Words by Erin Hansen
European and Jamaican creative unions seem to be a recurring theme these days. In the latest example, Swiss culture brand Ma’ting has drawn the affections of dancehall’s Portmore Empire with a line of caricatured Gaza tees. Last year’s iconic Clarks shoe/anthem, a flaming “hot skull” tribute to Popcaan and eerie Mickey Mouse hands flashing the Gaza sign are just a few of the designs the label has printed for their dancehall digs. Now, with the unveiling of a Don Corleon Records line of tees and an endorsement from artistes Protoje and Pressure, Ma’Ting may be on everyting before you know it.
Not surprisingly, Gaza’s fried-eyes-boiled-brains-artiste Popcaan was the first to endorse the tees, in an online video modeling the style of his choosing– with blunt in hand. The playful engagement had some of us (ahem, me) thinking the tees had sprung from the belly of the Gaza beast itself, specifically the unique and sometimes bewildering styles of Popcaan. But consider this: Popcaan is the same artist who sported studded silver sunglasses for “Dream,” mix-matched his Clarks in “Clarks” and is now seen standing in this video in a Ma’ting shirt and motorcycle gloves, declaring Ma’Ting “a new ting this.” Touché.
With more styles in the works (including a possible full Gaza Fam spread), the line out of Switzerland could become a staple. It should certainly benefit from the endearing sales skills of Jah Vinci, who talks up the U.T.G. (Uptown Gaza) tee, stating, “Straight uptown ting, ma grandma would love it.” And let’s face it, Jah Vinci’s grandma is a big selling point (for us at least).