21 Questions: The Kid Daytona
Questions and Photographs by Cassell Ferere
Daytona can be found frequenting night clubs and music studios. But he has a vision beyond the material world of rapper and is humbled in his approach. Open to the world, The Kid Daytona has been around and wants those who feel they can’t - could. We. caught up with at a studio session for a Q&A…
1. Where are you from?
“From the Bronx, New York by way of Antigua, West Indies. Came here when I was about 3 or 4 years old. But, I’m a New Yorker. I lived in every borough except for Staten Island. Through and through, I’m just a New Yorker. Right now we downtown, in Soho, doing this remix with my boy Neil Jackson; EDM shit…”
2. What initially made you want to start rap?
“Coming from a Caribbean household, music was all throughout my ‘crib.’ I grew up in the South Bronx, right by Yankee Stadium, 1-6-4 Grand Concourse. My grandma had the setup, two turntables in the living room. My uncle playing everything from Gregory Isaacs to Grand Master Flash, Furious 5, LL Cool J, Slick Rick; all that! I just remembered what I really love was the album covers. She (Grandma) and my uncle had all these albums and I would just go through them, and just look at the artwork. From a baby, I could remember just being in love with music in general.”
3. Do remember your first “encounter” with fashion?
“My grandmother; she was big, to me, on some fashion ‘shit’ because that’s what she did to put food on the table. She would go and buy clothes from the garment district come back to the ‘X’ (The Bronx), sell them to all her friends and my aunts. She had ‘wild’ costumers. My grandmother had her own sense of style. “
4. Who introduced you to style?
“The first person that taught me how to the actual match, and about sneakers, is my sister. I never wanted to get dirty as a kid. I always love clothes and fashion. Not necessarily about different brands, just the way how - clothes - can bring about individuality.”
5. How do you interpret style?
“Fashion is like art; this (form of) expression. Your whole outfit could be H&M, but you could put it together differently from how the next (person) would put it together. You and I could have on the same ‘gear’ and I’ll look different from you because of the way I want to express it. That’s what I like about (fashion).”
6. What’s important to you and your style?
“I don’t (value) my ‘shit.’ Every year I give away (clothes). It’s like, ‘I did it already.’ I keep pieces, but just certain things – I keep it moving.”
7. Are you a material rapper?
“I’m not material. I don’t value material. (Compared to) certain people I know; I never had a little brother, but if I did I would let him rock all my shit. You know how (older siblings) get mad that you’re wearing their clothes? I like that shit! I like when niggas want to wear my shit.
I liked to share clothes with my friends – it was cool! My whole block growing up, everybody had a Vanson or Avirex (jacket). That meant, I had 30 Vansons, 30 Avirex (jackets), and we would all (swap) each others'. That’s just how I grew up. If I had 5 fly outfits then my (friend) had 5 fly outfits, so on and so forth. That means I had 30, 40, 50 fly outfits.”
8. How do you go about shopping for clothes?
“I got different relationships with different brands, designers, stores, and I would never buy anything full price. It’s either that 30 or 40 (%) discount or I get it for free. That’s how I’m on it.”
9. How did you get involved with Diplomacy for the ‘Wait’ single?
“I've known Sari Baez since I was a kid (that’s who plugged me). She’s always been paying attention to what I been doing. Recently she reached out saying she ‘really like the way I was going about it (music)’ and she put me on to Diplomacy, and I really liked the stuff. I’m not one of those guys that’s just going to take some (clothes) just because you give it to me – if I don’t like it, then I won’t take it.”
10. How do you stay comfortable while traveling and performing?
“Right now, I really like (in general) what Adidas is doing, like, the different collaborations they’re getting involved in. Right now, I’m on that ‘kit’. It’s the summertime; t-shirts, jeans, and the footwear is what it’s (about).”
11. What’s the first choice piece from your wardrobe?
“For the past month and a half, I’ve been rocking felt hats. I just like to be different. I was doing them (felt hats) for a while. But, when the future was wearing it, it’s now some ‘Future shit’. Then it’s like, ‘Nah, I can’t wear that.’ So I let (it) rock.
I was wearing the designer scarfs on my head, then (French Montana) did it. It’s like (they) took my whole wave, but it's cool! You just got to move on. You always have to adapt and change.”
12. What’s an interesting thing you’ve heard about your style recently?
“I was leaving TAO downtown (NYC), and I walking down the street, in basically the same clothes I’m wearing now, black tee, black jeans, and the ‘felt’ (hat). This older woman shouted out to me, ‘all you’re missing is the shell toes.’ (Jam Master Jay) I don’t even think about that; I guess it’s subconscious things.”
13. What’s your favorite pair of sneakers right now?
“I bought these (Adidas Original Rivalry) kicks. These are like my third pair. People always ask me, ‘are those Adidas?’, but they look like some ‘designer’ shoes. You could throw these on, fuck them up and they’ll still look fly. I’m in the club (a lot) and people spill all types of beverages…”
14. What trends do you want to see come to an end?
“I definitely want to see people stop wearing fanny packs across the chest. That’s like a starter kit. Some people don't even have anything in there, and if you don’t have anything in there you could just put your things in your pocket.”
15. Do you have any particular goals for fashion?
“One of my goals has always been to really pop-off some merchandise. I came with people like Dee & Rickey, 40oz Van, and Curtains. We’re all from the same era and I’ve watched them take things and really make shit happen, and they had people wearing their (merchandise). I’ve always been an influential person, but I never took my influence and really ‘got over it’ it in that way.”
16. What was your experience at Paris fashion week and performing across Europe?
“That shit was vibes! Shout out to Richie Akiva. It really started from that. L’Arc had flown me out to Paris. DJ Crews, who was playing (at the L’Arc), asked me ‘what you think about performing during fashion week?’ He also wanted to shoot the video for a song we put out called Fendi F. So, Richie was there, and I’m thinking ‘it’s all the way lit.’ He said ‘we about to get crazy’, and I’m like, ‘yeah, let’s go!’
That started the wave. I came out to Europe to do that show and ended being six shows. A whole club run; I ended up doing (shows in) Stockholm, Frankfort, London, and Oslo. I got a lot of ‘fam’ (friends) in Oslo.”
17. Which show was the best?
“I mean…. Paris is Paris.”
18. How’s life?
“I know people the got shot, stabbed, their face cut, people that peaked in high school and don’t have any aspirations on doing anything else. For me, to be traveling and actually make a living on something that I love doing...
That shit is undefeated. If you could live comfortably doing what it is that you do for a living – you don’t have to work for anyone, worry about anyone telling me what to do. This is my job. I’m in a studio session with Fresh Direct and Neil Jackson about to rap over some EDM beats. And I’m a hip-hop kid. But, if they ask me to jump on, I’m like ‘let’s get it!’”
19. What is your inspiration each day?
“The inspiration is the things that make me happy. If I’m not creative I get depressed. So, If I don’t look good, I get depressed.
I remember the times when I couldn’t get a hair cut. I had to figure out how to make one pair of shoes look crispy for 8 – 9 months. Now, I can just put (outfits) together and be ‘flee.’ I can go to the studio and just be creative – get all ‘that’ out.”
20. What’s your take on the fashion in hip-hop today?
“I like that certain individuals push the narrative. Looking back at it, when I was a kid, all my favorite hip-hop artist the same too. Everyone was wearing throwback jerseys, fitted and a du-rag. I think the 90’s (rappers) had more individuality. You had Mase, Busta Rhymes, DMX, Jayz; they all were in the same era. But none of them dressed the same or looked the same. I just like individuality. If I can think of a name and picture that person in my head as ‘that’s (their) style.’
Slick Rick was my first favorite rapper. Looking at those albums covers and videos as a baby, he was like a superhero to me. I remember reading something that said he wore his grandmother's fur in the Teenage Love video. It was like a 3 quarter length fur, and the sleeves were too short so he just put it over his shoulder. After it was Method Man – he was just ill. In the All I Need video, he came through with the half braided hair (half afro), the Columbia raincoat with the Grant Hill sneakers – the fact that I can name what he had on just shows you the influence over me.”
21. How do you define your style?
"Always on some smooth shit. That’s the basis – the nucleus of it. But, then it’s always changing. I’m always adapting."