The ‘Hip’ in Hip Hop

STYLE

“The basic defining characteristics of a person, everything from talk, dress, hairstyle, demeanor, etc […] A few people have their own style which usually makes them unique […].” – Urban dictionary

When I first fell in love with Hip Hop, it was clear to me that STYLE is an understatement of the culture and its respective elements. The marking truth of these elements, is that their practitioners distinguish their craft through STYLE. There is pride and sense of accomplishment when an artist has establish their style; their voice is heard, their vision is seen, their art is felt.

If we take a quick minute to analyze where and how Hip Hop was born, you may see why uniqueness was and still is primordial. In order to be respected, you had to ‘come correct, and be you. You had to stand out with your style of rhyming. You had to be different in the way of dropping a record. You had to be creative to make any popular article of clothing special and matching your personality. For many centuries now, the way we present ourselves through clothing has a significance. So it is no surprise that in ‘Hip Hop Culture’ the presentation of self is noted, highly recommended, and expected.

I come from a family of people who love to dress well. It first was mostly manifested in the church going event on Sundays, to the first days of elementary school, high school and college. My interest in ‘speaking up’ through my way of dressing has always been present and I have learned to make something out of anything.

Being very active in the dance scene, there are many different styles of attire encountered. You may have the girl who just needs to feel comfortable or the guy that needs to wear his lucky hat in order to be invincible. Yet, there are always these few individuals who are able to dress in respect to all their standards, and still are able to make a point, fashionably. I would like to showcase these different artists from this Hip Hop culture, in different Hip Hop events. I want to capture their art through what they wear, why they wear it because it gives a clear definition of who they are. Hip Hop is all about who you are. Don’t get me wrong, my intentions here are not to discourage the person who couldn’t careless about what they dress like, or to encourage the ones that are more fashion sensitive, to do more. My point is to simply get to know the ones that pay attention to what they wear because they believe that it is an extension of their character. It doesn’t define them, but they define it. My dad always says: “Don’t I make this shirt look good?” instead of saying “This shirt makes me look good.”

The importance of style equals the importance of free speech. When you live in a city such as New York, you are exposed to different speeches and you learn to hear all of them, but only to listen to a few. My question now is “What’s your speech?”

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