Bucket Hats in Hip-hop Culture

When it comes to hip hop music, our first significant impression is its clothing and accessory. The clothing and accessory trends in connection with hip hop and rap music have become a key element of popular fashion all over the world. Hip-hop music began in the late 1970s and early 1980s; it has brought the development of fashion industry. One of the most influential stylistic trends have been introduced by hip hop to modern fashion was the symbolic headwear that were worn by rappers at that time.  

Hip Hop has changed a lot since the 1980s. Not only have the music changed, but also the style and pattern of their clothing have changed. As Hip-hop moved from the Bronx to worldwide phenomenon in the late 1980s, the bucket hat came with it.

As we all know, the bucket hat first appeared in hip-hop on the head of Big Bank Hank of Sugar Hill Gang, who wore the hat during a 1979 performance of “Rapper’s Delight” on the seminal disco television show Soap Factory, and it promptly launched a phenomenon, stimulating others to embrace the hat, including Run-DMC in 1984. However, the bucket hat’s most famous rap-world representative LL Cool J wore a bucket hat on the image of his 1985 album Radio, which was provided by Kangol, a British headwear company. After that, LL Cool J made the Kangol company a well-known brand. By 1989, when LL Cool J was cruising through LA in the video for “Going Back to Cali” in a canvas version of his signature accessory, the bucket hat has already become a hip-hop symbol, worn by Run-DMC and Jaz-O. Many artists were adopting the Kangol bucket hat look; the hat enters into the fashion world and it becomes a new fashion trend in hip hop headwear. Rappers like Run DMC and Rick Ross, and eventually even Eminem in the late 1990s and early 2000s, they all wore Kangol bucket hats.

This phenomenon illustrates how hip hop influence the fashion trend. Actually, Kangol bucket hats are still available in present, although their look are no longer like the original hat worn by LL Cool J’s signature style. The materials and patterns still refer to the original retro bucket hats in the 1980s and 1990s.

Rappers made certain brands of clothing or accessories or styles of hats by adopting them as their own “signature looks”. They wanted to stand out from others by wearing special clothing. Which means that they need to take a piece of clothing or an accessory that designed for their own features and bring a new life into their overlook.

About a decade later, the bucket hat has become the symbolic of a very different music genre. Rihanna herself is a super fan of the bucket hat; she likes to wear fancy bucket hats no matter what the occasion and what style of her clothing. It seems that she can always match her clothing with her different hats. In fact, bucket hats and rappers are still intimate friends at present, for increasing rappers like to wear the hat.