Sitting down with Navroz Lalani prior to meeting Jeff Spec, her infatuation with him is evident. “Truth be told, I used to stop in for a coffee mostly so I could see what Jeff was wearing. I would stare at him and listen to the amazing tunes he had selected while sipping a delicious latte.” According to Navroz, the only worthy crushes are style crushes.
Toronto has no shortage of talented and well-dressed individuals, yet Jeff manages to stand out. Originally from Vancouver, Jeff has been writing and performing music for twenty years. He’s independently releasing his newest album in August and will be touring Europe in September and North America shortly thereafter. Navroz mentions just how relatable his lyrics are, and how he raps about everyday issues.
“I used to be more about getting personal and serious, discussing issues, but now I’m trying to write funny punchlines. A lot of the time, I want to consider the live performance element of it,” explains Jeff. He says his new music is mostly about entertaining himself and in turn, entertaining his audience.
In terms of his personal style, Jeff seamlessly combines elements of his favourite brand, Ralph Lauren with markedly gangster rap influences. When we meet, he’s wearing Bausch & Lomb Ray Bans that are either vintage or old stock, a tartan Ralph Lauren (of course) button-down, heritage Levis, and a Timex watch with a gorgeous leather band. “I’m stingy, I like to get a good deal.” And that’s one of the most satisfying aspects of Jeff’s style: his blending of economically-priced items and how well he puts everything together. He likes to research his clothes before he buys them.
What impresses me most about Jeff’s style, aren’t the pieces themselves, but the knowledge he has about each designer. “Ralph Lauren is the most hip hop clothing brand that has ever existed,” he tells me. And then boldly claims, “I would say the only reason Ralph Lauren has transcended Ivy League is because of rap.”
The triple threat is also a barista at Ideal Coffee, one of the city’s most respected coffee haunts, where he handpicks many of the funky, sultry tunes that echo through the café. Jeff has been writing since the 90s, and draws upon generations and generations of soul, funk, and jazz music, which lends itself best to the kind of music he likes to make. He specifically mentions the term boom bap rap, which I later have to look up. Jeff’s extensive knowledge of what I like to call the holy trinity: music, coffee, and fashion makes him the perfect style crush and style icon. I think Navroz said it best, “if I were a dude, I’d dress like you.”
Listen to some of Jeff’s music on SoundCloud.