The 5 degrees of decadence in "Fashion Rap"

In the Golden Age of Rap, rappers would go to the gym. Back then — before the Death of Hip Hop — clothes were not a big deal; wearing nothing but a Princess Leia-style gold bikini was not unheard-of:

But since the Dawn of the Age of Bling, decadent rappers are covering up their FUPAs with airbrushing, overdone tattoos, and — of course — tons of designer clothing.

Relative to other luxuries like houses and cars, fashion is pretty “hmmm”. But rappers don’t discriminate: they love all forms of consumption.

However, over the years that have passed since the invention of “Fahion Rap”, the problem is getting worse. Here, we’ve compiled the 5 degrees of decadence in Fashion Rap, in the style of the Homeland Security Alert System everyone loves…

The 5 Degrees of Decadence in Fashion Rap (the problem’s getting worse!)

Level 1: Trying to cover up the chubbs (Notorious B.I.G.)

It is no surprise that East Coast rappers started the genre of “fashion rap”, since the East Coast is sunless and everybody who lives there looks pasty. The Notorious B.I.G. — arguably the 1st-ever “fashion rapper” — addressed the fact that pretty clothes made him feel less self-conscious about being fat:

Heart-throb? Never. Black and ugly as ever
However, I stay Coogi’d down to the socks
Rings and watch filled with rocks…

However, at least he’s promoting Coogi Jeanswear, a “metrothug” brand. He may even be getting paid for the plug.

Level 2: Dressing like a cartoon (Cam'ron)

Rapping about fashion is tolerable as long as rappers keep it absurd. Cam'ron — talking about gifts for his girl — compares Karl Lagerfeld to Gargamel, the legendary evil sorcerer enemy of the Smurfs™:

Cause I feed you well. Every sneaker, hell
You eat Louis, shit Gucci, breathe Chanel
Karl Lagerfeld, acting like Gargamel…

KarlLagerfeld

Since Cam and Karl (and Gargamel) seem to love white girls, this is an example of an acceptable, “hetero” fashion name-drop.

Level 3: Designer impostors (The Clipse)

Fashion raps can make for decent rhymes if the content is esoteric. The Clipse, for example, go into reveries on the Versace insignia:

Yves St. Laurent knitted, shorts bermuda
You would think they was Pucci if you overlooked Medusa

You would think the shorts were Pucci if you overlooked the Versace logo, with Medusa’s face all up on it. Since Emilio Pucci is like the Banana Republic to Versace’s Old Navy, this is a mistake Pusha T wants you to make!

The Clipse, sadly, don’t sell enough records to afford real Pucci shorts. Til the Casket Drops is the 43,768th most popular item in Amazon’s musics store; Twista’s Category F5 is #29,309…yeesh.

Level 4: 40-year old Jewish husband (Jay-Z)

Things get thick when certain socialite rappers (looking at YOU, Jay-Z!) start taking their own fashion raps seriously. In “‘03 Bonnie and Clyde”, Jay-Z brags about buying a rare handbag for Beyonce:

I keep you workin' that Hermes Birkin Bag…

JAY: you sound like a middle-aged accountant! I mean, my uncle thought he was a G cause he got his wife a Birkin bag for Hanukkah..

Level 5: “J'adore Dior” (Kanye West)

Kanye West — THE fashion rap metrosexual — is also the only rapper brave enough to admit he wears skinny jeans:

Kanye talks about fashion in every single song! He even claims that his fancy clothes get him girls:

I’m doing pretty good as far as geniuses go
And I’m doing pretty hood in my pink polo
Nigga please, how you gonna say I ain’t no Lo-head
Cause my Dior got me more model head?

I don’t think it was your Dior clothes that got you the models, Kanye. It was probably your fame/money! (Besides, the sorts of girls who are impressed by fancy clothes tend to cheat on you..)

RAPPERS: Enough with the fashion! Hit the gym and walk around shirtless. Remember: it’s a RECESSION..time to bring back the “Thug Image” from the Golden Age.