Virgil Abloh’s Journey in Music

Virgil Abloh’s Journey in Music
  • PublishedAugust 7, 2023

Virgil Abloh is no stranger to pushing the boundaries of creativity. From designing high-end fashion at Louis Vuitton to becoming a leading voice in streetwear with his brand Off-White, Abloh has always been a trailblazer in the fashion industry. However, his journey in music has been equally as dynamic and exciting. Abloh has spent years carving out his own space in the music world, from working as a DJ to curating festivals and collaborating with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. 

Beginning of the Journey

Virgil Abloh’s journey in music began way before he became a household name in the fashion industry. As a teenager growing up in Rockford, Illinois, Abloh was already exploring his love for music while also pursuing his passion for art and fashion. However, it wasn’t until he moved to Wisconsin for college that his music journey truly began to take off. 

A Genius DJ at Parties

While studying civil engineering at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Abloh began to discover his talent for DJing at local house parties. He quickly became known for his innovative mixes that blended different genres of music together in unexpected ways. He managed to garner a local following with his tunes and innate talent. 

Abloh’s sets were energetic, and eclectic, and drew inspiration from his wide range of musical interests, including hip-hop, punk rock, and electronic dance music.  His dynamic music style added an infectious energy to the parties he played at, and he soon became a sought-after DJ at his university and beyond. 

As his reputation grew, Abloh scored gigs at bigger and more high-profile events, including Chicago’s Smart Bar, a premier dance club in the city. He used his platform to experiment and curate unique events, blending music, art, and fashion in exciting new ways.

Kanye Says “You’re Hired!”  and the Rest was History 

One of the biggest moments in Abloh’s musical journey was his collaboration with none other than Kanye West. Abloh served as West’s creative director for over a decade, working on some of the rapper’s biggest projects, including album artwork, fashion shows, and even tours. Their creative partnership was groundbreaking, pushing the boundaries of both music and fashion like never before.

However, Abloh’s work with West was just the tip of the iceberg. In 2017, he launched his own music festival, called “Lil Liam’s Hype Beach Party,” in Miami, Florida. The festival was a unique blend of music, art, and fashion, reflecting Abloh’s diverse interests and creative vision. It featured performances by some of the biggest names in music, including A$AP Rocky, Virgil Abloh himself, and Kaytranada, among others.

Another notable moment in Abloh’s career came in 2019 when he earned a Grammy nomination for his work on Travis Scott’s album, “Astroworld.” Abloh designed the album’s artwork, which was praised for its innovative use of colors and graphics. The nomination was a testament to Abloh’s versatility as a creative artist, showing that his talent extended far beyond the world of fashion and design.

 A$AP’s Music Video Masterpieces Through Virgil’s Lens

Did you know that he’s also made his mark in the world of music videos? In fact, Abloh has worked on several music videos with A$AP Rocky, one of the most influential figures in hip-hop today.

First up is “RAF,” a collaborative track featuring A$AP Rocky, Playboi Carti, Lil Uzi Vert, and Frank Ocean. The music video, which was directed by Abloh, features each rapper dressed head-to-toe in vintage Raf Simons’ clothing, paying homage to the legendary designer. The video’s minimalist visuals and muted color palette perfectly complement the song’s laid-back vibe, creating a mood that feels both low-key and luxurious.

Another standout music video collaboration between Abloh and A$AP Rocky is “Praise The Lord (Da Shine).” This visually stunning video was shot in London and captures the energy and essence of the city in a way that feels both authentic and aspirational. The video’s visuals, which were created by Abloh and his team at Off-White, seamlessly blend fashion and street culture, showing us a fresh and exciting new side of the city.

Finally, we can’t forget the music video for “Babushka Boi,” A$AP Rocky’s latest single. This video, which was directed by Nadia Lee Cohen, features Abloh’s signature style in both the visuals and costumes. The video’s bright color palette and surreal imagery perfectly complement the song’s hard-hitting beat, creating a visual experience that feels both bold and playful.

Abloh and Boyz Noize Link Up For Hot Tunes

If there’s one thing Virgil Abloh knows how to do, it’s collaborate. Now, Virgil Abloh has teamed up with German producer Boyz Noize to release his first-ever EP. 

The EP titled “Orvnge,” is a five-track project that showcases Abloh’s ability to create music that feels both inspirational and experimental. The release differs from Abloh’s previous works with its focus on electronic and techno sounds that set the tone for a powerful and engaging listening experience. 

What’s more, the EP is accompanied by artwork created by Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, who also designed the artwork for Abloh’s Louis Vuitton collection. The colorful graphics, complete with smiley faces and psychedelic patterns, feel like a natural fit for the bold and dynamic soundscapes of the EP. 

DJ on the Radio

First up is Abloh’s weekly Beats 1 radio show titled “Televised Radio.”  The show, which premiered in 2018 and still airs regularly, features Abloh playing an eclectic mix of music, from hip-hop to electronic to indie. Not only does Abloh share his favorite tracks with listeners, but he also provides insight into the songs and artists he’s featuring, giving fans a behind-the-scenes look at his creative process.

Another notable radio appearance from Abloh was his guest spot on Benji B’s show on BBC Radio 1. During his appearance, Abloh shared some of his favorite tracks with listeners, showcasing his incredibly diverse taste in music. He even debuted some unreleased material from his own music project, giving fans a sneak peek at what’s to come.

Finally, we can’t forget Abloh’s participation in Boiler Room’s “The Conversation” series. During the series, Abloh sat down with other creatives to discuss all things music, fashion, and art. With his unique perspective and passion for innovation, Abloh provided some truly thought-provoking insights into the creative process and his experience working in multiple fields. 

When Virgil Abloh started out as a DJ, he had no idea that it would take him on a journey to become one of the most influential people in pop culture. His music journey is just the beginning of the many ways in which he has pushed the boundaries of creativity, breaking free of the typical norms and leaving a mark in the music industry that continues to inspire today.

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