Rapper, actor and street philosopher, Tupac Shakur- who would have been 45 years old today- was a trendsetter who brought street wear and high fashion together in a way that only he could. Just like his music balanced and blurred the lines of political statements, hood reports, materialism, education and all round wildin out- he did the same for high fashion and street wear. Made it for us but understood by everybody with an open mind. This is why we didn't bat an eye when Eminem wore his bandannas or when Yeezy declared himself "the Louis Vuitton Don". We don't mind that our R&B singers who grew up in the nineties are more tatted up with thug life running through their veins than some of the most popular rappers out now. For better or worse, leather joggers are a thing because of 'Pac and here are a few other trends that he started...
NOSE RING- Quickly name three rappers with a nose ring. I bet ya can't do it! 2pac was the first switching between a gold hoop and a diamond stud and given the historical and cultural meanings behind male nose piercings (sixth sense and wealth) it fit him perfectly.
TATTOOS- Back in the day tattoos were used to align yourself with your tribe, tell family history and other stories and for cosmetic purposes. When 'Pac started getting tatted up you could tell it wasn't just cause he thought it looked cool- nope that was just an awesome side effect. All of his tattoos meant something to him and described his character in some way. Everything you wanted to know about him was on him, literally wearing his heart on his sleeve.
OVERALLS- Fashion girls of today need to pay homage to Tupac cause nobody wore baggy denim overalls in several different cuts, washes and styles like him!
SHIRTLESS PERFORMANCES- We applaud Rick Ross for his body confidence and Lil Wayne for wanting to show off his tattoos and fun boxers, but 'Pac was the first to do it in a way that was gully and inspired a whole legion of rappers to appear shirtless on stage. And he helped popularize designer boxers. Haters will say Marky Mark did it, but we laugh at those types of statements lol.
JERSEYS- Rapper Fabolous may be jersey king now, but back in the '90s Tupac was known for rocking both basketball and hockey jersey's in his everyday style.
VERSACE VERSACE VERSACE- Tupac had custom made Versace suits and shirts gifted by Gianni himself, he wore Moschino accessories, Cartier frames and watches along with other expensive Italian and designer suits, but was just as comfortable and photographed even more in the urban streetwear designers of the day like Walker Wear and Karl Kani- whom 'Pac modeled for and refused to charge. He popularized the Grant Hill Fila's wore exclusive Jordans and more and looked good in it all!
BANDANNAS and SNAPBACKS- He wasn't the first rapper to wear a bandanna or the first to turn his snapback backwards, but mix that with his music and rebellious attitude and he embodied the style.
LEATHER, VELOUR, VELVET, SILK FABRICS- 'Pac was a fan of luxury and style and Gianni Versace's favorite rapper. In fact, 2pac was the first rapper ever to walk in a high fashion show when Versace invited him (and fiance Kidada Jones along with huge body guard Frank Alexander) to walk in his fall '96 show and perform 'California Love' in a gold suit. He was also a fan of leather vests, velour tees, and silk shirts. Mostly by Versace of course.
BUTTON UPS- Maybe it was due to his preppy school days style, but Tupac was able to wear a button up, well, buttoned all the way up to the top and pulled it off without looking like he was trying too hard
DENIM ON DENIM- Excessively baggy, overly stylish, Pac wore a Canadian tuxedo in the most thuggish way possible and was not afraid to mix and match his denim washes.