Our Favorite Hairstyles from Artists Who Helped Shape Hip Hop
It’s the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop and people across the globe are celebrating in all different ways, reflecting on the past and looking to the future. Even attendees at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos were treated to performances honoring Hip Hop’s history.
The world of hip hop has always been known for its innovation and flair, and its artists have consistently pushed boundaries not only with their music but also with fashion and hairstyles. From the early days of hip hop in the Bronx to the present, hip hop has given us some of the most iconic hairstyles, leaving a far reaching, indelible mark on trend. Let’s take a little spin through some of our favorites (a list that is by no means exhaustive!).
Epic Fade - Grace Jones
While Grace Jones is not a hip hop artist (she has plenty of other titles), her High Top Fade was a bold statement of confidence and self-assuredness that played on a prevailing style of the 80s. Making the style her own, Jones balanced the proportions of her fade creating a style that was futuristic and almost robotic, but somehow decidedly feminine. She challenged societal norms and ushered in a new era for styling that is still inspiring styles today.
Curling Iron - Queen Latifah
Queen Latifah’s hairstyles have continually evolved throughout her illustrious career. In fact, searching her looks through the decades is a perfect primer of what was driving trend. And while we love the Living Single styles, we’re nostalgic for her early hip hop hair days with curls on top and cropped sides. You can almost hear the hairdresser clapping the iron for the curls. *Clutches ears*
Braids - Snoop Dogg
Snoop Dogg has played around with many styles throughout his career, but we love his cornrows and pigtail braids the most. The braids just have a youthful and playful quality even when they’re in contrast to the content. It’s also clear that Snoop takes really good care of his hair and maybe we just want to know all of his tips. Have Martha and Snoop done any hair segments yet? Someone report back 🙏
Braids - Brandy
Brandy’s box braids had us Sittin’ Up in My (our) Room(s) dreaming that we could change them up that much. A lot of artists did different braided styles, but Brandy went deep! From micro to wavy to bang braids, Brandy had us wondering how much time she was in the chair or how many people may have been up in that hair. Looking back, each style is just immaculate.
Accessory - Tupac
Ok, this is less about the hair, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention one of the most recognizable accessories of Hip Hop: Tupac’s bandana. Regularly framing his face, Tupac’s bandanas and why he wore them is still fueling debate across the internet. There doesn’t seem to be a definitive reason for the bandana and we love the idea that they were perhaps just his bit of flair.
Mushroom - Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins
Often imitated, T-Boz had the original mushroom cut with the extra-long sideburns. We recently learned that she lovingly referred to them as her “Waterfall” sideburns and we’re just going to dig out our Crazy Sexy Cool CD and play it on our Aiwa boombox.
Long Weaves - Nicki Minaj
Nicki Minaj is famous for her extravagant and ever-changing hairstyles. From long, colorful weaves to elaborate wigs, Nicki's hair choices are as diverse as her music. She's shown that hair is a top form of self-expression, and her ability to effortlessly switch up her look has inspired a generation of wig enthusiasts. We appreciate hair as an accessory and very much credit Nicki for ushering in the idea that you can change up your hair just like your handbag.
Okay, okay, who did we miss here? Let us know!
(Some photos credited to Getty Images)