From Jesus Pieces to Oliver Peoples: Kanye West, A$AP Rocky and Fashion Rap

As a Hip-Hop musician, Kanye West has been on the cutting edge ever since the day of his first beat for Jay-Z in 2004. More recently, it’s become clear over his career that West is at the forefront of another industry: high-end fashion. In the past two months alone, he’s rocked a kilt by Givenchy and a masked outfit that he apparently copped from designer Umit Benan’s show in Milan last week.

Even before he wore kilts on national television, Kanye West’s fashion sense always played a major role in his ascent to stardom. Fresh on the scene in 2004, he became known primarily for his hit single, “Jesus Walks,” and his pink polo, each of which went against the prevailing street-hardened image adopted by most of his peers. Like a kid on the playground, he was criticized for the things that made him different, as his Roc-A-Fella label-mates “thought pink polos would hurt the Roc.”

Nine years, six platinum albums and, by my count, 167 lyrical references to fashion later (thanks RapGenius), it is clear that ‘Ye’s style has not only failed to hurt his sales, but it has ushered in a new climate in hip-hop where being a fashion-conscious “pretty motherfucker” is not just accepted, it’s celebrated.

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