Do you remember where you were when you first heard Hip-Hop and what you were wearing? Rap culture blazed onto the scene in the early 70's like a lightening bolt and 50 years later the genre influences everything! Some people say Hip—Hop was born in the Boogie-down Bronx when DJ Kool Herc set up a back-to-school jam. Other’s claim that rap originated in roller skating rinks and house parties in the borough of Queens, New York. As someone who lived in both boroughs and witnessed Raps emergence during that time, I say that Bronx and Queens can lay claim to the genre equally before it spread throughout the world.
Aficionados agree that it was the summer of 1973 that kicked off the confluence of urban landscapes tagged with graffiti murals and oversized boom box radios that screamed dope lyrics. Suddenly, Then suddenly, Hip-Hop’s creative disruption spread throughout sweltering inner-city parks like a fever where only pop-up dance parties could provide relief. The term DeeJay was born as spin masters from the boroughs hiked their turntables onto discarded milk crates, when you could find milk crates, creatively spinning tunes and mixing beats into submission until they morphed into a totally different unrecognizable groove.
All one needed back then was high energy, a smooth surface and lightening moves to spark a dance battle or a rap battle, where challengers competed for bragging rites on who could out spin or out 'spit' whom..
Out of Rap’s humble beginnings emerged a disruptive art form followed by Hip Hops' influence on fashion that will forever define the genre. Numerous fashion brands like Phat Pharm, Roc-A-Wear, Cross Colors, Akademiks, COOGI Australia and FUBU emerged and leveled-up thanks to Hip-Hop's influence on fashion, music and lifestyle.
With celebratory plans for the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop currently underway at the newly built Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx, New York fashion designers are launching collections with elements reminiscent of rap style on everything from gear to hats, statement jewelry and accessories.
One such brand is Woke Creations where touches of fun graffiti prints, oversized and over-layered blinged out jewelry, junk jewelry joggers and chainlink belt accessories pay homage to the genre, which continues to be on trend for fall/winter.
According to the website Cassius News, male designers like Virgil Abloh, Kanye West, Dapper Dan, Karl Kani, FUBU and Sean "P. Diddy Combs'" Sean Jean collection set the pace on Hip Hop's influence on fashion just to name a few. Hip Hop began as an inherently male art form in look, fashion and sound. As female rap artists and enthusiasts entered the performance arena, designers like Kimora Lee Simmons (Baby Phat), Fetish by Eve, Walker Wear by April Walker and of course consummate American stylist and fashion designer Misa Hylton for MCM added their female touch to the game.
Hip Hop fashion, much like Hip Hop music, is here to stay.