Written by: Mark Edwards

Rapper and community activist GI Joe is influenced by the 90s era in both his music and his style of dress. With that insight, we had to ask GI what 90’s artist he thought had the best style?

“I’d probably go with 2Pac man. He had that thug swag image on him, you know? That street savvy swag, but at the same time intellectual. At the same time, he was busting Rolexes on’em, Cubans, he was hitting like that on’em. He was one of the first I paid attention to who was rocking fashion without a shirt on with the tattoos when tattoos weren’t really acceptable. So, I’d have to give it up to 2Pac.”

GI also gave credit to Cross Colours for influencing him and urban streetwear as a whole.

“It all depends on the situation at hand. Cross Colours is a brand that I always pay respect and homage to because I always tell people that they are the originators of urban fashion. With that said, if it wasn’t for Cross Colours the streetwear community would have never evolved. We would have never had brands like Sean John or FUBU. I can keep going on, brand after brand after brand, that inspired me to create my own brand ‘OMG.’ I have merchandise and I’m doing a collaboration with Cross Colours.”

GI Joe has stated in the past how the messages he grew up listening to influence his musical style today. We wanted to know what message connects with him the most.

“Once again, I’d have to give it to 2Pac because he wasn’t just one-track with his music or with his message. True, you might get a little bit of his real-life daily experiences that he was having on a street level that made you connect if you were from that lifestyle. But he also gave you ‘Brenda’s Got a Baby’ and ‘Dear Mama’ so it was like different and deep messages he was passing out in his music. Just because you see this image of a thug or him being in court or whatever the situation at hand would be, there was more to it. There was more to his life, there was more to his music, there was more to his legacy, there was more to Tupac Shakur than what the media was trying to portray him to be.”

With GI Joe giving respect to his influencers, we asked him what influence he wants to impart to his fans via his music and OMG. 

“Well it depends on the mood and the situation but what I really try to focus on ‘On My Grind’ (OMG). I want it to be something that people can connect to. Something that the people can connect to, whether or not you’re from my community.  I want people to say, ‘Damn, I saw him come from nothing to something, I remember him going to jail, I remember him messing up and being in the streets. He’s crossed over- he’s doing something bigger.’ I want to give my people inspiration, I want to be a mogul, I want to be something great that the next generation can look up to. I want people to know that anything is possible if you put your mind to it and  your grind to it.”

Like GI Joe, his childhood friend, Nipsey Hussle, had a vision of giving back to the community. We wanted to know how GI thinks the culture can continue to reinforce Nipsey’s legacy.

“We just have to pick up from the blueprint. Nipsey’s really made an impact in the community and on the culture. No one can really fill his shoes, but we can step in and try to pick up where he left off. It’s more so about tapping into your community. How can we give back to our community? How can we be hands-on with the kids? How can we use our platforms to influence the next generation to do better?”

At the heart of what influences the culture is representation. GI spoke on the importance of representation to the community.

“We need representation within the culture. I feel like we need more people to stand up and be the influence they want to see. Right now I’m enjoying all the moguls coming up- not just in hip-hop, but across genres and industries.”

So whether it’s through music, streetwear, or entrepreneurship, Cross Colours encourages you to express yourself, represent, and become a positive influence in your community like 2pac, Nipsey Hussle, and our man GI Joe.

Can’t get enough GI Joe? Check out his latest single, “She Won’t Stop Calling Me“, and find out why he’s worth the hype!