There’s so much more to hip hop than beats and lyrics. It’s a form of expression, one that seeps out in the unique (and often opulent) lifestyles of artists across the country. And social media is your personal viewing window into this world. Scrolling through my favorite rappers’ Instas is a guilty pleasure — a kaleidescope of the cars, houses, planes and cities of the musical elite. Perhaps the most eye-popping visual element in the game, however, is the clothing.
Fashion and music go hand in hand in expressing the views of an artist. From designer shoes to homemade shirts, each performer flaunts their own brand, even if that brand is another brand. Think Kanye’s pink polos, LL Cool J’s Kangol hats, Kendrick Lamar’s Nike Cortez’s. In the social media age, there’s a sensory overload of fashion iconography to choose from. Here are a few of my current favorite people/styles:
The 2017 XXL Freshman spent 6 years of his adolescence in Japan, as can be seen in his eclectic taste. MadeinTYO’s aesthetic could be called a mix between a Uniqlo ad and a trap video, replete with clout goggles (anywhere from $2-$400 depending on your designer preference), a Cav Empt pink T ($110) and a “Cosmo and Wanda” iced-out Mickey and Minnie Mouse chain. Despite his all-over-the-map outfits, MadeinTYO has an eye for the classics, aspiring to “rock that Rick Owens” as he flaunts “Gucci on [his] feet, Gucci on [his] face”.
Odd Future goofball Mike G is more than just your favoritecrime scene investigator. He sets a distinctly L.A. tone with gaudy jerseys, patterned pullovers, and vinyl jackets. You can feel the sunshine and wackiness in pieces like his Rugrats bomber ($85), old-school Adidas tracksuits in varying colors ($75 each), and Grateful Dead lightning bolt-pattern T ($20), which he complements with sleek black watches and over-the-top gold chains. Mike hasn’t been on the mainstage as much musically since 2015’s famous Odd Future “breakup”, but his style has remained on point.
The Flatbush Zombies beatmaker and emcee has an eye for minimalist fashion, evident in his casual but carefully-chosen attire. Among my favorites of his are a black Balenciaga Homme baseball cap ($320), Vans Canvas Old Skool sneakers ($55), and an assortment of dark striped shirts. Erick also sports overalls on the regular, which end up looking surprisingly good because of his height and lankiness. Limited Zombies merch, which he often designs and frequently advertises on Insta, reflects an equally unfussy vibe.
Perfecting the iconic fall look has been a cinch for this Chicago artist. It almost seems like Jenkins is an undercover GQ writer as he breezes through the season effortlessly, rocking muted colors and solid/minimally-patterned outerwear. Jenkins keeps it somber with Feit Hand Sewn Low Black sneakers ($540), houndstooth pants from Zara ($50), and a Gucci Coco Capitán logo belt bag ($1290). We’ll see what winter has in store for him, but if past serves as prologue it’s going to be a very merry Christmas.
The music industry’s undisputed king of fashion is fresh off of dropping a new album and getting featured on the cover of GQ Style. Rocky’s suave is impossible to describe — his accolades speak for themselves, including modeling gigs with Dior, Guess, Ferragamo, and many more top names. He’s also racked up major press from Vogue, InStyle, and The New York Times among others, setting the bar unbelievably high for rappers everywhere. A few of his notable garments include a Gucci Bee Jacquard pajama top ($2400), a Raf Simmons “I <3 NY” sweater ($819!) and several Goyard bags (around $1600 a pop). While Rocky’s tastes tend to run pretty expensive, his chic is unrivaled.