It took us a while to catch up with this dude, but we’re glad we did–you’ll see why with his picks for the week. Born and raised in Houston, Chase B lived in Philly for a couple of years before settling in New York City and landing gigs spinning at some of the city’s best clubs and as the resident DJ for Complex Media’s illroots music brand. Recently, he’s toured with Travis Scott and dropped a couple of mixtapes with the illroots Radio Mixtape Series (all of which I highly recommend). At 23 years old, this guy’s just getting started. Keep an eye out for him this year and make sure to visit his site and give his music a listen.
Sunday in New Balance 998 – “American Rebel” Red Suede. I love these shoes, and New Balances in general. As a company, they’ve been killing it for the past couple of years and I don’t see them slowing down anytime soon. Other than Nike, NB is my favorite footwear brand.
Mariana Mandanas: You been traveling everywhere lately–what projects did you just wrap up and what’s in store for you this year?
Chase Benjamin: I just put out illroots radio volume 5 and it’s all over the place so I’m really pleased with that. I finally launched my site in November so a lot of 2014 is gonna be about developing and expanding that. 2013 was huge for me as far as gigs go so I know 2014 is gonna be insane. I can’t fuckin wait honestly. And a lot more tapes and mixes of course.
MM: What’s the illroots/Illamerica movement about? I read that it’s part of Complex or something…
CB: Well, I work with the music brand illroots and it’s in the Complex Media Group. Illamerica is basically what illroots is all about. It’s the whole movement, and it’s a sick clothing line. I’m the DJ for the whole operation, and illroots radio is a monthly mixtape I put out with them. It’s kinda like my claim to fame right now.
MM: How’d you get into music and start spinning?
CB: I’ve been into music since I was a little kid. I remember being in the car with my Dad and “Let Me Clear My Throat” by DJ Kool came on. That’s probably what initially got me hooked. I loved how the audience reactions were still on the track. That shit really sounded like a party was goin down in the car haha. My dad got me hip to a lot of rappers from the 80s, Slick Rick, Doug E Fresh, Dana Dane and all them, so a lot of my influence comes from there. They were such pure entertainers, I get all of my stage presence from them. I didn’t start DJing until about three years ago though. I saw some footage of Kid Capri and told myself that I had to do that one day.
Tuesday in Ewing Athletics “Georgetown.” I just think this is a good sneaker. I don’t know how Pat played ball in these, but it’s a dope sneaker and this is the best colorway in my opinion. Shoutout to Ewing Athletics for making such a strong comeback.
MM: Music and sneakers that you’ve been rotating a lot lately?
CB: I’ve been on mostly hip-hop and r&b lately, there’s so much shit coming out now and I try to be early on everything. I like PartyNextDoor’s shit a lot. I like Jhene Aiko’s shit a lot. And of course I’m huge on mixtapes, I probably listen Dedication 2 at least twice a week. And with kicks I’ve been wearing J’s a lot more lately since it got colder outside. I’ve been wearing my bred 13s a lot.
MM: Do your musical influences affect your personal style and shoe game at all?
CB: I don’t think my musical influences do as much as my actual craft [DJing] does. I really look up to dudes like DJ AM (R.I.P.) Clark Kent and Greg Street. Not just because of their styles but what they’ve contributed to the culture and the industry. Clark [Kent] and Greg have really helped me out a lot when it comes to shaping my career. And yeah, their shoe games are unfair [laughs]. I feel like music and sneakers go hand in hand. Both are timeless because there’s endless things you can do with them.
Wednesday in Reebok Classic x Mita Sneakers 30th Anniversary Collab. These and the “Burn Rubber” joints were my favorites out of the 30th Anniversary collabs, so I’m happy as hell I got these. Only Mita could come up with this colorway.
MM: What kind of kicks are you wearing on a night out or when you have a gig? Are you one of those dudes that’s wearing his best kicks to the club?
CB: I usually keep it pretty chill when I have to go out. It’s dark in the club so nobody can see your shoes anyway, especially not in the DJ booth [laughs]. But what’s on your feet is always extremely important, just don’t step on my shit [laughs].
MM: How about a little party advice for our readers? Dopest cities and spots for music and going out?
CB: In NY I’m usually at The Darby and 1OAK. Those two spots really broke me into the NY nightlife scene so I’all always be attached to them. Crazy because those are like the two most exclusive spots in the city [laughs], so I’m really fortunate to be able to rock out in there. In LA the Toxic Day Party is always live, just as many celebrities as there are security guards, rocking that party is always fun. The LA club scene is so young and unified, I love it out there.
MM: You play that good good in the evenings, but what are you doing in the day?
CB: My whole day is pretty much music related. I’m either updating my crates in Serato or just going through the Internet looking for new shit to get put on to. I’m always scheming on my next move, seeing what isn’t being done around me that needs to be. A lot of times I’ll just get with the homies and mob through soho. Being a full time DJ is pretty sweet [laughs].
Thursday in Air Jordan VII “Hare.” I get so much backlash for wearing these, haha. I’ll never give them up though. I probably wear these 3 days out of the week on average, but this would be a pretty boring feature if I did that this week. Everybody has a pair of beaters and this is mine.
MM: Let’s talk about those Hares. It’s mad funny that you get a lot of heat for wearing those all day. Why do you think people hate on em so much and why do you keep wearing them?
CB: It’s really my friends that hate on them the most/ I get so many compliments from strangers when I wear them though. My dad said I can’t be “the man” with dirty sneakers on and I somewhat agree with him [laughs]. I love them though. The colorway is so versatile. And now they just feel like socks on my feet because they’re so broken in. I feel like nothing can go wrong when I have those shoes on, that might be weird, but yeah…
Friday in Stussy x Timberland boots. Living in New York you have to have a pair of Timbs, and Stussy is my go-to streetwear brand, so these were a no-brainer. Shout out to Neek and Omar over at Stussy for the lob.
MM: Most prized sneaker you own or your best sneaker come up?
CB: I picked up these De La Soul SBs from the Dekalb Flea Market in Brooklyn about a year and a half ago. I got them for less than 100 bucks. The store was actually Mr. Throwback, now they have an actual shop in the Lower East Side. Shout out to them.
MM: Releases you’re looking forward to or shoes you’re still itchin to get?
CB: A whole bunch of shit for real. When I decided to leave school and move to NYC, I left just about my entire wardrobe in DC and never looked back. I have a lot of shit to replace. I’m looking forward to a lot of these New Balance releases though. And I gotta get my hands on some Atmos Air Max 90s, the duck camo and infrareds.
Saturday in Red Nike Lunar Fly 306. A lot of people don’t like these, but I love them. I think they look amazing on foot and they feel even better. And the price of them is even better than all of that. I ran track in high school, and I always feel like I can still do that when I put these on.
MM: Based on what you’re wearing this week it looks like you have a big variety of shoes and you show all the brands love, but what’s one sneaker trend, model, silhouette, etc. that you can’t jump on?
CB: Yeah, I’ve met some pretty good people over the last couple years so I try to hold them down when I can. But yo…I really wish Carmelo Anthony had a better signature shoe. He’s like my favorite player in the league but you’ll never catch me dead in his shoes [laughs]. I can’t do those high end, designer sneakers either. Most of them just look goofy and they’re way too trendy.