Diamonds & Wood: Illustrating Today’s Worst Hip-Hop Fashion Trends

"Diamonds & Wood" is an ongoing series in which music critic Shea Serrano breaks down the 5 hip-hop tracks you need to hear this week.

I got into an argument recently with a man that I suspect either likes me a little or hates me a lot (those two are easy to confuse, in that they both involve occasionally acting like a total dick). Initially, the conversation addressed the assertion that Donald Gambino makes in this video clip around the 1:30 mark about old rap not being nearly as amazing as most everyone likes to pretend it is.

Mostly, I agreed with Glover (because it's so clearly obviously true). I did offer a concession however: While rap from the last fifteen years is dominant in nearly every way when compared to the first 15 years following its genesis, the fashion trends of recent are no less disastrous. I mean, sure, there's of course the backwards clothes thing and the puffy pants thing and the overalls thing and so on, and those are absolutely ludicrous THINGS, for certain. But, dudes, do you even have eyes? Because, for realsies, today's today is a byzantine complexity. Here are a few of the most egregious...

Shea Serrano is a writer living in Houston, TX. His work has appeared in the Houston Press, LA Weekly, Village Voice, XXL, The Source, Grantland and more. You can follow him on Twitter here.

  • MaG

    couldn’t have said this better myself. addedum: the deceased black baby slip-ins are giveaways for every purchase of a gun made at Walmart…if i’m lying i’m dying.

  • Luchini

    Slide 4. I initially thought you were addressing the masses as “my sons”. Then stinky poo happened.

    • Shea

      hahaha. That’s exactly how I talk about it too. It’s like D-Day. “…Then stinky poo happened.”

  • uhhh

    …How are these “trends”….

  • Louis

    The skilt gon’ catch you boys! you just wait!

  • Mark

    I think A$AP’s loafers are actually trendy. Boat shoes like Sperry’s are always a summer classic, and he is just doing it a bit more over the top but still classy. I also think Kanye’s kilt is a bold move and fashion-forward. It’s been on the runway for the past 3 years. I’m surprised H&M hasn’t tried to run off some cheap polyester version already for the masses. I would like to know what you think are THE BEST HIP-HOP FASHION trends before you critique these guys. New Boyz fashion sucks, agreed. But, A$AP is a trend-setter and the Versace slipper Trinidad wore are sold out. P.S. – the Christian Louboutin Mikaraja flat loafers are $2,095.00.

    • Shea

      $2,095?! Hand to God, I paid $2,000 for my car.

      • Shea

        p.s. Thanks for taking the time to leave such a lucid comment. Sincerely.

    • Kevin

      Of course Rocky’s loafers are trendy, everything Rocky wears is trendy (and usually exceptionally and ridiculously hideous). You saying that they are trendy is not an argument not a valid point. But classy? Absolutely not. And yes kilts are bold and fashion forward but that doesn’t make them any less terrible. They are still just about the worst thing ever.

  • ATLien

    How in the FUCK do you think that the rap of the last 15 years (which would be 1997-2012) is “dominant” in nearly every way to the 15 years following its genesis ?

    The last 15 years have produced some great acts and some great music, but it is nowhere fucking close to the what came out in the 90s. Liquid Swords, Illmatic, Enter-the-36 chambers, ATLiens, Aquemini, all the records from the Tribe, etc. That’s all superior to what has come out in the last 15 years (save maybe Jay-Z or Kanye West).

    • Shea

      hahaha. Probably meant to write first ten years versus last ten. Although, to, as they say, step on the anthill, Liquid Swords and ATLiens and Aquemini and the last few records from ATCQ came after 1995 (and Illmatic was 1994, which would only qualify it if you went with 1979 as the start of hip-hop, which is probably mostly true), so even with the 15 Year Window you can’t claim those.

      But for realsies, that’s a great comment. I hope you’re around more later.


      • ATLien

        Yeah…. and after I typed up the comment, I realized that Aquemini came out in 1998, but I still think you got the general jist of my comment. Notice that I intentionally left off Biggie and 2Pac. I like them both, but sometimes feel like they are given too much credit.

        What year did Ghetto Dope come out ? ’1997, I think. I know it really isn’t cool to admit it now, but I was all about some Master P for about a 6-month window back in the day….

        • Shea


          • ATLien

            UNNNGGGHHH !

            I’ll never forget the day that me and two of my buddies piled into a 1986 Honda Accord and drove to the Old National Discount Mall (D-Mall, for short) in College Park. The D-Mall was the sort of place where you could buy a Tommy Hill t-shirt for $10 and the tag would say “Hanes”. (It was also a great place to go for fake IDs). Anyway, we had a hook-up there that would get all of the No Limit shit MONTHS before it came out in the stores. We picked up “Da Last Don” which was a double CD that Master P put out and had been hyping up with every No Limit release.

            This was the same day we realized that Master P fell off. It was horrible. He had a good run, though. Somebody told me he owns a bunch of fast food franchises now.

  • Tjay

    Slide 1: Dead infant loaf’s definitely gotta go. A fucking SAP.
    Slide 2: He may have a legit reason for wearing those. Gotta stay prepared for the thirsty groupie hoes who be chasin’.
    Slide 3: Rocky actually looked somewhat cool whenever he wore the skilt in his Long Live A$AP music video.
    Slide 4: Thank Baby Jesus they’re not even relevant anymore. Not since ’09 at least.
    Slide 5: I don’t even..

    • Louis

      I’m telling you the skilt can be rocked, depends on the situation though and definitely not bare legged.

      • Shea

        Instagram it, son.

  • Jedi

    Non Scottish people, especially black dudes wearing kilts is just as bad as white people with dreadlocks. I’d respect it more if they just told the truth and called it a skirt. It would still be stupid tho. And since when are we respecting childish gambinos opinion on hip hop? Just because he raps (and pretty well I admit)? They been rapping in cereal commercials since the 90s, that don’t mean I gotta respect the trix rabbits opinion on vinyl vs Serato.

  • Beefcake

    You cant wear shorts?