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The Rife Team

Here’s your Middle-Class Roadman Starter Pack

A list of recommended items for rebor roadmen. 

There’s been a notable decline of middle-class popularity in pop culture lately, meaning there’s a new wave of teens abandoning their bourgeois backgrounds in exchange for a cooler, more working-class identity. UK rap, grime and drill is more popular than ever and documents the socio-economic effects of a council estate lifestyle – so typically, the middle classes have found a new image to capitalise on to gain social kudos. The ‘roadman’, as described in Cambridge Dictionary as “someone, usually a young man, who spends a lot of time on the streets and may use or sell drugs or cause trouble” has become the new desired subculture – instead of asking daddy for a pony, prosperous teens are now asking for Adidas trackies.

If you feel your not-so-rags-to-riches story won’t get you in with the real council estate cool kids, then take Migos’ Bad and Boujee and your family’s wealth as a mandate to tailor your new hood persona. This starter pack will equip you with some tools to cover your tracks that boarding school left behind as you journey into block life with all the Iceland budget trimmings that come with it.

SK Air Max 97

Add to your credentials whilst staying true to your newly-sprouted grime roots by copping the trophy purchase of some SK Air Max 97s. This collaboration between grime pioneer Skepta and the culturally rich Nike brand will provide the clout and comfort you need when practising your road bop but can also be worn in the safety of your home when a Black Lives Matter march passes through your local ends. In true Skepta fashion you can unashamedly put your Crocs in the bin and say, “that’s not me”.

Urban Dictionary

So, your first introduction to UK drill was through your dads LBC debate on ‘whether Drill music incites violence’ and in an act of defiance found yourself switching to BBC 1Xtra trying to decode what Headie One was on about when he said “Bad B come to the niz”. Too hard for you? Don’t worry, you can sleep easy with the knowledge that online services like Urban Dictionary will save you from making the embarrassing mistake of using the word ‘wargwan’ when saying goodbye to the Hampshire mandem. Urban Dictionary will give you near to accurate definitions of words and phrases commonly used in roadman culture so you can blend in when conversing with locals during your next trip to Peckham Rye. Selecting the right sequence of words shouldn’t be hard for you seeing as your private tuition instilled the importance of proper diction, but you may need to unlearn some of that upper-echelon enunciation.

Adidas X Palace

When you’re coming from a £1,000,000 home the odds are stacked against you when you need to appear authentic spitting along to lyrics about trapping in a bando at a Giggs concert. Don’t flip your hummus lid, there’s a way to hide some of that privilege by asking your mum to buy the right designer garms for you. North Face puffer jackets do a great job at concealing years of stability, an Armani pouch is a great way to keep your entitlement safe, and you can disguise the snobby tilted head in a Stone Island bucket hat, but your mother’s accountant can rest assured knowing her money is being well spent when you choose to buy Adidas X Palace. This collaboration between the hypebeast-favoured skateboarding name and the urban sportswear brand is the perfect synergy of white meets ‘black’ culture and epitomises your endearing interest into the lives of coloured folk. Not so unaffordable that the trust fund safety net will be discovered, and not too cheap that the lads in Surrey won’t include you in ‘gap yah’ activities.

Morley’s Fried Chicken

Tired of finding the fridge constantly stocked up with organic Waitrose goods? Frustrated by constantly having to pick flax and chia seeds out of your teeth? Let’s be honest, a mountain of mozzarella and pesto lentil curls doesn’t align with a roadman’s budget. Thankfully the videos of the Chicken Shop Connoisseur made chicken shops a palatable and fun place for everyone, so you can boost your culture points by heading to South London and straight into fried chicken shop chain, Morley’s. Thanks to our Tory government, knife crime is now synonymous with black youts after tactfully putting anti-knife crime slogans on chicken boxes across the UK, which only adds to this highly esteemed establishment’s edginess. It will definitely aid your perceived intimidation so make sure to capitalise on your experience by hashtagging #morleys #friedchicken. Still a bit too shook to actually go there after hearing about fatal stabbings outside chicken shops in London? Swerve the curb by ordering Morley’s on Uber Eats without having to interrupt your Made in Chelsea binge.

Urban Streetwear

Ever been down to the job centre? Of course not – nepotism is nearly as fair as your dad’s offshore tax haven. Positioning yourself in the right field of work will add another layer to your persona. Let’s be honest, you won’t go as far as to become a ‘street entrepreneur’ or construction worker, but why not put all the transferable knowledge of profit and extortion and set up an urban streetwear brand? Show off your philanthropy by getting people of colour to pose in your clothes and if anyone excuses you of cultural appropriation just tell them you prefer the term ‘cultural exchange.’

Gang signs

You’ve just had your first experience of a grime rave and after putting in your 10,000 hours you even went as far as to try out a gun finger skank. One thing you failed to anticipate when the cameras came out was your automatic all-boys school pose that radiates nothing but smug respectability. To counter this you’ll need to certify your status with the use of gang signs in your quest of social media validation. Try spelling the initials to your name with your fingers, and then when you’ve mastered that, allude to some gang affiliation by throwing up your postcode. For beginners, make the classic rock hand sign you used to make when listening to Fall Out Boy and spin it round so the back of your hand faces the camera. Your pictures will instantly become more gang and your family’s Masonic ring will get some limelight as well.

We hope you use this introductory guide in any situation where being authentic to you just isn’t the in-thing.

In all realness, just stop begging it.

Hit us up with more items that we can add to our starter pack on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.