As I write this post I am currently on my second plane today heading home from the east coast. After DJing Sunday night before Memorial Day and getting ready to take off home on Tuesday, a horrible phone call turned this day into a gloomy day that can never be forgotten.
Jonas Bevacqua was a huge inspiration to not only myself, but to Sleeping Giant Music as a company. When the company was just starting out he pushed us to keep going and helped not only support our brand, but created his own brand that turned into a worldwide empire. L-R-G (Lifted Research Group) was the first company that basically invented the word “streetwear” in clothing expos across the nation.
I can remember as far back as 2000 to 2001 when I first received an L-R-G | Visionaries collaboration 7” record. Not only was this the first time I had seen a company that pushed the limits and represented people who loved their passion, but, this was the first time I had seen a brand of clothing and was instantly hooked. Their slogan was simple “Underground Inventive, Overground Effective.” On the tags of their clothes they go into detail about the people they represent and the people who pay the rent with their passions; think of them as a support group. At the time this was some next level clothing… streetwear at it’s finest.
During this time I was living by San Diego State college where I personally grew up. I remember going to DJ College parties with Chris Cutz eventually running into some people that would change the course of our paths immensely. I remember DJing with DJ Albie, hanging with our good friend Isaiah and also DJing at an old clothing store on 4th avenue for Kevin. Albie and Kevin eventually left San Diego to work for L-R-G after school.
Within a few years, Isaiah started to do some street teamwork for L-R-G in the San Diego area and eventually reconnected us back with Albie and Kevin. At the time Blest, oneson and myself had just birthed Sleeping Giant Music, and had just released the companies first LP, a compilation entitled “The Awakening”. I remember going up to the L-R-G office and personally handing CDs to them. They accepted us with open arms and started to support our first efforts as a company. At our first show with People Under the Stairs at the late Aubergine, they helped with giveaways and a gigantic canvas to sparkle the walls. Not only was I impressed with the success of L-R-G at the time, but, I was blown away by their consistent effort to have great design, remain different and be leaders of the pack.
It was from this point forward where friendship would develop with Jonas and his good friend Kevion that changed part of my life. Jonas began to come down to San Diego quite regularly along with the L-R-G group. I began heading out to the MAGIC and ASR conventions representing L-R-G to the fullest I could, not only did I believe in his brand, I truly supported them as they supported us. At this time Jonas began dating a very close friend of mine, and for us, this was a time that none of us will forget. I even remember when “The Awakening” landed the distribution deal – I told Jonas about a meeting in Los Angeles and he immediately wanted to take us to lunch before our meeting and asked what it was for. I casually said it’s a small distribution deal, nothing major, limited units. He grabbed me by the arm and said: “Do you know how many t-shirts L-R-G started with…300.” I’ll never forget that night.
After the many trips to San Diego, I eventually met his coach Kevion and was fortunate to get a coaching call from him. I began to develop a deeper interest in the business side of things. Not only did I want Sleeping Giant Music to become more successful, yet I wanted to create a brand just like Jonas and his team had.
As time went on, our good friend and marketing extraordinaire for L-R-G asked us to DJ a few L-R-G events and put together L-R-G mixtape for MAGIC Spring 2007. Jonas put a giant panda on the cover, and that design will always remain one of my personal favorites. The mixtape received rave reviews and from this day forward I remember looking at where Sleeping Giant Music started and what it became.
That was only the beginning. We eventually did two collaboration t-shirts and L-R-G always backed our parties as we shared many experiences together as business colleagues, peers and most importantly, friends…
Jonas had a great staff and a large support group, some of them who cannot be forgotten. DJ Albie, one who supports SGM to the fullest, helped make a lot of the collaborations a reality, Kevion from Kid Millionares, the man who coached Jonas through his whole career, and Isaiah who no longer works for L-R-G, but constantly was in their ear about “these kids from San Diego.” Kevin, Lumbo, Weezy, Matty…the list goes on and there are too many to mention that have associated with myself and the rest of the Sleeping Giant Music crew.
Jonas Bevacqua and L-R-G have truly been a deep inspiration in my life and business. If there is one person I can say I’ve seen rise to the top and never let go, it would be him. My deepest condolences go out to his family, friends, colleagues, and anyone connected to him through his life. He is truly an inspiration; he will be missed and never forgotten.
This is Freddie Harb aka DJ Fresh One signing out…