Striking By Any Means Necessary
Hip hop artist, Mean, is on a mission to conquer. Having just released his EP, “By Any Means”, he also graces the cover of the latest Juice magazine, a music and lifestyle title, on top of the several publications that he’s already appeared in. No biggie.
Known to some as The Dapper Rapper, his wardrobe is the dream of guys who appreciate Raf Simons and Loewe. We first met when we worked on the “Take Me” music video and the rest is history. We got together this time to talk about his latest release and how 2017 is going to be his year.
Congratulations on your new EP!
Thank you! I’m very happy that the project is finally out!
Tell me about it.
This project is personally a re-invention of myself, a re-introduction of my image and sound. I feel like i’m ready to show the world who I truly am, without the facade. It has taken me a very long time to accept and embrace the type of artist I am and I think now is the perfect time where I’m finally free of my chains.
“I feel that everyone has their own struggles and would do whatever it takes, by any means necessary to survive.”
I supposed the title of this EP “By Any Means” is a reflection of that.
It’s been a subtle recurring theme that I’ve mentioned in songs throughout “In Flight” and “NSFW: Not Safe For Work”. The quote “By Any Means Necessary” is taken from a Malcolm X speech and translated into a modern day society context.
In a way, I feel that everyone has their own struggles and would do whatever it takes, by any means necessary to survive. We all hustle in our own ways to get by and provide for the ones we love or to do whatever it takes to achieve our goals and dreams. So in that sense, everyone can relate to this idea.
Being based in Singapore, do you find that the struggle of being an artist is made even harder?
It hasn’t been easy and I think any creative from Singapore would feel the same way too. It takes a lot of hard work to get noticed and support from people. Personally, I’ve been doing this for many years and can now only say that my journey has just begun.
Let’s talk about your personal style.
Honestly, I get asked this question a lot and I can’t think of the perfect answer. I’ve never thought about my personal style – I always buy whatever I like and dress however I want according to my mood. But there a few designers that I really like so I guess my aesthetics would revolve around the brand’s image.
And who are some of these designers?
My favourite brands would be Raf Simons, LOEWE by Jonathan Anderson, Gucci by Alessandro Michele and Dries Van Noten. For the simple reason that these brands have individuality and I think that’s what’s most important to me. I never want to blend in and these brands have allowed me to stand out.
“Maybe fashion is moving too fast – nothing is ever exclusive anymore.”
Talking about standing out, what do you think of menswear at the moment?
That’s a tough question. I have mixed feelings about it. Everything looks the same now, no?
I think it’s the whole social media and #OOTD that have disrupted fashion and caused it to become homogeneous. People are looking at the same pictures, following the same “influencers” and brands and designers are giving what the consumers want.
I do think there are certain designers that break boundaries and push their ideas forward. Maybe fashion is moving too fast – nothing is ever exclusive anymore.
People are becoming more aware of fashion thanks to Tumblr and Instagram but everyone just wants to look “cool”. They just follow what’s trending and when that dies, they hop on to the next thing.
How do you shop?
For many years, I was big into online shopping. I really liked the idea of luxury e-commerce because you can receive your items in 3 days for less than a fraction of what they’ll cost in store! But over the last year or so, I started shopping in brick and mortar boutiques and that changed the way I shopped. I didn’t care if I had to pay more as long as I could bring home the item immediately.
I don’t think e-commerce can ever offer the personal and interactive service you get from shopping in a physical store. Anything that you wouldn’t be caught dead wearing?
Yeezys? Just because. (This is going to probably cause some kind of controversy…)
What’s next for Mean, musically and style wise?
After promoting this new EP “By Any Means” throughout 2017, I’ll be working on my second album. Lots of music videos and singles to expect this year.
Style wise, I just want to wear really crazy and loud runway pieces on stage. That’s where I can wear whatever I want and not be judged. (Who am I kidding? Haha!)
Wearing Gucci, Loewe, Lemaire X Uniqlo. Photography by Gabe Chen