The Power of the Bucket Hat

 Since the birth of hip hop out of the Bronx in the late 1970s, fashion has always been intertwined with artists; connecting them further with their audience and helping to solidify who they are as a brand.

N.W.A. created a phenomenon by wearing Raiders’ jerseys and Adidas classics, MC Hammer made parachute pants cool and LL Cool J started a trend of rappers wearing the Bucket Hat. 

Is is true that Sugar Hill Gang member Bank Hank wore a bucket hatBank Hank wore a bucket hat during the music video for ‘Rapper’s Delight’ but the fashion staple did not become mainstream until 1987 when LL Cool J’s single ‘I’m Bad’ premiered with the young rapper rocking a gold chain and red jogging suit. 

Since then, handfuls of rappers have sported the bucket hat in all colors and prints including camo and flowers. While the accessory may not have started a phenomenon like Adidas, it seems that the rappers who have worn the fishing-style hat, are instead in a certain genre of hip hop, whether you want to classify that as “conscious” or old-skool, their lyricism is all quite similar. 

Some of these rappers include; Hex One, Schoolboy Q, Ja Rule, LL Cool J and EPMD, but of course several others have been seen in the bucket hat. Aside from Schoolboy Q, these artists have incorporated instrumentals that represent an early hip hop style, now known as old-skool into their discography. The musical style uses a call and pause technique where the rapper recites a sentence, holds out the final note more an additional millisecond and then takes a breath or pauses for a full beat before picking up again. 

The Bucket Hat has the power of showing off an artist’s skill before they even step into the recording studio or freestyle on the streets. It’s a statement that the artist has skill, passion and further more respects his predecessors within the rap game. However, rappers like Schoolboy Q and Earl Sweatshirt who have also joined this fashion trend, incorporate instrumental and vocal styles of old-skool, but it is not the only sub-genre seen within their personal discography. Both have ranged from mellow sounds to harder trap or gangsta rap type sounds (as Sweatshirt was apart of Odd Future, who were known for their mixed sounds). 

This fashion trend has become evergreen, just like Adidas within the hip hop world. It is a staple that will always be in style and carry influence to the artist wearing one, even if teens aren’t sporting one around their friends. 

Photo: High Snobiety

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