TheLegendsLeague Vault Series: December Releases
Vault Series: December releases:
“T.O. Don’t Love U” tee
“Deadly Venom” tee
Design: T.O. Don’t Love U
Original Release: 2008
Vault Series Release: Original Design.
“T.O. Don’t Love U” was released in 2008 as a part of my first Spring/Summer collection of tees. It was an un-themed release that was a hand picked group of some of my favourite designs that I had developed for TheLegendsLeague in 2007.
Growing up as a member of the Toronto Hip-Hop scene since I was 13, I witnessed the scarcity of the concept of community and love in the city in the 90′s and early 2000′s. As a b-boy, the battle atmosphere was raw with personal distaste and often got heated to a physical level. The climate was a lot more tense and a lot less campy with crews from all parts of the GTA rarely having any personal interaction at parties or events outside of battling or cyphering. Things were a lot more grimy back then, with a stronger East Coast influence and less of a party vibe. It was as if we were all doing what we did to get out our aggressions and not to gain personal fame. There was still a measure for “selling out”. There wasn’t a place for b-boys as choreographers. There was no bar for high end “street art” shows. So our motives behind being part of that world were based on skills before any perceivable success. The public didn’t understand us and we truthfully preferred it that way.
Back then, the people who were active in the hip-hop community were recognized and respected for their skills by their peers and there was no other means to get popular. You had to be dope or you couldn’t come around. (Getting beat down for acting dope was something I saw happen a couple of times and it almost felt like that weeded out a lot of the bullshit). Maybe it was just the kinds of people who were in the main crews I was around, but we really didn’t like anyone other than the people we rolled with. To be honest that seemed to be the general consensus across the board in Toronto at that time.
We were known as the Screwface Capital, where everyone grilled everyone and nobody got an easy pass. That term was coined and trademarked by one of the city’s greatest emcees, Theology 3, in a line where he spit: “I’m from the T-dot-O, yeah, The Screwface Capital.” It was a true statement and it was a statement we were proud of. But it was also a mentality that seemed to stunt our growth. Artists and crews who were actually dope wouldn’t get a great response from the community. The idea of collaborating was less prevalent. The segregation on a battling and competition level was dope, but in order for the city to grow on a broader scale, the fragmented pieces couldn’t stay that way. It was as if the community had built a wall around itself that only allowed active members in and we prided ourselves so much on being a part of that world that we didn’t let “fans” enter. But then we all became critical artists and it felt like we were never appreciative of what anyone else offered.
The design of “T.O. Don’t Love U” is obviously based on Milton Glaser’s popular “I Love NY” design. The heart has the same base, but I broke it up to have the LL logo in the negative space as a subliminal look and also so that anyone who tried to leech the design would be playing themselves since my logo would still be in the art. That heart is now known as the Heartbroken Logo; a main branding element for TheLegendsLeague.
The original release of this design was on a crewneck and it had an additional print on the back that said “They Love Us… We Don’t Even Like ‘Em.”. Recent re-releases of this design did not feature the print on the back.
“I’m from the T-dot-O, yeah the Screwface Capital™”.
- Theology 3, (Legendary Toronto Emcee)
Known to be the real “city of hella haters”, Toronto has a reputation for being one of the most critical and unsupportive crowds in North America. While it’s foolish to applaud poor quality product, it’s even more foolish to not recognize and support dope work – especially when it’s coming from your peers.
T.O. Don’t Love U stems from Toronto’s Screwface era but also touches on the idea that it takes much more energy to hate everyone than it does to like nobody. Often Toronto’s biggest issue has been taking too much time disliking one another and not spending enough time showing respect where it’s due.
It’s difficult to respect your craft as an artist when you’ve forgotten what it feels like to enjoy it as a fan.
If you don’t know, now you almost know.
Welcome To TheLegendsLeague
Design: Deadly Venom
Original Release: 2009
Vault Series Release: Unreleased Design, New colourway.
“Deadly Venom” was part of our Spring/Summer 2009 offering. It was a collection that featured some of our Feds, Major LLeague and Sting The Police Series.
2009 was a very critical year for me. I wasn’t completely sure how to go about growing TheLegendsLeague as a business, I was hoping to get married, wasn’t sure if I should go back to the corporate world or stay grinding and I didn’t have a foothold on what my place was in the world. A lot of things were up in the air. I was in a fight with myself to not only decide what I was going to do with my life, but also to figure out how exactly I could do it without going completely broke. My parents had finalized their split and my childhood home was sold. I had no fall back plan, nowhere to go if things went sour and was losing money fast. It was a little bit scary and a fucking lot unnerving.
I made some decisions around that time that were solely based on money. I needed to get paid and I needed to pay my rent. So I designed for shitty companies, produced shitty work to get shitty petty cheques. It was personally and creatively degrading but LL wasn’t paying the bills. So I did what I had to do no matter how much it killed me inside.
Having always been one to write and create plays on words, I got intrigued one day with the fact that MONEY in reverse looked like the word VENOM. So I started playing with the idea and created a graphic of a snake reaching at a dollar sign. At the time the company was still going by “IDEALL”, so I wanted the graphic to look like a capital letter i while using the base and stem to create an interlocking double L. The 2009 release had an “81″ to the right of the snake, representing my birth year, an “LL” on the left and only a single snake head reaching at a dollar sign that completed an upward triangle to add some additional direction and movement to the graphic.
In the original working file, I had designed the snake to have 2 heads, one at each end. The font I used was bold and less dainty than the design that was released in 2009 and the snakes were attacking each other. The version that’s been released for the Vault Series is the original, original Deadly Venom graphic.
We’re our own worst enemy in dire straits; confusing our goals with our necessities and our sense of self with our sense of urgency.
Hunger turns deadly when it starves you to the point that you’ll eat yourself alive.
If you don’t know, now you almost know.
Welcome To TheLegendsLeague
- Bryan 'be.' Espiritu