Greatest Shit: Clint419

This is the series that looks at people doing some of the greatest shit in our scene. We want to give people the flowers while they are still here and tell them “hey, what you’re doing is great, keep on doing it”. These are people doing it their way, however unconventional that may be. So, in the first instalment of the series, we’ll be taking a closer look at the illustrious, elusive, ruler of the world, Clint419.

Clint in his uniform

I came across Clint419 in 2017, scrolling through Twitter. Three years ago, I was in year 10, had started releasing music on SoundCloud and had my first article published.

I was really able to relate to him and his tweets, thinking: “this guy is like me. Therefore I can do it too”. I even remember going to Sony Music to interview DJ Semtex and seeing him in a music video. I though to myself: “he’s in the places where I want to be”. Albeit I didn’t want to do exactly the same thing as him, but I did want to create so coming across him at that time was incredibly inspiring.

Through the connection that I built purely online and through what he presented to me; I became interest in his projects. At the time it was the clothing brand Cade On the Map, which he co-founded with Ade Hakeem (Air Renzo). I literally bought in because of the things that he believed in and where I thought he was going and where I wanted to go, showing how much a brand’s identity and purpose is important, as much as the product.

I thought Cade was cool because it reflected what many people wanted to do – get on the map. I wanted to be noticed. I wanted to be someone.

Gully Guy Leo in Soho wearing Cade on the Map’s black and red correlation tee

However, when Corteiz Rules the World started in 2017, it was clear to see that it was a cut above what Cade had been and stood for something much deeper.

In a post on the brand’s Instagram page, it says that Corteiz is a lifestyle project inspired by Hernan Cortés, focused on travel, meeting like minded people and collectively ruling the world by forging your own path free from societal norms.

The fact that it takes inspiration from a Spanish conquistador is extremely controversial yet at the same time represents the brand. It is unruly and although I have little respect for conquistadors who divided and conquered, they ruled the new world.

Having said that, the project is less about division but more about bringing people together. Just looking at the marketing campaigns, they included world cities: London, Lagos, Paris, New York City, Amsterdam, Paris, Tokyo, Toronto, you name it. This is how the movement spreads and becomes international.

For me, rules the world is a mindset. One that I adopted. It meant that I was going to do things my way, I wasn’t going to let anything stop me and I was going to meet great people along the way. And since I had that attitude, my life changed for the better. 

It’s interesting that I haven’t even described the clothes yet. It shows how powerful the message is. This is what convinced me to buy into the project.

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A photo captured at Notting Hill carnival

Nonetheless, the clothes are quality and keep improving. Due to my attachment to everything else and the seeming care that goes into the making of clothes, I like the majority of what he puts out. Despite this, there is no denying that the ballys were the game changer.

I have seen the impact that these balaclavas have on people. When I went to the pop-up shop in Soho in the summer of 2019, I stood, brothers in arms, in my balaclava (which was gifted to me for being the second to arrive at the location), with other believers.

Forgive me for making it sound like a cult, but it really felt like a movement. I felt strong in the balaclava. Even wearing the early yellow version of the balaclava, I felt dangerous.

This is obviously because of a balaclava’s connection to criminality but beyond that it captured the mood in London at the time with drill music and young people’s typical thirst for rebellion. Many of the young people who own them probably don’t come from a drill type of lifestyle so it’s more about the wildness of it – balaclavas in bright colours (you are obviously trying to be seen). And, they are great if you want personal space on public transport!

Corteiz bandits outside of the Patta Store in Soho in August 2019

And from there the movement didn’t stop. The trademark joggers in a baggy Nike style followed as the next staple piece. They come in a range of bright colours with the baby blue joints being my favourite.

The genius about each release is that we see glimpses of them before they drop so by the time that they are available to the public, there is already a pulsating buzz.

As of late, the standout pieces have been the full tracksuit and the military wear. I have highlighted these because they show the extent to which the quality of the garments have improved.

The cargos have a Carhartt sort of quality and the full fit looks like a uniform, striking me as the type of thing that the Black Panthers would wear in the twenty-first century equipped with guns in their palms. While the feel of the tracksuit is heavy but snug with a cozy fit that for some reason makes me liken it to a smock. This is innovation. The levels are rising.

So, with this standard, success has followed. I went to Kennington rapper, Sam Wise’s headline show on March 13th and inside was looking like a Corteiz look book. Clint himself was at the event and it was a chance to gauge the impact that he’s been having on the scene in London, from the underground, rising into the mainstream.

Due to his connections and the buzz of the brand, there have pictures and videos of familiar faces in the clothes. From Jorja Smith to Unknown T and many more.

Clint also featured in the Basement Approved, BSMNT x Nike Air Max 90 “City Pack” advert. A big look for him and everyone at The Basement.

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Jorja Smith in the studio in her full Corteiz tracksuit

However, the thing that I like about Clint, is the focus on ownership. It’s great that he’s getting the recognition but the really inspiring thing is that he does a lot of it himself and with his friends and is able to make money from it. Now that’s what I call ruling the world. It’s being able to do what you enjoy and immersing yourself in culture. It’s about being able to provide for yourself. It’s about making great shit.

It’s safe to say that this guy has something. The way that everything is improving with the marketing, exposure and clothing is also very promising. It lets me know that he’s solidified in this ting and is here to stay, even if that means Corteiz taking another form – it will still be the same “I don’t give a fuck energy”.

The world is changing. We don’t know what things will be like after quarantine. But, we have to focus on what we can control. You can use your mind just like Clint does and rule your world. RTW.

Xaymaca Awoyungbo

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