The Brilliance!


We’re really internet and we’re really back. A website about things Benjamin , Chuck , Virgil , and various friends & guests think are interesting. Little-to-no specific focus, a bit odd, speling errors, and incredibly culturally relevant.

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The Jay album…!

How to start this post…not sure. I’m such a big Jay fan, huge…so I am ultra critical of this album. First things to clear out, the Neptunes & Swizz tracks are terrible – should have left them off. Now that we have that out of the way, I can honestly say I really like this album. It needs to be listened to in an entirely different context than any of his other works – and actually, different than any other rap album ever made. He’s mature now, his life is worlds different than when Reasonable Doubt came out, or even Volume 2 – so the content and feel of the album is of course going to reflect this. This is truly business-rap…warm-up music for the boardroom. Me vs. venture capital firms type music…ha, seriously. The tracks: (1) I dig ‘Prelude’, the beat, Mr. Pain-in-da-ass’ intro, all of it. (2) Just Blaze does some amazing work for ‘Oh my God.’ Something to shift gears to, good stuff. (3) Wish they wouldn’t have leaked this, I love it, but would have had more impact off a first-listen within the album. Another classic driving track. (4) Closing down roads in Monaco to race Ferraris and Zondas?! A zillion miles from reality – nuts. (5) ‘Lost Ones’ – finally a little inside glimpse from the man himself, very interesting and very good. (6) Wow, pretty amazing track, and John Legend fits perfect. We love to hear Jay talk fly – he lets us live vicariously through him on tracks like this. Inspirational (7) The opening line of this song is pretty much all you need to hear, ‘you don’t have enough stamps in your passport.’ But yeah, this is the maturity here – real chill track. (8) The classic this-one-is-for-my-mother track – good stuff. (9) Terrible, seriously. After ‘Change Clothes’ and ‘Frontin’ this is all we get? (10) ‘Hollywood’ is good stuff – Jay-Z talks quite a bit about fame in this album, how its the most addictive drug. Beyonce and Jay blend so well on this track. (11) Ehh…not too into this track. Doesn’t even really sound like a Dre beat. Good lyrical content though. (12) What is this?! Not a good look, shouldn’t be on the album. (13) An intense track indeed – didn’t actually expect this from Jay. Very good, not too much more can be said – although its interesting to hear Jay kind of apologize for just giving money and not time. (14) Another ‘wow’ track – a great way to close it out. My favorite line off the whole album: ‘…sunset hov, how you get so fly? I said from not being afraid to fall out the sky…’ So yeah, a thanks goes out to Jay for another album to get inspired from. He is truly a living legend.

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Annnnddd we’re back!! Been a minute since we did an interview right?! We decided to take a break from that – plus we couldn’t think of anybody we really wanted to interview, and its almost impossible to get a hold of Marc Jacobs himself. So you know… Anyway, we are hitting you guys quite hard today with an amazing new interview put together by our new champ Virgil. Introducing Ibn Jasper – this guy is next level. Image consultant for Kanye West himself, amazingly talented barber behind all your favorite celebrities cuts, global jetsetter, and a classic chi-city trend baron. Just try to catch up with this dude…yikes. Check our interview where Ibn addresses the recent Kanye stage-rush on MTV, flying private, $1500 shape-ups, hanging at Nigo’s house, international shopping-sprees with the G.O.O.D. Music crew, ollies over shopping carts, and too much more. We got exclusive pictures of Kanye and Justive vs. Simeon backstage hugging it out!!!

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White Damier Canvas!!

Question for the Louis Vuitton fans out there, where did this white damier canvas come from? It is out of control, seriously fresh. Damier is like the dude version of the classic LV monogram. There’s no reason the get all self conscious rocking the Damier. I just love how the made an already subtle pattern, subtle and eye catching. For the past year or so I have been rocking the key and change holder as a wallet and I finally feel like I have come to that perfect balance I had been searching for. It carries only the essentials; I was tired of cutting off the circulation in my leg with the billfold format. Enough. But seriously, the white Diamer says what I am thinking.

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eBay Pop!

Where was this when eBay was a steady hustle for me? I love this. eBay Pop, its like the NASDAQ composite for items on eBay. The movers-and-shakers if you will. This is, again, reinstating the fact that eBay has truly changed commerce throughout the world. And yo, does the IRS audited PayPal accounts?!?! Seriously, think about it. Anyway – this is a great little service. As I mentioned, back when I sold stuff on eBay all the time this would have changed everything. One thing to think about – its going to basically tell all the bootleggers EXACTLY what to knock-off you know? Whatever the market is demanding. Not that is was hard for them to find out before – but now there is like an actual ‘index’ for it. Pretty unreal. So check it out…buy a wholesale lot of cell phone antenna signal-boosters, sell them in singles…you’ll be BAAAALLLLIINNNNNNN!! Ha, maybe not.

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Toy Watch!!

Remember the stronghold Swatch watch had on us when we were kids? Taking their spot in modern times are Toy Watches. My lady hooked me up with one and I am now I don’t have to look at my phone to see what time it is. These watches have been catching my eye in Annie O when we were out in New York to Needless Markup in Chicago. Their trademark look is their shiny see through acrylic casings and bands. They are like reinterpreted Rolex GMT-2 with a fun twist. So about those Swatch watches…they are not making a comeback just yet so keep them in that drawer next to your bed.

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H&M does it again!!

So I just came to the obvious realization…with the decline of innovative “streetwear” the pendulum is swinging back to where we all started. The big basic brands, Banana, Polo, Gap etc. The benefit now days tho is that the big brands quit being so uptight and are actually being creative, taking risks and getting better trend reports. With H&M fresh off the Lagerfeld collaboration they have just tagged up with Victor & Rolf to produce some stunning pieces. High fashion, lower budget. Very inclusive, not exclusive. Of course I gotta see these pieces in person but the art direction of the whole project has got my attention. Viktor & Rolf snapped with their latest collection and carried over the same intensity with this less expensive iteration of their brand. So smart for the Viktor & Rolf brand as well. Most cats aren’t even hip to them as designers. Hats off to H&M for raising the standard. Another business model I would like to see bitten by competitors.

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Monday Miscellaneous

Monday. What can I say? At least it was nice out…but still. Mondays…ehhhh. You know how it goes. I’ve just got a mish-mash of things to post about. First off, I’m very excited to say I have a new print up for sale at NP&CO. Go check that out. Shameless self-promo on THE BRILLIANCE. I also updated NoPattern with some new work for Kinkyform and Puma Mihara for The Royal Magazine. Also, I’m saying it before someone else can. NoPattern is the new Lisa Frank. Anyways, enough about me. How about this new John Legend album!? PDA is a great song, but really the whole album is fresh. I am maybe even enjoying it more than his first one. On the other end of the music spectrum, you should check out this new album from Mouth Of The Architect - The Ties That Blind. I don’t know how else to say it, they’re right up there with Isis, Neurosis, Pelican…that whole every-song-is-long metal camp. Prog-metal, whatever you want to call it. Great album though without too much unnecessary feedback/noise/ambience. Very heavy. If you’re in Chicago this weekend, you should come to the Cut & Paste Competition. I’ll be a judge along my man Jeffrey Kalmikoff from Skinnycorp, Jim Coudal of Coudal, and others. Should be a really good time - I heard the NYC one was a blast. What’s up Deanne! What else…oh yeah…Don’t Believe The Hype Beast is back and not as funny as they were the first time. Oh well. We’ll have some new interviews soon too, including one with Nat of Bloom Press. Check out his site and buy some prints. Football is on tonight…if you’re not from Chicago or Indianapolis right now, you don’t have anything to be excited about. It’s all about the Bears and the Colts right now, and I’m waiting for the Colts to lose one first. The midwest has all the good teams right now. Detroit, St. Louis, Chicago, Indianapolis…

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AVEC, ummm!

It’s always a crazy week when you can’t distinguish the weekend from the weekdays. At least the next weekend comes faster. One of the highlights of this past week was sitting down at this restaurant Avec in Chicago. WOW, amazing stuff and superb atmosphere. Right on point down to the décor and music. I dunno, call me young but I love Hip Hop and I love it even more with a crispy duck leg with market pears, frisee, spring onions and hazelnut vinaigrette sitting in front of me. The music was on point, perfect back drop to ramdon conversation with a bunch of friends. Check out the pictures and take a look at the interior. Modern but the opposite of cold. I am noticing a trend in my favorite spots to eat, small dining rooms with exposed kitchens and good music. Avec is my Chicago Momofuku . Favorite restaurant in the city…check.

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This new UGK!

Are you kidding me?! Let’s keep this brilliance style going from island getaways to some new UGK. And I was just talking about how hip-hop is boring. So this new track, ‘The Game Belong To Me’ – is it that typical slangin’ & bangin’ southern stuff? Yes, absolutely. Ignorant ‘typical’ rap content? Sure, somewhat. Fresh beat and classic new metaphors? Yeah and I can’t lie, I love it. Check it out at the link below,, in their music section.

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Wow…been a bit since I posted huh? excuses. Few randoms before I make a real post. I just went to the sneak preview of Borat last night – hands down the worst movie I have ever seen. Thank goodness it was free, but would certainly like my 80 minutes back. Its freezing out lately – time to find more fresh bomber jackets. What happened to cool new cell phones, where are they?! With the exception of that new Clipse ‘shining’ snippet – why is hip-hop so boring lately? Oddly enough – I’m starting to ever-so-gradually check out Bape products again. Ever heard of this Mexican food spot called Moe’s? I love their ‘Full Montes’ tacos. Did I really just get hip to Sister Nancy? Kind of late…bam bam.