We had the honor of chopping it up with Platinum Plus via e-mail to gain some insight into the Platinum Plus universe. Peep some of the rare Platinum Plus tees and the interview below:

First off let’s start off with the basics, When was Platinum Plus founded? And How would you describe the ‘Platinum Plus’ vision?

I honestly don’t know when I founded Platinum Plus exactly. I have been designing for about 7-8 years now under that and a few names before and even after Platinum Plus. But I registered Platinum Plus in Fall 2017.

The vision has always been about the supporters, not the brand or me. 

When it comes to the revival of Rap Tees you were one of the first to bring this wave back. What are some of your favourite designs that you have created?  

I love all my old shit cause it got me to where I am but I also don’t like looking back at it cause I’m like damn I really didn’t know what I was doing haha. From the beginning up until this point I feel each design/print gets better cause I’m always improving. The Keef and Thug tees I just put out are some of my favorites. Then classic ones I made like the Screw/Feel My Pain, Clipse/Snow Movers, Three Six, DeNiro, Nate Dogg, some of my favorite simple designs. 

The Rap Tee wave, as with most things that become popular, has become oversaturated with lackluster designs from major companies such as Urban Outfitters. What are your thoughts on the state of the vintage wear game? Also how do you continue to differentiate yourself when your niche has become overrun by corporate greed?

Fuck Urban Outfitters. They tried to ride a wave and the designs were booty. But to me that makes it easy to pick out the cornballs who just buy into popular waves. 

Its expected that these big company’s are going to steal stuff like that. It pisses me off more when 1000 brands pop up on IG selling cut and paste designs with horrible fonts and shit.

I think people have the idea of a bootleg fucked up. The whole idea of a traditional “bootleg rap tee” was a guy slinging them out of a trunk for 10 or 15 bucks. Now people make it almost like some designer piece and tax heavy. 

I recently put my own tag in the Keef tees I just dropped but I hate it, I try to capture that real bootleg, when they were printed on Screen Stars or Hanes. Im trying to stick to woven labels and stay true to the old bootleg blanks. 

My goal is to do someones concert merch and get clearance to sell that shit out of a trunk in the parking lot. If you’re an artist reading this, lets make it happen. 

You also provide a screenprinting service and have commissioned your designs to other creatives/brands such as Cruwelf and DBruze. What have been your favourite collaborations and why?

Hands down my favorite design collection has been the Juvenile tour. We sat for a couple days straight just creating designs that really embodied Juveniles work like G Code/Solja Rags/400 Degreez era Juve. It was cool as hell to see the final product and see him wearing the designs. Same with Future, but the Juvenile stuff was just crazy. Then we did some design for S.U.C. dedicated to Screw which was so legendary. 

It’s a different feeling knowing that legends that have been in the game for so long appreciate your work.

Shout out to my guy Nellz for making all that happen. A true behind the scenes legend. 

Then I do a lot of work for a couple really cool people ive met through the years. My guy WNAV from Puerto Rico, cool ass guy and hes been linking with a couple big names like Bad Bunny, J Balvin, and Mike Towers, getting them in some of the work we put together.

Platinum Plus embodies a tasteful way to revive and recreate Rap culture from bygone eras. What/Who would you list as your biggest influences from the golden age?

Big L is one of my bigger influences, i.e. the name ‘Platinum Plus’. Just his whole, ‘quiet but kill you with the work’ persona.  

I’m just a kid from a small town like anyone else, I grew up idolizing rappers me and my friends would put each other onto. I remember sitting on a ride on the boardwalk in the early 2000s and hearing Stunt 101 for the first time that shit changed my life forever. 

In a world where gimmicks and general over-exaggeration take precedence over substance, Platinum Plus keeps a classic approach to pushin’ tees. In Layman’s terms you let your creative work do the talking. Do you believe this approach helps you find a target audience? And does it assist you in curating a loyal fanbase?

Its cliché as hell but I wouldn’t be where I am without the support I get from people. Its so consistent too that I know peoples names in the orders cause they support every drop. The loyalty is unreal. 

I think people see that though, they see a market where who’s wearing it takes precedence over the quality of the piece. Those brands will fizzle out. I’ve seen it happen too many times. This sudden rise to popularity followed by a quick crash and burn. Platinum Plus will continue to push off loyalty alone. 

I am forever grateful. 

What is the design process behind a Platinum Plus creation?

Nothing more than what I am into at the moment. I’ll be into a song, album, movie, actor, rapper, etc. and then theres my inspiration to create. 

Any words of advice to aspiring creatives looking to pursue their own ventures?

Go at it wholeheartedly. I know a lot of people who have passion for things that tell me they’re afraid to pursue it. Do your research, practice, never stay stagnant. Never do shit for free, most people will take advantage of anyone starting out. If you can, find a mentor that has your interest at heart. Don’t try to do too much in your field, meaning: if you’re a photographer, if you’re good at portraits, stick to it and perfect it. 

Who’s in your music rotation at the moment?

Been listening to a lot of Keef lately. Thug’s album. Little bit of Jeezy’s album. My music rotation is boring cause I can get fixated on a song or two and listen to that shit for a couple weeks straight. 

What does the future hold for Platinum Plus?

Everything. Improvement in every aspect of the business. Production, communication, consistency, quality. I need some employees cause I’m burnt out haha.  

Would you rather have the Rich Porter SAAB with the Gold BBS’ or have a Range that look like laffy taffy?

You gotta be a certain type of person to pull off a laffy taffy Range. Give me the SAAB on gold BBS’. 

Any social media plugs/ shout outs?

Just follow me on IG. @platinumplusnewyork 

What is your favourite Rap City freestyle of all-time?

I grew up on Wayne so everything he did at one point was gold to me so all his freestyles. And Dipset, Juelz is so underrated in my opinion.

Huge Shout out to Platinum Plus for the Interview! Follow them on Instagram and Check out their store.

Stay tuned for more ‘Creators Spotlight’ on LO-FI: The Magazine!

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