Updated: Oct 23, 2021
It is common knowledge that Hip hop culture and/or rap music as we know it originated from Americans and the culture and music spread the world over. The culture includes and is not limited to the dressing, the use of slang, the way they greet and hug saying yo, yo almost all the time. The Hip hop culture started in the streets of New York, moved to los Angeles, then to Baltimore, Chicago, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Atlanta, St Louis just to mention a few. It is a fact that the African American inspired Hip hop has influenced youth dressing from Pakistan to Paraguay, from New York to Adelaide .
The dress code is an evolutionary thing of course. In the 70's there was soul with the likes of James brown wearing bell bottom trousers and high heeled platform shoes. You also had P funk Super stars like Parliament.
Hip hop music really started with the likes of Curtis Blow, Grand master Flash and the Furious Five, Sugar Hill gang, their dressing was a little conventional but had some style too and some of their dressing started influencing the dress code, and fashion designers like Adidas, Le Cog sporting started making the kinds of clothes the stars wore for the public. Because it is a given that Celebrity culture almost always influences youth culture. In the 80's Hip hop artist were wearing track suits , sheep skins and bumper jackets, Clark shoes and snickers. I should not forget to mention the Jerry Curls
Sugar Hill Gang
Gucci, Fendi, Louis Vitton, caught the bug and started designing the kinds of clothes worn by these Hip hop elite for everybody else. In fact once the African American Hip hop celebrity wore the clothes it became fashion. These Fashion came with accessories like Large eyeglasses, Kangol hats, bucket hats, Name plates, name belts, and heavy gold jewelry.
Men wore heavy gold chains and women wore heavy ear rings
Big Daddy Kane
Salt & Pepper
Anyway you splice it the 80's Hip hop culture influenced the dressing of the day world over, Timberland, Tommy Hilfiger, copied these designs and sold clothes the world over.
The preppy looks that caught up in the 80's was a result of black American Hip hop influence.
By the 90,s Hip hop culture had been established and the whole world followed rap, and the Super stars that influenced the 90's were
Notorious B.I.G Biggie
Tu Pac popularized the Bandana, Snoop popularized flannel, sweatshirts and chucks, while notorious was known for his gangsta dressing, the hat and the swag walking stick.
Let it be known that whatever these guys wore soon entered the market and designers swooned over them and cashed in on their clothes to make money.
African Americans wear their Africaness with pride and some of their dress code is done to buttress and emphasize black nationalism and African Influence. wearing of dreadlocks, big baggy pants, wearing of Kente cloth, fezzes . Big gold Chains show the wealth of Africa from where they originated.
Xris Xross popularized the wearing of trousers and caps front side back , In the mid 90's to late 90's gangsta rap and gangsta fashion took over Hip hop, artists dressed like the gangstas of Chicago in the 30's i.e the era of Al Capone. They wore double breasted suits, bowler hats and alligator skin shoes, (Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Nautica and the rest of the designers capitalized on this dress code and made tons of money). They also adopted some mannerisms of Scarface.
Tony Montana aka scarface
This is another contribution of Hip hop artist to fashion where they wore baggy pants, sports jerseys as casuals with nice sneakers or trainers, their caps were worn with the front facing back, rings on their fingers and chains on their necks.
Hip hop artist graduated from gold chains and moved on to platinum and at the forefront of such chic dressing was Juvenile
late 90's and 20's saw Hip hop artist and superstars delve into owning fashion lines, which is not strange since they were the fashion icons themselves, and they continued to be at the forefront of fashion and entertainment among such fashion line owners were the following in-exhaustive list.
Wu-tang clan ( Wu wear)
Pharell ( billionaires boys club/ice cream)
Nelly ( Vokal and apple bottom jeans)
Russel Simmons (Phat Pharm)
Diddy (Sean Jean)
Damon Dash/Jay Z ( Roca wear)
50 Cents ( G unit)
The dressings of the 20's have seen the previous times fashion being recycled ( fashion is cyclical) with repeating styles and a little embellishments, you got the following being common;
plenty rings on fingers
big rim glasses
The latest trend in Hip hop fashion is the use of Tattoos to decorate the body and sometimes the face, some of the most noted tattooist are Lil Wayne and Whiz Khalifa
Hip artists not only influence the dress code of the youth and adult the world over, they also influence hairstyles and this post would not be fair if the Icon of fashion is not included, i am talking about Rihanna
I am a little conservative and so you might not catch me sagging my pants. But when the likes of mega Superstar Jay Z sags, it sets fashion trends for the youth the world over. though Jay Z is still modest in his sagging
like I was saying, Jay Z being the role model that he is, is modest in his sagging, my brothers below are the real saggers.
The real Sag
One can not really exhaust the topic of Hip hop culture and dress code as they keep influencing the youth everyday. We at musicfreakdom have tried to highlight the positive influences of Hip hop on dress code, this does not mean there are no negatives, but that's not our purpose here.
Many thanks to Wikipedia , without them this post would have been very difficult to get research material, my thanks also go to all the superstars whose images i have used here and the various media who availed the internet with them
Click the link below to listen to songs featured on the Blog