8 BALL JACKET #tbt -------------------
The Eight-Ball era seems to run between mid-1990 and early 1992, when the craze exited inner cities and went to hicksville (“Gee! That there jacket done got a pool ball on the back!“), but managed to act as the totem for murderous mugging over a costly clothing piece. Schooly D reinforced this on the intro to 1991’s ‘Your Worst Nightmare’ from ‘How A Black Man Feels.’
And here’s the kicker – kids were rocking bootlegs anyway. The real thing came courtesy of leather impressario Michael Hoban and his North Beach Leather brand. Accounts of the time have kids citing prices between $150 and $300 for their take on Hoban’s Eight-Ball which retailed at around $800. The suede version my local market was shifting to older kids in my UK hometown was undoubtedly a knockoff too. Periodically I see onetime ‘faces’ in the area who’ve hit hard times since ’93, forced into a purgatory of wearing the eight-ball year-after-year out of necessity, but carrying the lucky but battered number eight with a certain pride, perhaps a souvenir of their tenure as top boy in the town.
Hoban’s claimed his origins were with a Roxbury-based teen street gang he ran called the Warriors, and his nickname was ‘Hobo’, which crops up in the label of many of his leather designs (I think the Eight-Ball was part of another collection of colourful sports-inspired pieces, ‘WHEREMI’) and in the ’60s, based in San Francisco he, and business partner Frank Morgan were creating far-out leathers.