10 of the Most Popular Sportswear Trends in Hip-Hop

  • N.W.A.

    Snapbacks are the ultimate retro signature that brings the nostalgia of the ’90s. N.W.A. revolutionized the hat in the early ’90s to pay homage to the then-L.A Raiders and their hometown of Compton. Tupac was also a heavy snapback fan. While fitted hats will always be important, the snapback trend has grown within the millennial age with stars such as Big Sean and Tyga.

    BUY NOW: Best-seller snapbacks

    image via CentricTV


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  • Run-D.M.C.
    adidas Track Suits and adidas Superstars

    While Nike was surging off MJ’s prominence in the ’80s, other brands were seeking other innovative routes to build their brand. Run-D.M.C. was one of the most popular rap groups and were not afraid to show their love for the adidas brand. They dedicated a song to the Three-Stripe culture that led to an incredible endorsement deal. It was a move that paved the way for future endorsements between sneaker brands and rappers.

    BUY NOW: adidas track suits

    image via MediaZebra.com

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  • Drake, Nicki Minaj
    Air Jordans

    It is most likely that your favorite rapper has a storage full of J’s in his closet. What makes Air Jordans a worldwide phenomenon is, in part, the help the sneaker line garners from hip-hop culture. MJ was the first iconic “pop” athlete and the epitome of cool. When we saw Will Smith in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air donning some heat on his feet we wanted them. Now guys like Wale, Chris Brown, and Macklemore have carried the torch and are dominating the game.

    BUY NOW: Best-selling Air Jordan sneakers

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  • Air Force 1s

    The Air Force 1 is timeless. Whether you call them “white-on-whites” or “Uptowns” they will be always be a go-to sneaker in the time of need. It’s crazy to think back when Nelly and the St. Lunatics made a whole song dedicated to the shoe.

    BUY NOW: Best-selling Air Force 1 sneakers

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  • Timberlands

    “Constructs” are classics, in the same category with AF1’s in that they will never age. When MJ retired for the first time in ’93, the boots’ popularity skyrocketed in the golden age of hip-hop.

    BUY NOW: Best-selling Timberland boots

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  • Kanye West
    Signature Kicks

    As mentioned prior with Run-D.M.C., signature kicks are not just for athletes anymore. Now we see rappers with their own signature lines with collaborations with the largest apparel brands. You can make the argument that Kanye’s Air Yeezy line has been one of the most hyped sneaker/entertainer collabs of the past decade.

    BUY NOW: Best-selling signature b-ball shoes

    image via X17

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  • Nelly

    In the early 2000s, Allen Iverson was a major cultural icon known on the court for wearing a headband. From there the style gained notoriety off the court when rappers such as Nelly started rocking them as a fashion statement.

    image via Hypebeast

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  • A$AP Rocky

    Remember when sweatpants were just sweatpants? Now they have evolved over time from workout apparel to high-fashion gear that’s a stylish trend. Sweats are common to wear because they are comfortable and there is not much effort in putting them on. Guys such as Kanye and A$AP Rocky transcended the gear that is now popular in the NBA.

    BUY NOW: Best-selling sweatpants

    image via Village Voice

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  • Throwback jerseys

    When I think about jerseys in hip-hop, it brings back nostalgic memories of Kriss-Kross and their backwards jerseys. Jerseys are the essential apparel gear that took the crossover of sportswear and music to a different level. We saw rappers wearing jerseys in their music videos at every chance. It is also worth noting that Fabolous was the throwback king in the early 2000s.

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  • Chris Brown
    Starter Jackets

    Starter Jackets are always a great choice for anyone who wants a major retro style boost. In their height in the ’90s, it was guaranteed if you wore one you were going to get a lot of attention and comments. Also check Starter’s retro ads with DJ Jazzy Jeff.

    BUY NOW: Starter jackets

    image via The Thrift Store Reseller Blog

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  • N.W.A.
  • Run-D.M.C.
  • Drake, Nicki Minaj
  • Kanye West
  • Nelly
  • A$AP Rocky
  • Fabolous
  • Chris Brown

It’s no secret that Drake is an avid Kentucky basketball supporter. At UK’s Big Blue Madness last week, coach John Calipari gave Drizzy the opportunity to suit up with the Wildcats and participate in warmups. At the end it was Drake’s air ball that served as the Vine of the week. It was definitely a firm reality check to stay in his lane.

But Drake’s latest episode at Kentucky made me think of one of his lines in his song “Thank Me Now” when he spit, “Damn, I swear sports and music are so synonymous, because we want to be them, and they want to be us.” The line is true. Rappers want to be professional athletes and athletes want to live the lifestyle of a rapper.

The sporting world and the music industry have always been symmetrical to one another, with sporting brands seeking to collaborate with some of hip-hop’s biggest stars. Sportswear has been a fixture in hip-hop culture from the beginning. From Run D.M.C. entering the scene yelling “My Adidas” to Kriss Kross wearing jerseys backwards to Jay Z making the Yankee Blue fitted his own signature, sporting apparel has always been a part of the rap game. During over time we have seen some great sportswear trends take place in hip-hop that crossed over to the masses. With that said, checkout 10 of the Most Popular Sportswear Trends in Hip-Hop.

Follow Jarrel on Twitter at @_JarrelHarris