Bowie’s done it. Little Richard’s done it. Kurt Cobain, too. Glam rock was essentially built on dudes pushing boundaries in clothing, hairstyles, and yes, even makeup more typical of the female set, and that, in turn, influenced other genres like shock rock, hair metal, new romanticism, and goth, to name a few. Gender-bending style has long been the provenance of rock and rollers, played mostly for either laughs or simply to shock the normies, but these days, you’re slightly more likely to see a rapper in womenswear.
Rap, much like heavy metal, is a historically hyper-masculine genre of music, so it’s refreshing to see men in the hip-hop industry wear clothing that isn’t gender-specific simply because (a) they like it and (b) do you really need another reason? Let’s take a look at our favorite MCs bucking conventional clothing stereotypes.
Jay-Z in New York on June 4, and the same jersey on Shopbop.
Photo: Splash News/ Shopbop
Jay Z was spotted in a Rodarte jersey in New York while hanging out with the Queen Bey herself. Fairly innocuous right? It looks just like a football jersey, but it’s from a line best known for its ability to blend esoteric themes of “prettiness” with unconventional subject matters like Japanese horror movies (see: the Fall 2008 collection). As it stands, you can purchase it on Shopbop for $405. You could have worse role models than the Jigga Man.
Kanye West performing at the Coachella festival in Indio, California, in 2011, and a look from Céline’s spring 2011 runway.
Photo: Getty Images
And then there’s Kanye. He’s the calm before the storm. The eye of the hurricane. If this trend was an outbreak, he’d be Patient Zero. ’Ye caused a furor at Coachella in 2011, where he was spotted wearing an unbuttoned woman’s blouse from Céline, which led to the rise of Givenchy Kanye, and the rest is fashion history. Say it with me: Yeezy taught us well.
Lil Wayne at the 2011 VMAs and Tripp NYC leopard pants.
Photo: Getty Images/KarmaLoop
Remember Lil Wayne’s iconic performance at the 2011 VMAs? We certainly do. (Side note: What was in the water in 2011? Not that I’m complaining. I’m all about this trend.) We caught Birdman Jr. wearing a pair of ladies leopard print jeggings from punk atelier Tripp NYC. Like any proud papa, Tripp took to their Facebook and Twitter claiming credit for the duds.
Unfortunately for us, the pants have long since sold out at Karmaloop.
Snoop with pro skater (and nephew) Theotis Beasley, and a look at his French-tipped manicure.
Source: Snoop’s Instagram.
Snoop Dogg’s been in the game long enough where it’s safe to say that his status as an elder statesmen of rap means that he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants. And if that means treating himself to a black-and-white French-tipped manicure with little gold decals at Hey, Nice Nails, so be it.
Stills from Lil B’s “Got the Mack Loaded”.
Source: BasedWorld Records..
It’s not unusual for rappers to wear jewelry. Since the beginning, rappers have been sporting chains, blinged-out watches, diamond studs in their ear, etc. Lil B however, is taking that to the next level. Lil B loves costume jewelry, and showcases his love for a particular pair of ivory chandelier earrings in his “Got the Mack Loaded” video. Thank you #basedgod, I was looking for something to elevate my Vans.
Source: Young Thug’s Instagram
The ATL rapper Young Thug is known for being a rap weirdo in the best sense possible. He’s posted images on his socials documenting his distinctive brand of style, which includes, but is not limited to, wearing dresses. The ATLien doesn’t need to play by the rules, he’s already co-signed by Kanye, Drake and Nicki, and his music? It’s jammin’. However, my favorite part about Young Thug isn’t that he cops to wearing dresses, or that he shops in the junior section (you do you, boo), but that he won’t reveal his sources. Like any pro shopper would.
So, what do you think? Love it, hate it, got other rappers that we’ve missed in this round up? Let us know in the comments. Just remember to keep it cute. Like dresses, that s*** is breezy.