Rap & Fashion: Rappers Taking Over the Fashion World

Words / Bridget Henderson

If you look at any music magazine, it is evident that rappers are no longer wearing wifebeaters, chains, and oversized jeans. Fashion is reemerging into the rap scene with trailblazers like Young Thug, Kanye West, and A$AP Rocky.

A little over a decade ago, many of us would been more confused about Lil Wayne dropping a fashion line than we were when he dropped that rock album. I’m not sure we would recognize 50 Cent with his shirt on and no backwards, fitted hat. Today, we all know exactly what she’d do for “some Trukfit” and 50 Cent does interviews in suits. We hear that Kanye West is hosting a fashion show outside in 100 degree weather while his models pass out one by one, and we don’t bat an eye. When exactly did rap music take over fashion?

Back in the 1980’s, rappers committed to Adidas tracksuits and other sportswear. Companies like Adidas, Nike, and Reebok gained a tremendous income from their exposure by rappers and DJ’s.

Although, since it was the 1980’s, these companies decided they did not want their names tainted by urban culture. A few years later, another generation of rappers emerged that realized rap fans wanted to look like their favorite rappers, and so they created their own lines.

Jay-Z created Rocawear and Timbaland had half of the cities in America wearing brown, clunky shoes. After Lil Wayne had Trukfit and Pharrell got involved with Louis Vuitton, it was clear that fashion and music were colliding. Rappers realized their influence stretched much farther than just music.

Rappers used to rock streetwear, and now Young Thug is on the cover of his new album wearing a designer dress and Lil Yachty has his own Nautica Line. Rap music has moved to a high fashion status, where rap and urban no longer provide the same aesthetic.

Photo courtesy of HBA

Photo courtesy of HBA

Photo courtesy of GQ Magazine

Photo courtesy of GQ Magazine

Photo courtesy of GQ Magazine

Photo courtesy of GQ Magazine