Over the Christmas holiday, I was ogling the infamous Car Wash cruiser deck by ONLY NY. It was on sale for a mere $35, which wasn’t just worth it for the price, but also for the nostalgia. I mentioned to my friends on Instagram that the graphic dates back to ONLY’s Spring 2009 lookbook. Jason Scott Henderson, my homie and former manager, linked me with the brand’s creative director Micah Belamarich and ONLY’s photographer Julian Goldstein.
JSH and I rode uptown on the train to where ONLY was based long before they opened a flagship in the Lower East Side. The photo shoot was more like a field trip. We walked around Julian’s scouted locations from a hillside overlooking a train yard, to Riverside Park. All my life I’ve lived in New York, but never really saw this side of Harlem on foot. The shot that stood out the most was taken in front of a color palette that foreshadowed the bright spring/summer to come. The Car Wash sign hung in the background as I smiled and laughed with the down-to-earth crew on set. I carried my backpack holding my DJ equipment, and another tote back I recently bought that year from Argentina over one shoulder. When I saw how Julian and Micah immortalized the Car Wash sign on the deck this year, I had to have it.
My ONLY gear—given to me after the shoot—was with me during my travels as I took my DJ career to new heights. I was decked out in their navy and white logo snapback cap in some fancy red carpet photos for Getty Images at the 2009 Diesel U:Music concert. Then when I was on tour with an artist in Amsterdam, I took my ONLY coffee cup T-shirt with me. Wearing their gear outside of my hometown was a symbol of where I was from, but more importantly it represented where I was going. #ONLYNYLIVES.