We're honored to introduce Rack-Lo, founder of the infamous Lo-Life crew, onboard as the newest FRANK151 columnist. Since the '80s Rack has been living that Double L life, putting two Ls up in the name of Love and Loyalty, while dipped head to toe in Polo Ralph Lauren.
For his first column Rack delves into his history, explaining the origins of his name and what being a Lo-Life means to him. Accompanied by photos from Rack's personal archive, this should provide readers with a good insight into the culture of an infamous gang surrounded by negative beginnings that managed to turn it into something positive years later.
The Origin Of Rack-Lo (The Early Days) 1980s
Acquiring the name Rack-Lo was no easy task. I basically started developing the name in the early 1980s. What’s so amazing about it is that my name coincides with my lifestyle and my persona.
There’s even a definition to my name. Rack-Lo means to rack up, to steal, to take without permission. And that’s really where the name derives from. My name comes right out of hip-hop culture. Hip-hop culture had a big influence on me and my upbringing. So pretty much Rack-Lo The Lo-Life was born in the golden era of hip-hop.
At first it was just Rack, and then years later the “Lo” was thrown in the mix because of my Lo-Life affiliation. Furthermore, the “Lo” also expressed my obsession with Polo—my fascination for staying Polo down head to toe. My fascination with being one of the world’s most flyest boosters with street cred, and hip-hop history, and appeal.
Boosting: Rackin’ Up
I represented my name to the fullest degree. When we would go rackin’, I always racked up a large amount of goods. Even in terms of my wardrobe, I kept and maintained a large collection of Polo clothing, accessories, bathrobes etc. I was one of those Lo-Lifes who had the most Polo. I collected heavy, and there were others who did the same thing. We pretty much competed with each other to see who could collect the most Polo. And I must say people recognized me for that. Damn I had sticky fingers. I was swift, very fast, very accurate and precise.
I was so clever that I was able to steal from you in a blink of an eye. I stayed dipped in the latest Polo fashion. I stayed flossing, flaming, and flashing. As I stated in one of my songs: “I’m A Lo-Life For Life.” The Lo-Life lives in me and is a part of who I am. It’s a part of my character. It was a part of my everyday life. I lived it daily. I reigned supreme in my era of taking money.
In Marcus Garvey Village and on St. Johns and Utica, where the Lo-Life epidemic first began, new school boosters and old school boosters knew of Rack-Lo, and I most definitely was knowledgeable of their histories in this Polo dynasty. My pedigree was getting money how Rack-Lo gets it. I elevated my game status daily. I always stayed at the top of the line. I was one of the best boosters, so I was associated with the best in the profession—many of them were Lo-Lifes.
The Polo Godfather Rack-Lo (25 Years Of Wearing Ralph Lauren)
Also referred to as the Polo Godfather emerging on the Polo RL scene in 1986, I literally began collecting and styling myself in strictly Ralph Lauren garments at age 14. From the streets of Brooklyn, NY, I have pioneered many different fashion styles with heavy emphasis on the Lo-Life famous dress code: "Lo Down" Polo everything. I’ve also furthered the legacy with continuous work ethic in music, performing, writing, jewelry design, clothing design, event coordination, and more. I'm the catalyst in uniting two of the world’s most famous Polo crews (SJP) and (MGV) respectively, resulting in global Polo Ralph Lauren dominance of style.
Wearing Polo Ralph Lauren garments always gave me a sense of accomplishment and success while realizing and pursuing my dreams living in the inner city.
Throughout the years I have managed to continue my reign in the fashion world, influencing many fashion minds and globally inspiring hundreds and thousands of people to also wear, style, and collect Polo Ralph Lauren. This has visibly become a Polo Ralph Lauren lifestyle "conglomerate" that crosses all ethnicities, ages and financial brackets.
As the saying goes, wearing Polo Ralph Lauren clothing is more of a lifestyle. As a Polo RL connoisseur, I live the life that Ralph Lauren first aspired to reach, as it relates to the clothing. I dress the part and view the clothing as a resource that enables me to further my cause and mission in all walks of life, all stemming from philantrophy and community activism.
As a vintage Polo RL collector, many of my favorite Polo Ralph Lauren symbols remain to be those of the 1980s and 1990s, considered timeless fashion artifacts.
Making The Transition From Negative To Positive
Serving as a straight innovator in the lifestyle and culture throughout NYC's tri-state area and beyond, my portfolio continues to grow. I seem to undoubtedly find new and entertaining avenues to keep the fuse lit for generations to come. My outlook is to combine fashion, business, education, socialism, drive, consistency, and vision with a keen focus on community involvement and youth advocacy to obtain my idea of the "American Dream".
Growing up from teenager to adulthood while living the life of Ralph Lauren clothing ideals and creating and carving out my own niche continues to be a fantastic and life-changing journey.