You Only Bought those Shoes Because Kanye Made Them!

Rey Mendez Beltre, Staff Writer

 

You get in the car and turn on the radio. You’ve got JAMN 94.5 playing and what do you hear? More than likely it’s another rap song on the top 100 chart. What is rap anyway? The definition of rap is “a musical form of vocal delivery that incorporates rhymes, rhythmic speech, and street vernacular”, which is performed over a “backing beat or musical accompaniment.”  The components of rap include “content”, “flow”, and “delivery.”

Rap is undeniably the most famous, if not one of the top tier music genres in today’s culture. Names like Drake, Travis Scott, Nicki Minaj, and Playboi Carti are just a few examples of rappers that seem to be known world wide and influence a lot of people outside of rap, in fashion specifically. When we talk about fashion, you may think of designer brands such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, Christian Dior. Instead, you may think of cheaper , yet fashionable brands such as Polo, Tommy Hilfiger, or True Religion. You’re probably saying, ‘These people aren’t the reason I bought clothes from [insert brand]’, but these rappers have influenced the way people mix or match clothes. 

An early example of Hip-Hop/Rap being an influence in the culture dates all the way back to the 1980s when Hip-Hip was first blooming. Rappers like Run DMC, LL-CoolJ, and Salt-N-Pepa made “adidas tracksuits and straight-legged denim over Puma Suede sneakers or Adidas Superstars customized with fat laces,” look fashionable and cool with the way they mixed and matched their clothes. Other rappers like Slick Rick and Rick the Ruler inspired a different trend, making jewelry a prominent part of people’s wardrobe to flex on the next person. A big step for Hip-Hop artists was Run DMC’s endorsement/collaboration with Adidas from their famous 1986 track “My Adidas.” The “unheard-of million-dollar endorsement deal,” came from after a concert when “three [Adidas] executives caught a Madison Square Garden performance in which fans all raised their sneakers on cue,” (Fashionbeans.com, Tom Banham) This indicated the birth of Hip-Hop Sneaker culture and opened the doors for upcoming artists.

Okay maybe that’s too far back in time, so what about in today’s day and age? Who other than the man himself Kanye West. Mr.West has been a huge inspiration on mainstream fashion and the sight of his impact can be seen in ways such as people purchasing his “Yeezy” fashion collaboration with Adidas and his world known Yeezy sneakers (that can resale for six thousand or more USD). He is just one of many Hip-Hop/Rap artists that has inspired the fashion, but another name  that impacted hip hop is Cardi B.  

Cardi B has undoubtedly become a Hip-Hop icon, and with her #1 hit “Bodak Yellow” quickly rising her to fame. It’s safe to say she has a pretty strong following. With that song came crazy reports with “searches for [Christian Louboutin footwear] increas[ing] by 217%” (Refinery.com, 2019) which are those “bloody shoes.” Cardi B broke the internet with the release of her season 2 collaboration with Fashion Nova. According to TMZ the Hip-Hop icons fashion line “sold out after raking in over $1 MILLION dollars in the first 24 hours” (Tmz.com, 2019). Now talk about having a dedicated fan base.  

But those examples are people with millions of fans that are known around the world. it’s obvious that they would have an impact in a society with such a big following… right? Well yeah, that is right, but maybe my point of view on this isnt enough. 

While interviewing a student from Revere High school about  Hip-Hop, at first he often referred to the fact that he “listened to a lot,” and that he “didn’t listen to rap often”, but nonetheless when I asked him about whether Hip-Hop impacts today’s culture he says “It does.. I think it has a huge impact,” He goes on to mention that “No two kids would dress alike.” Throughout the interview, he talked about how the way people dress has a lot to do with “Who they listen to and what they like,” and I can’t help but agree. I see this first hand in school everyday. He continues to say “They’ll always add their own little twist” Which I’ve experienced first hand on multiple occasions. Two people have the same or matching outfits and the difference usually is only the brand, if any at all. 

Fashion and Hip-Hop have an impact on one another. Although many things can play a role as to the way you dress, who you listen to can definitely reflect the way you dress. Current Hip-Hop might have the most influence on fashion to date. Maybe we just have similar interests, but when you want a pair of Yeezy boost 350s, is it because you like it? Or, is it because it’s trendy?