FILE: DJ and Chicago House Pioneer Frankie Knuckles Has Died at Age 59


Though he was born and raised in the Bronx, Frankie Knuckles (née Francis Nicholls) called the Windy City home. Known in dance music circles as the Godfather of House Music, the DJ/producer is credited with helping to popularize Chicago house in the wake of disco’s greatly exaggerated demise, paving the way for the genre’s domination of the pop charts in the late ’80s and early ’90s. Cutting his teeth alongside DJ Larry Levan in the ’70s, Knuckles spun regularly at the Warehouse in Chicago, went on to open his own club, the Power Plant, and remix hits by everyone from Michael Jackson to Inner City.

In 2004, the block where the Warehouse once stood was renamed Honorary Frankie Knuckles Way. And with house music enjoying a renaissance of sorts in recent years, one of the genre’s foremost pioneers has similarly experienced a deserved resurgence, commissioned to remix indie dance act Hercules and Love Affair’s “Blind” in 2008, as well as Whitney Houston’s 2009 comeback single “Million Dollar Bill.” Sadly, news hit yesterday that Knuckles died in his adopted hometown at the age of 59.



Images by Renita Clarke

TAYBLES is comprised of three young artists / entrepreneurs (Taylor, Justin and Zach) who set out to make a product that would not only be a functional piece of furniture, but also a nostalgic piece of art. Influenced by homemade mixtapes, pop-art and modern design, TAYBLES caters to musicians, artists and the young at heart.

We at TAYBLES also believe in “paying to forward.” A part of every sale goes to charity.

The TAYBLES started a few years ago as a mere dream of Taylor’s. “As a kid, I grew up with a tape player in my car listening to Dad’s old cassettes like Rolling Stones and Cheap Trick.” Excited to work in a new medium, Taylor set to work on making the TAYBLES prototype in his closet sized workshop at the apartment he managed in Los Angeles. “I would often work late at night, and would worry about my tenants complaining about noise.” After completing the prototype Taylor and Justin realized what a fantastic product the TAYBLES was. They moved production out of the storage closet and into the hands of Taylor’s brother Zach who specializes in woodworking and has been building furniture for the last 10 years (his most prized possession is his hand-crafted pool table). Together they collaborated to redesign the TAYBLES to the unique, simplistic, captivating design that you see today.


AJ Mclean x Anvil Cases team up for the Anvil Roadcase for iPhone 5/5s

Written & Images By Renita Clarke

Exclusive: Interview with AJ Mclean of The Backstreet Boys & Anvil Cases about their new phone case venture at NAMM 2014. Total Production International & myself had the honor to have a one on one with AJ & the Anvil Cases team about the new iPhone Case that is built like a tour roadie case. Slick & build to last. Check out for more images from the interview. Thanks to AJ, Jose, Mike and Joe Calzone.

Listen Below for the full interview

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The Anvil iPhone 5/5s Roadcase delivers the same level of legendary protection that music icons have been depending on for the past 60 years to safeguard their gear from the hardships of being on the road. The Anvil iPhone 5/5s Roadcase protects against bumps, high impacts, scratches and scuffs. The unique 4-piece design delivers maximum protection with minimum bulk.

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Written by Mikeisha Best

Add color to your backpack and/or luggage with Retro Tags! They’ve got Snoopy, Charlie Brown, Betty Boop and more! Made with PVC leather, Retro Tags are perfect for children 12 and up! Creator Claudia Becker’s mission statement is, ” At Flapjack Toys, we love to create products that trigger fun memories of special times. Everything we make is retro inspired and designed to put a smile on your face. You don’t have to be a kid to feel like one…you don’t have to be famous to feel cool. Just be yourself and enjoy life!”

Make sure to check of FlapJack Toys at:

Steve Aoki Aokify America Tour featuring Pharrell & Waka Flocka

By Renita Clarke

Let me just say that Steve Aoki knows how to put the right people together to give you a stellar concert experience. I don’t think the audience sat down one time. These guys put on a hell of a show. Who would of thought a Hip Hop & EDM concert would be so electric. I mean it was hit after hit after hit and non-stop dancing from start to finish. And let’s not even talk about Steve Aoki speakers coming to life (A MUST SEE)!

Critics didn’t think that this combo of Hip Hop and EDM would make a good concert, but apparently the critics have never seen any of these gentlemen perform. You don’t see music genre lines at all during this show. The sets blend with each other and it feels like a mini festival. This show is definitely worth every penny.

The Aokify America Tour has the freshest talent in EDM and Hip Hop music in the forefront with acts like Borgore and Waka Flocka Flame. The threesome rep their respective genres very well. Then you have hit maker and Grammy Award Winning Producer/Songwriter Pharrell just adds a cherry on an already perfect sundae. Pharrell joins the Aokify America Tour crew on selected dates, so make sure you catch one of these last shows.

Check out some of the photos of the Columbia, MD – Merriweather Post Pavilion show after the jump…

*photos courtesy of Renita Clarke


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With 12 editions held in Brazil (1985, 1991, 2001 and 2011), Portugal (2004,2006,2008, 2010 and 2012) and Spain (2008, 2010 and 2012). The festival gathered 6.511.300 spectators that cheered 968 artists, Rock in Rio is the biggest music and entertainment event of the world. There were more than 980 hours of music being transmitted by the TV and the internet, for more than 1 billion viewers in 200 countries. The Rock in Rio also collects records on social network (in the music festivals category) with more than nine million followers. In 2011, the event was the Twitter Trending Topics (TTs) in 13 countries. The event, which is in its 13th edition, starts on Friday, September 13 th and continues by September 14th, 15th, 19th, 20th, 21st and 22nd of 2013, at Cidade do Rock, in Rio de Janeiro (Parque dos Atletas – Av. Salvador Allende, s/n), an area of 150 thousand square meters.

Here’s a sneak peek of what you can accept this year:




D9 Reserve Street Couture

By Renita Clarke & Jyvonne Haskin

Photos courtesy of D9 Reserve

Spins & Blends Co-Founder Renita Clarke got to catch up with D9 Reserve Co-Founder Glen Yun to find out what D9 Reserve is all about and find out what we can look out for in their up and coming Fall 2013 Collection.


D9 Reserve came about a couple different ways. Me and my other Los Angeles partner, David, have been part of the street wear culture since 2000, having worked for different clothing companies. We were on the screen-printing side of business, so we were doing some manufacturing, plus social media work for these brands. A little over ten years ago, we started our own t-shirt line and around 2011, a friend from New York came and asked if there was something interesting we could do as a business. David and I kept talking about clothing, and our New York friend had always been on the retail side of things and wasn’t initially thrilled  about getting back into clothing. But they liked our business presentation and the rest is history.

There are four partners, two in New York and two in Los Angeles.  Originally, our name was Delta 9.  Delta-9 is a part of the active ingredient of marijuana, Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (d9 THC). Most people don’t acknowledge the d9 aspect of it, since the more marketable was THC. Without d9 the THC can’t get you high. You need both. The whole thing made sense because we are  marijuana advocates, we believe in the culture, we embrace it, and its been part of our libes.  So we felt that this was a creative twist to our name as we interact with fashion. We felt that we, as designers, had an outlook on current trends, and felt that as the fusion of two coasts, we are the two ingredients that make up a component of our motto, The High Life.

D9 Reserve was developed slowly. We started with t-shirts, hats, and we wanted to  fulfill each component  individually, as we were stacking the foundation of a clothing brand. It’s interesting because right at that the time we were setting up our brand, a lot of different brands started to embrace the  marijuana culture as well. Plus the Street wear niche was staying to overwhelm hip-hop clothing. Consumer’s were no longer interested just in what rappers wore, but the lifestyle is what they are infatuated with. That’s why street wear culture has taken such a strong effect on the clothing industry.

Our line represents so many attributes, living the high life, eating good food, driving nice cars, smoking nice medication, it all has that type of quality and we felt we could translate that to clothes. It’s fun, it’s accepted, we were right around that time where other brands were doing it, and we really wanted to be the representative of the high life culture and represent both communities: the fashion community and the marijuana community. This is how we started.

The only way for us to compete in this market is to be authentic and that is D9’s main goal. It is to not be JUST about  marijuana, but to showcase the high life, which is about the hustle, it’s about working hard and making money.

One of our mission statements on hang tag reads: “This D9 garment was thoughtfully constructed by innovators of design & industry and is one of the few of it’s kind.  This garment originated in a grow house of innovation located deep in the concrete heart of Los Angeles. This tag certifies the authenticity of it’s production. It is an exotic strain of artistry. The house of D9 solely exist to ensure the preservation of creativity and design through thoughtfully crafted garments using innovative techniques. As one of the limited runs of production, the house of D9 proudly presents the garment that has measured up to our rigorous standards of design and durability. “

D9 Reserve is not just a normal brand. Our smoke habits and smoke life was authentic to our representing this brand. It used to be that a consumer went to a smoke shop to get some t-shirt with a fun weed logo on it. But as couture fashion fell in line with the hip-hop culture, brands such as pitted were born.  Our clothes are not cheap, but it’s on a lower price point tier. There are physical responses that are attributed to how a couture design line makes you look, how it fits, and how it represents you. We aim to manufacture clothing that makes you feel like a million bucks.


This fall will technically be 3 years. BUT, really, the first year doesn’t count (conceptualizing) as we’ve been active for 2 years. This year has been the biggest impact because we started the whole cut and sew program, and it wasn’t just t-shirts.  We were able to move fast enough to compete against these other brands.

Fall Collection Preview
Fall Collection Preview


I think that right now, textures are really strong. Patterns, textures, colors; I mean it always has, but I think nowadays consumers are more aware and want to buy something that gets their monies worth. Menswear is providing more options, being more risky with colors & patterns. I feel that D9 has a mixture of that. The NY consumers, you know they like to wear things differently than the west coast. They tend to be louder and want to be more seen. They have a little more to prove because they are seen a lot since there’s more walking around and public transportation in their daily lives, plus the 4 seasons allows them to play around with layers a lot more. LA is a bit more dumbed down in our fashion sense because weather is consistent, so t-shirt and jeans always works. But D9 is thinking about all of that in our designs.

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D9 Reserve


We do, but as in life, you have to master one thing and then move onto another. We always have it in the back of our mind that we do want to design women’s clothes, but it’s tricky because once we master the men’s collection, and have offers on the table for buyouts, in the transition of the next couple years if D9 takes the next platform, we’re going to have to do women’s clothing and think of the bigger picture, and do it right because there are other brands that do women’s clothing, but still working with the same foundation of people, working 2 different departments. You need to have the manpower to support each design team. You can dabble and do both, but I feel like for us to do it right, we must master men’s clothing and have it running as a well oiled machine and then be able to hire the right people to come in and create a women’s collection. In the meantime, what we’d love to do  is collaborate with a women’s brand and incorporate our brand into their already built platforms,  something like a D9 Hellz Bellz or D9 Dimepiece, We could do these capsule collections until we have a strong men’s foundations and are able to completely focus on women’s design.

Fall Collection Preview
Fall Collection Preview


It’s tough to categorize us, we’re not even sure. Is it urban? Is it street wear? Is it street couture. We feel that as long as we make the clothes, being in a category will eventually fill that gap. Whatever consumers want to label us under, be it urban or street wear. Personally, I have my own opinion of where I want to be, but I can’t do that. You make clothes and let them be where the consumers want them. We aren’t a street wear brand, we are a clothing brand. We embrace all culture, so we don’t leave anybody out. Another one of our motto is as long as we make sweet clothes, everything will fall into place. It’s the mentality we keep with our design team, we are in our own lane, we don’t want to compete with the street market, the crooks and castles, diamond, huff, I mean all these brands 10 years ago who I contributed to, they all have their own lane, a niche market brand. In the beginning I wanted to be in that lane, but as we started to create it, I have been focusing on creating our own lane, representing our own vision.

And we’ve had some celebrity recognition as well. Ne-Yo, who doesn’t smoke, embraces us. Method Man, Red Man, Snoop Lion, are wearing it. It’s a very broad lane for us and we’re excited to not pigeonhole ourselves. We are just gonna do what we do and let the rest fall in place.


A higher level of fabrics, and what we call comfort fashion. That is where the market is driven, through comfort fashion. On a day-to-day basis they want to be comfortable, and at nighttime they want to swag out. This D9 Fall 203 collection, we have the luxury couture, we have the fun comfort fashion with different types of sweats and cuts in fleece, different techniques to mimic a higher end look. A lot of wax coating, leathers, a lot of stuff with fleece, satin, quilting patterns. So there is a little bit of everything in this collection. Our original goal is to capture 3 markets: lower end, middle end and top line. This year we tried to get a little bit of everything for everybody, but if you look at it definitely looks like street couture.


You can find us at plus we have Instagram at @D9reserve, along with our Facebook page. We have over 500 retail locations that carry our brand, along with showrooms in Los Angeles, Texas and New York. I think that this year we are going to be able to triple our production and add more partners to help take this brand to the next level. You know, not just be a t-shirt company but really drive a big engine. Because at the end of the day, if it don’t make money, it don’t make sense.