How Mens Gold Chains Wearing Rappers Changed The Fashion Game


Read More On How Rappers In 14k Gold Chains Altered The Course of Fashion



The art form of hip-hop has always dictated the direction of pop culture from the moment that rappers battled on the street corners of the Bronx in the 70s in their Figaro chain jewelry. Thanks, in large part, to its influence on fashion over the last 40 years, it has since become one of the biggest forces in pop culture. What was one recognized by a b-boy rocking a pair of gold chains is now a rapper being the creative force behind the hottest haute couture lines in in the fashion industry. So, how did hip-hop transform from real gold chains for men and velour track suits into urban couture labels? Look no further than the MCs in their rope chains that came up in the Golden Age of Hip Hop.


Back in the day, a rapper would let the world know that he was nothing to mess with by showing off his skills on the mic and how fresh to death he looked from head to toe. Singlehandedly writing the b-boy fashion playbook every time he rocked his shelltoes kicks with his Cuban link chain, the 80s rapper caught the eye of popular sneaker brands such as Adidas, Puma, and Fila every time he stepped out on the scene. Run DMC, in particular, managed to parlay that into a lucrative opportunity when they rapped about their favorite sneakers on the first single of their breakthrough album, Raising Hell. Unable to deny the huge success that the album and the single, “My Adidas”, had worldwide, the sneaker company quickly snapped up the trio to star in the history-making endorsement deal. Seeing Jam Master Jay in one of those 14k gold chains in the legendary commercial solidified the fact that hip-hop was quickly becoming a fresh, new creative force in the fashion game.

 Hollow Diamond Cut Miami Cuban Link ChainDespite the strong impression that a DJ in one of those mens gold chains made on young people all around the world that wanted to look as cool, designers still weren’t exactly knocking down hip-hop’s door. Seen as nothing more than a fad by the end of the 80s, it seemed as if the powers that be in the fashion industry weren’t willing to put in the effort to incorporate the 24k gold dog tag chain look into their collections. That would all change in the early 90s when preppy designer, Tommy Hilfiger, reached out to young rappers like Grand Puba that were wearing his polo shirts with their curb chains in their videos. Shrewdly realizing that hooking up with these rappers would propel his line to the next level, he invited  a host of rappers--including Grand Puba himself--to his showroom to help themselves to what would soon be known as designer swag. Pretty soon, the world would see hip-hop’s top artists, from Snoop Dogg to Raekwon to Q-Tip, rocking their Franco chains with Hilfiger’s ubiquitous red, white, and blue-themed threads. The label also got a huge boost in the R&B world when he hand-picked teen queen, Aaliyah, to be the face of his newest women’s sportswear collection in the late 90s.

 Hollow Gold Puff Chain

By the time the new millennium rolled around, rappers like Puff Daddy and Jay-Z decided to stake their claim in the fashion industry by launching their own lines, Sean John and Rocafella, respectively. Though rappers were mixing their luxury labels with the herringbone chains that they bought from their around the way jeweler since the 80s, this new generation of rappers-turned-entrepreneurs were determined to make their own rules in order to win at the fashion game. In addition to earning millions of dollars in annual sales, these fashion lines also paved the way for rapper / super-producers like Kanye West and Pharrell Williams to showcase their line at Fashion Week while having rappers like A$AP Rocky and A$AP Ferg in the front row of Dior Homme’s Fall 2017 show in men’s 18k gold chains recently. This shows that fashion has come a long way from the days when sharp-looking MCs were spitting bars on the corner in their tracksuits and mariner chains.


February 06, 2017

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