STYLISH RAP COLLECTIVES
By Sam Higgins, April 21, 2017
Hip-hop was born out of collaboration, so it’s no surprise that rappers thrive in numbers, building a collective identity through music and fashion and creating a bigger movement in the process. There have been many genre-defining groups over the past few decades, but none who’ve had such an impact sartorially as these four stylish collectives.
Wu-Tang Clan’s immeasurable impact on hip-hop will last forever, but the same can’t be said for all their sartorial choices. The New York crew’s super-oversized tops and baggy jeans might not be so suited to our 2017 wardrobes, but they were an important milestone in the '90s evolution of more loose-fitting and laid-back threads. The cuffs of modern-day wide-leg jeans don’t drag along the floor, which is lucky, because we’re now able to show more love for our Wallabees — a shoe that became the signature silhouette for the Wu. What’s more, RZA and co were among the first to take band merch to the next level, releasing their own clothing line, Wu Wear — a concept that now seems part and parcel of the music industry.
Harlem’s A$AP Mob are arguably the prime example of the fluid relationship between music and fashion today. Not only do they have one of the world’s most stylish men, A$AP Rocky, at the helm, but there’s also his cousin Nast designing threads and styling YEEZY collections, while Bari’s contribution to the Mob isn’t musical at all — he heads up the VLONE line that’s currently making big moves within the streetwear game.
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Supreme’s march to the mainstream owes a debt to Odd Future. The group of raucous LA rappers have, for the last seven years, fed a generation a diet of virtually uncoppable threads for the hype skate label, while still remaining relatable in their steez. Tyler, The Creator, the founder of the crew (which includes the likes of Earl Sweatshirt, The Internet and most notably Frank Ocean) leads the eccentric approach the crew have with everything they turn their hand to. This is most evident in his preference for patterned pants and his pastel-infused GOLF WANG clothing line, no doubt inspiring fans to experiment more in their own sartorial endeavours.
Boy Better Know
BBK have been grafting in the grime game for probably longer than you’d think. And, as they state on their track Too Many Man, in that time they’ve seen a lot of guys doing this thing, but none of them flex like BBK. We’d agree — the collective started by brothers in grime Skepta and Jme has not only placed the British brand of hip-hop in front of a global audience, but Skepta did indeed go to a fashion show, sat in the front row in a black tracksuit — figuratively shutting it down in the process. This, in turn, influenced designers to take the casual two-piece under their wing and make it a wardrobe staple.