Throwback photo from 2002 of Angel Lugo, at our original warehouse in Clifton. Lugo actually lived there during the whole winter when he did sales for us; that’s his “apartment” setup to the left. Still not sure how Angel pulled off staying sane while consistently being inside a dingy warehouse 24/7 during one of the worst winters on record, and only eating food from Subway and the shitty Chinese restaurant next door.
Lugo is still killing it today; recent action in Newark:
Animal Bikes and Hip-Hop are synonymous. So naturally we had a lot of influence with hip-hop in our videos and ads over the years. Ralph Sinisi is also a huge 90’s hip-hop head. I think he owns every album worth owning ever. We used spend hours in the warehouse listening to all the classics pretty much every day. We also wanted to do a collab and do something typically done outside of the BMX industry at the time. If I remember correctly, the first time we made a connection it was with the Wu. Jimmy Mac from Bulldog bikes introduced me to a dude from Philly named “G”. G was apparently a DJ in Philly in the 1990’s and did a lot of promotions for Wu-Tang. He got me in a few shows in Manhattan and in Philly. We sent a few packages out to them; at the time we only made up to a 2XL shirt, so we had some 3XL and even 4XL’s made special, believe it or not. Also we had just got an account with New Era and made big sizes. So we gave them all hats too. They rocked it at shows, video interviews and photos were popping up all over the place. That was about 2006, when the company was growing a lot with the clothing and we were expanding overseas and to other far-reaches outside of NY/NJ. Next we met this dude Tariq from Staten Island. He cut hair for a lot of notable people, and he introduced us to Redman. One day in the Summer of ’06, they actually came to our warehouse in Clifton. That was probably the most happiest I ever saw Ralph in the whole time I’ve known him. Him and Redman hit it off like two long-lost cousins. We blessed them both with tons of gear, and they left in a cloud of smoke. Redman even lost his lucky lighter at the warehouse and called us looking for it after he left. Ralph and I were scrambling looking for it all over. He calls back and says, “Naaaa, I was just fucking with you guys, I got it.” Classic Redman shit.
We even got invited sometime later in a video Redman shot up in Nyack, NY. I remember waking up early on a Saturday morning picking up Vinnie Sammon, Skinny, Eddy Pollio, Oba Stanley and Matt Brown. It was a scene up there. They shot it in a shitty park by the Hudson River in a tennis court with a shitty kicker ramp set up. Vinnie 180-bar’ed over the tennis court net which made it in the video. Redman later partnered up with Tariq and opened up Richmond Hood in Staten Island. We got invited to the grand opening and we have been cool ever since.
We also did a lot with Pacewon of the Outsidaz from Newark. Pace has been a close friend of mine ever since; we keep in contact still to this day. Jared Washington’s sister actually dated their DJ (DJ Spunk), and he rode to a Young Zee song in his Props Bio back in like 2003. That’s pretty much what put Jared on the map back then. So one day we approached Pace to do a song for us for a video. He recorded a song but we didn’t end up ever using it. Pace and Mr. Green did a lot of recording together so Pace made that connection. Animal continues to do stuff with Mr. Green. Can’t forget the track Tame One did for Butcher’s part in Cuts. Butcher has been a longtime fan of Tame and the Artifacts. Also Philly Swain from Philly has done a few things in more recent times.
Other people who Animal has hooked up over the years are Joe Budden, Theodore Unit (Ghostface’s Crew), Lil Wayne (Him reaching out to us on his own terms), Raekwon and Ghost, Capone and Noreaga, a few of the Outsidaz, Nems, Philly Swain, Joe Boo, and probably a few more who I forgot. Here are some pics over the years.
Stowaway Distro in Australia just released a sweet poster of Aussie shredder Sam Waters. Here’s a quick interview with Sam about it:
This photo of the Florida white rails appeared on the DIG Instagram recently. While they may be chained up nowadays, these gems have made numerous appearances in Animal videos over the past 14 years, since day one. Here’s a few highlights: