The first time I met SAINt JHN in 2019, he walked into the GQ office and cleared his throat.
“The people of GQ! He bellowed into our open, quiet, library workspace. “My name is SAINT JHN. You might not know who I am yet, but remember that moment, because you will be. “
When I catch up with JHN in June and tell him this story, he shows his million-watt incisors. “I was like Babe Ruth when he pointed the bat,” he told me on Zoom, behind the wheel of a sunroof Porsche. “I called my shot at GQ.”
He really did. After a decade of painstaking conspiracy – written for Usher and dropping verses on Beyonce singles – the Brooklyn-by-way-of-Guyana-raised rapper’s stock skyrocketed last year thanks to “Roses (Imanbek Remix ) ”, One of the biggest of 2020, the most catchy hits and the most unmissable.
“Do you know when you’re about to go out, and you look at yourself in the mirror and change your outfit 30 times?” I did it, ”he says of his pre-fame days. “Then last year I walked through the door and everyone told me I was beautiful. But I had been dressing for a long time.
Now that he’s arrived, he’s making the most of it. There’s new music on the way, big plans for his Not A Cult clothing line, maybe even a big screen appearance or two in the works – and SAINt JHN doesn’t bring a lack of confidence to it all. .
“I am certain of the human being that I am, and I would have applied that to any profession,” he says. “It was music, but if I was just on a boat, paddling, I would have said to the water, ‘I’m this sexy.'”
Here he shares some of his favorite things so that you too can dress like you’re famous.
Staples out of service
Like the rest of us, SAINt JHN adopted a more comfortable uniform during his 40s that he struggles to give up. “I’ll never be comfortable,” he said. “I am comfortable forever. I don’t want to live a version of life that doesn’t allow me to wear sweatshirts. If you have a job, you have to protest your job until they let you come to work sweaty.
contrary to the rest of us, however, JHN’s comfy uniform comes straight from two of the hottest designer brands on the planet. “The Pyer Moss nylon sweatshirts are my favorite. They have a windbreaker feel and I love the length – Kerby hit them well, as they cut just past the ankle. It’s perfect, because I want my socks to be seen. Full display. It’s TV time for my socks. I wear Bottega cashmere socks all day. Do not put them away or nothing.
Very good footwork
“These days I’m really heavy in my Lanvin skate shoes, the ones with the big tongue and big laces. I am life in those right now. And whenever I’m not in those, I’m in my Bottega mules. They’re like the Crocs, only sexier.
When I ask JHN about the most useful thing he keeps in his car, he immediately hands one of those tiny bottles of moisturizer to the camera. “It’s an endorsement. Get this on disk. Love yourself. Rub that on your elbows, your hands, whatever. Never be ashen. Don’t play yourself. Do not disrespect yourself or the mother you come from.
On the road, JHN always carries two specific skincare products with him. “I always have to have a moisturizer with SPF 30 on me, and these days I love Neostrata,” he says. “And then, no matter where I am, no matter where I live, I always keep a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s there, especially the rose scent.” Everything else is crazy to me. I don’t want peppermint. I don’t want lavender. Pink. ”
JHN’s latest online purchase? “I bought navel rings from Amazon. I don’t have a belly button piercing, I just put them in my ears.
As anyone who follows JHN on Instagram can attest, the man is a verified gym rat. Lately, he’s been relying on a few elements to keep himself cool during his toughest sessions. “I abuse those Supreme gloves, ”he says. “They’re motocross gloves, but they’re great for training. I also like to shadowbox in it, because you see the red and yellow flashing. It makes me look a little cooler than I should.
Downstairs, JHN stays in the Swoosh. “I usually wear Nike Tech shorts because the Nike colourways are exceptional – lately I’ve been in pinks, salmon. And I need them to reach mid-thigh. Nothing beyond my knees these days. It’s not 1992.
Shades of Superstar
“I love a pair of black shades with a chrome finish. I like it when there is a curvature, when they are cut well, instead of being oversized. I don’t like glasses that look like a visor. I’m not trying to hide.
“I’m traveling with a Tumi, the big black and shiny seal. I put all the tags of the places I have been to the side. Every time I go to a new country I buy a tag so it’s like my passport stamps are stuck on the side of my bag. Maybe I shouldn’t have told people, now they’re picking up my shit at the airport.
A version of this story originally appeared in the September 2021 issue with the headline “Blowing Up Big”.
Photographs by Martin Brun
Stylized by Jon Tietz
Grooming by Barry white for barrywhitemensgrooming.com
Made by Ksenia Golub