Since Karl Lagerfeld showed his hip-hop-themed Chanel collection in 1991, the worlds of fashion and hip-hop have become increasingly intertwined, both taking and giving to each other. Rappers' identities are shaped as much by their lyrics as the brands they rep, and designers not only seek inspiration from hip-hop, they rely on its figureheads to lend their labels credibility. So, PicClick had the brilliant idea of looking closer at the relationship between hip-hop and fashion and analyzing lyrics to find which brands have the biggest clout.
Their findings are fascinating and likely not what you'd expect. For starters, the most mentioned brand is *drumroll* Gucci. Today, Gucci doesn't have as much cache in rap as brands like Givenchy, Versace, or Hood By Air but if you take a look at the top 3 artists who name-dropped Gucci—Nas, Jay Z, and Lil Wayne (sadly Gucci Mane didn't make the cut)—their heydays were back when Tom Ford helmed the luxury brand and logo-centrism was rife.
The fact that most of the top-brand-dropping rappers were at their peak during the late '90s and early '00s explains a lot of the findings. The most-mentioned brands also include Gaultier, Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Reebok, and Sean John who were bigger with rappers during that period. As for the brands right behind Gucci—Nike, Prada, Versce, Chanel—those are still popular today.
Some of the more interesting data comes from looking at what rappers' most-mentioned brands are. Kanye West's is especially a time capsule: It isn't Ralph or Dior, it's Louis Vuitton. *stops to remember the Louis Vuitton Don* Nowadays Kanye isn't a LV fan—like, at all—but back in the day he was known for his monogrammed backpack and even collaborated with them on shoes. (Another twist: Kanye was only the fifth top brand-dropping artist.) Jay Z's most-mentioned brand—Gucci—is less surprising in retrospect because he's still rapping about Tom Ford. The biggest surprise might be that Biggie Smalls' favorite brand to name-drop wasn't Coogi sweaters or Versace, whose silk shirts he pioneered in rap, instead it was (also) Gucci. But what comes as a surprise to no one? The fact that Lil Kim tops the list as #1 brand-dropping MC with over 35 mentions in her entire musical oeuvre. Queen Bee, indeed.
We could go on and on, but we'll just let you check out the findings for yourself. Big thanks to PicClick for providing us with something to endlessly geek out over.