Bucket Hats Have Been a Hip-Hop Staple Since the Beginning

  • EPMD bucket hats

    Michael Ochs/Getty Images


    The origin of the hat seems to have a few sources, one of which was that it was used in the deserts to keep soldiers in some sort of shade against the sun. Another claim is that the hats started out in Ireland, used by fishermen keeping the rain out of their faces. However, what we do know is that the bucket hat really popped off thanks to the late Bob Denver’s role in the show, “Gilligan’s Island.”

    Paired with the iconic red sweater and slacks, the wiry character brought the headwear into the mainstream. Soon thereafter, Jimmie Walker (better known as JJ) in the black sitcom “Good Times” carried on the legacy, his charismatic persona, coupled with some crazy style, made the bucket hat a hit for that time period among young people across America.

    Ultimately the hat would burst on to the hip-hop scene, first with Sugar Hill Gang’s Big Bank Hank, but it would most notably be donned by LL Cool J. Through his classic Kangol bucket, the Queens rapper ushered in a style that was sported by the street kids and shown to the MTV generation of the mid-80s. Other rappers, including MC Shan and EPMD, followed suit through that time, and it became an iconic piece to rock if you were a B-Boy, so iconic that it was incorporated into the Public Enemy Logo. It could be cotton or suede, but there was no denying that you could pair a bucket with your favorite outfit and step out feeling fresh.

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  • Present

    With Jay Z’s “Big Pimpin’” video in 1999, the bucket started making a comeback after some dark times in the ’90s — fitted caps and snapbacks were the wave. As time went on and hardcore styles fizzled, the style started to relax. Fitteds were still very in, but in the summer, you have to be able to be on the beach, in the street, wherever.

    And that’s where the bucket hat really started to gain popularity again.

    These days, TDE’s Schoolboy Q is probably the most notable bucket hat advocate, but not to be outdone is Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt, who claims that he’s the reason for the hat’s resurgence in the last few years. We’ve also seen Cam’ron, Kid Cudi, Nas, and Rick Ross with a bucket either straight on or leaning just a tad, and streetwear brands like Supreme and UNDFTD have made their own versions.

    It really doesn’t matter who’s wearing a bucket; it’s just incredibly difficult to not look good in one.

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  • Schoolboy Q bucket hat

    Jeff Lombardo/Getty Images


    The summer is really when buckets pop off. You’re on the beach, it’s 2,000 degrees, and the sun is hanging out right over your left shoulder. What you’re going to need is something that will not only keep you cool, but also keep you…cool.

    Set your own mark, and rock it how you want, all the way down, the front flipped up, with a drawstring. That’s where we come in, with all new designs and flavors on deck, Champs Sports has you covered for the warm months of 2015 with a new bucket collections later this weekend from brands such as adidas, Jordan, and Nike.

    Go cop those hats, and keep the heat off of you at all times.

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  • EPMD bucket hats
  • Schoolboy Q bucket hat

We already told you about style trends that you would want to look out for this spring, so today we want to focus on another vital part of your wardrobe: The hat. In particular, the bucket hat. When we first went about writing this piece, we wanted to give you a complete written history of the bucket (or rain hat or fisherman’s hat, depending on where you’re from) and really get in depth with how it transformed from a military tool that the Israeli army used to keep the sun out of their face to the wave that Gilligan and JJ from Good Times rode in the 1960s and ’70s. But the more and more we looked into it, it seemed like the best way to tell this tale was to focus on hip-hop.

More recently, the bucket hat has endured the test of time in pop culture mainly from hip hop and urban culture’s constant reinvention of the wheel. Run-D.M.C. and LL Cool J might’ve first popularized the look in the early-to-mid 1980s but even in today’s game, there are artists like Schoolboy Q bringing it back to the mainstream. Similar to Air Jordans and Timberlands, it’s a rap staple.

So allow Champs Sports to bring you into 2015 with some crazy new designs available that you’ll be sure to rock this spring, summer, and beyond. In the meantime, know your history. Bucket Hats Have Been a Hip-Hop Staple Since the Beginning — it’s not something new.

Follow Tommie on Twitter at @boneystarks

image via Paul Natkin/Getty Images