The Polo Files: Buckshot, Sean Price, and Dallas Penn Talk The ‘Lo-End Theory


Last Sunday, the Highline Ballroom hosted The ‘Lo-End Theory, an event that celebrated a faction of the New York City hip-hop community’s obsession with Ralph Lauren Polo clothing. Conceived by Dallas Penn, the festivities included a Polo clothing swap during the day and a series of live spots from ‘Lo aficionados Roc Marciano, Sean Price, Buckshot, Meyhem Lauren, Timeless Truth and Thirstin Howl III. Flush from the night’s success, we tapped up Buckshot, Sean Price and the night’s architect for their Polo memories.

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The Polo appeal: “Polo clothing is like trying to describe hip-hop to somebody! Polo clothing was a deeper phenomenon, it wasn’t just a personal thing to me. What attracted me to Polo was their style and their cut. The way they designed their clothes was unique, it would fit, it was contoured — it wasn’t too saggy and floppy. In my neighborhood where I grew up at, Crown Heights, Polo was a big big thing. Brooklyn is the borough of Polo period. You got Brownsville, Crown Heights, Bed-Stuy, East New York, all of these places where they speak about Polo — you don’t hear too many Harlem cats talk about Polo the way Brooklyn cats do.”

Your first piece: “I was fortunate enough to get Polo Rugby hand-me-downs from my older brother. He had a Jewish godmother and we couldn’t really afford too much Polo when we was young so he gave us his Polo Rugby hand-me-downs which was like the best thing in the world ’cause all my friends thought I bought it! That was probably when I was about 13-years-old. Then at 1992 when the CP series came out, that’s when I got my own. I had everything, I had hats, jackets… I just got more stuff, like the brown with the orange stripe on the bottom when that first came out in like 1993.”

Where you copped Polo: “Ah, man, I got Polo all types of ways! Put it like that! Anyway that it was available for me, I got it. Most of the Polo in Brooklyn was from the Lo-Lifes — that’s where you’d get your Polo from. Those were the masters of Polo, the Lo-Lifes.”

Prized Polo piece: “Lo-Lifes are more technical with it as far as knowing the value of pieces that have increased, but I still have an original pair of Polo moccasins. Right now as we speak I’m shaking the Polo Cookies boot! I don’t know about pricing, but to me these aren’t the new boots with the new cut, they’re the original ones from 1992. The leather and the quality is incredible! You’d think that I bought them two years ago or something like that ’cause the quality is just that good.”

Most iconic Polo rap video: “Thirstin Howl III has some videos with all sorts of Polo in them, but there’s not a lot of people that put it out there like that. But also if you look at [Black Moon’s] “Who Got The Props,” my first video, a lot of people were in Polo but you can’t see it like that. Only way you would notice is if you went back — it wasn’t like we was promoting Polo and jumping in front of the screen with the logo.”

Sean Price

The Polo appeal: “It’s different, it’s fly. I like it! I like the Rugbys!”

Your first piece: “My man Haz gave it to me — he’s one of the founding members of the Lo-Lifes. He gave me a white turtle neck with the beige and navy blue on the wrist and the Polo police badge.”

The Polo spot: “My friends!”

Prized Polo piece: “It was a green and half-leather Cookie, the Polo Cookie goose down. That shit was dope.”

Most iconic Polo rap video: “Timeless Truth’s “Priceless”! It’s a video with me in it. Look at that video — oh my God!”

Dallas Penn

The Polo appeal: “Polo clothing is regarded as a luxury brand so the idea is that you have money. You have money to afford this clothing. Along with Benetton and Calvin Klein, it was what teenagers wanted because it was fashionable and colorful.”

Your first piece: “I got a piece from my grandmother as a Christmas present when I was 14-years-old. It was a sweater, but that didn’t really begin my obsession, which was a year and a half later.”

The Polo spot: “My Polo obsession began when I was chasing a kid on the subway that was wearing this jacket that was super-colorful and it was just dope. I’d never seen that model before and I was willing to do almost anything to get that jacket… I didn’t get the jacket from that kid but that was the beginning of my obsession and it hasn’t ended yet. But I don’t have to steal clothing any more. I haven’t had to do that in 25 years.”

Prized Polo piece: “One of my favorite pieces is a shearling ranch jacket. It’s just so well made, it’s dope. It’s a sheepskin ranch jacket, so basically what a denim jacket is but sheepskin material and shearling lined. It’s just dope.”

Most iconic Polo rap video: “I feel like Zhiggie videos were heavy. They got a video for “Toss It Up” that just had a lot of people wearing different pieces. You can always go back to the Wu-Tang Clan’s video, “Can It All Be So Simple,” where Raekwon wears a Snow Beach [jacket] — that’s probably for the current generation of collectors a super iconic video, but I’d say Zhiggie’s “Toss It Up” and all the different pieces in that video. They were the first rap crew where everyone would dress in a different piece of Polo.”

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