Duxx (Concrete Guerilla Clothing) [Interview]
Toronto, ON – A few years ago, I sat down with Dame Dash to talk about his business style. The headstrong mogul told me “I’m a Guerilla. No fear. A fuckin beast. I don’t give a fuck. I’ll go in.”
It’s with similar confidence that Duxx, owner of Concrete Guerilla Clothing, sees his company. He speaks with clarity and vision. He delivers advice steady and assertive. He conveys experience, yet exudes youthful excitement at the same time.
The company he built from the ground up has popped up at King Of The Dot battles, on the backs of prominent hip-hop artists such as Tech N9ne, Busta Rhymes, GZA, Buckshot, Akon, Beatnuts, Blackmoon and Peter Jackson. Duxx recently collaborated with It Lives In The North for a 2010 Special Edition t-shirt that went across the country alongside the Slaughterhouse/Pharoahe Monch tour. After two years of building the brand, Concrete Guerilla is trying its hand at the retail game.
HipHopCanada: If you can take me through chronologically how Concrete Guerilla Clothing came to be. I heard originally you were doing a clothing line with another person and when that fell through, CGC was kind of born out of that situation.
Duxx: Originally when I first started the line, I started with a partner and we started under another name. We kind of just both had creative differences in terms of where we wanted the line to go. And you know when you’re working with a partner and you have other people’s ideology, you have to merge two people’s ideas. So we did that for a bit, for about two years and then after that we just decided it was probably best that we go our separate ways. I went off and did Concrete Guerilla and I don’t know what happened on the other side.
HipHopCanada: What does Concrete Guerilla stand for? What does the brand mean?
Duxx: We have different genres and different groups that wear the clothing. So what it means to an urban dude isn’t the same as what it means to a skater. The way we blend it is basically just Concrete Guerilla just means well “Concrete” being the streets, the pavement, where we come from and then “Guerilla is more the mentality and the mind frame of what we have to do on a day to day basis. Guerilla marketing, Guerilla hustling, going out there and being Guerillas and just pushing your stuff. So we think of it kind of like that. Our catch phrases are: “For Life In The Concrete Jungle” and “Create Your Own Destiny.” So being a “Concrete Guerilla,” going out there hustling and doing your stuff you’re really creating your own destiny. Its for the go-getters who tries to create their own thing.
HipHopCanada: It’s a pretty interesting basis to appeal to people because it does cross any kind of gender or genre or style of dress because everybody in their own way aspires, or at least would like to think they aspire towards creating their own destiny right?
Duxx: Straight up and we don’t put ourselves in a box. People ask ‘are you street wear, are you skate gear, are you…?” We’re none of that, we’re Concrete Guerilla, we is what we is. You look at it, you like it or you don’t. We don’t need to be classified as anything. We don’t need to be right, we don’t need to be left, we can just be. And that’s what we do is exist.
We see the clothing on the strangest of people. And we get respect from genre’s that we’d never expect to. We get phone calls from people we wouldn’t even think about being our target market. But when you put something out there and you do it universally, it’ll just create its own fans and people who enjoy it and appreciate it for what it is. They’ll just rock it. And that’s the coolest thing about the company right now is we’re getting that love from so many other people.
HipHopCanada: And as of Summer 2010 you’re taking the line retail correct?
Duxx: We’re doing retail. We did a lot of brand marketing for the first two years. The first two years was about getting people to identify with the brand; seeing the logo and getting to know the logo. Now that we’ve pretty much established that we’re going into retail in Canada. We’re in Toronto and we’re pretty much just going across Canada right now and picking up different retailers in different cities and getting them on board. It should be an interesting year.
HipHopCanada: You mentioned about sinking the first 2 years into building brand awareness and top of the mind awareness of Concrete Guerilla. And to people thinking about maybe doing something of their own: clothing or otherwise, explain the kind of will that you have to have to put in the money and the time when you’re really not getting the money back right away.
Duxx: For the first two years I don’t think we really made any money. Any money we made we put right back into the company. Now we’re starting to make some money but still not making anything in comparison to what we’re doing. To do anything it takes 150% dedication. To be successful and to go out there and really push it you can’t sleep. There’s guys out there willing not to sleep, I’m one of them. If you get caught sleeping you know what happens right?
I’m in a bubble, on a day to day. I probably sleep about three hours a night.
HipHopCanada: How did the sponsorship with King Of The Dot come about?
Duxx: The ’89 to ’98 days of Toronto battling I was there. I seen it I witnessed it. And that generation was so different because it was all just freestyle. It was all about your rep and your skills on the mic. And you couldn’t even think about writing your rhymes. And now you fast forward to 2008-2007 I think KOTD started and I’m sitting there and I’m seeing what the cats are doing in 2009. Writing your rhymes, coming prepared, knowing your opponent, setting up a league, having wins, having losses, taking it to a whole other level, put your money where your mouth is. “Here, you wanna battle me? Put up some cash.” Man, it blew my mind. So me and Organik, we knew each other for a while and my boy Mumbles came to me and told me I had to see what Organik was doing with this battle league. He’s doing it on the street dude and guys are bringing money and battling.
And I started watching and me and Organik sat down and I said this is something that we identify with. Especially with me being an ex-battle MC, I identify with it totally. So I said ‘I’m in. What does it take? Where do I need to go?’ And the partnership’s been great. I’m just so proud of those dudes what they’re able to do with the events. All the power to them.
HipHopCanada: Any shout-outs?
Duxx: Shout out to my boy Roddstar, puttin that work in. I got a good team that makes it happen. People see Concrete Guerilla and Duxx at the front but I got a big team that helps me do it. Respect to my boy Roddstar, Antonio, Juliette, Mumbles, much respect to Peter Jackson, Bizz, Bigmouthsonline, King of the Dot, HipHopCanada, all my skateboarders and thank everyone for the support. This is Concrete Guerilla 2010/2011 is going to be our year and the movement always gets bigger. For life in the concrete jungle, we’re here. The Guerillas are here man.
Don’t forget to check out http://concreteguerillaclothing.com.
Written by Jonathon “Bizz” Brown for HipHopCanada