Hip Hop has evolved a lot since the 1980s. Not only have the sounds changed, but the style and iconography have changed as well. One clear way to mark the change has been what the most famous rappers of the decade are wearing on their heads.
LL Cool J and the Kangol Bucket Hat used to have one of the tightest relationships. Kangol started out as a British headwear company with the likes of Princess Diana repping the brand in Vogue. But when LL Cool J added this hat to the lineup of his already well-known hat collection, Kangol themselves note that sales had never been higher. This relationship soon blossomed into a beautiful polygamous ordeal and rappers like Run DMC, Eminem, and Rick Ross joined ranks. These were the first bucket hats to really make it big.
Now, if you still want to rock a Kangol hat, here is the 2015 edition. It’s not fuzzy, or bright red, but it’s a nod to this iconic classic without any sacrifice in style.
The next time hip hop drove up hat sales was for New Era in the early 2000s. Everyone from 50 Cent to Plies to Ludacris was rocking these. New Era did collabs with many of the 2000s hottest rappers including Chris Brown, Fabolous, Ludacris, Fat Joe, and The Game. These partnerships cemented the brand’s relevancy and led it to become one of the top hat retailers. And Plies loved these hats so much he got a diamond encrusted medallion of a fitted cap. (I’m serious.)
New Era didn’t stop making hats when Fat Joe stopped making music. You can still find fitted hats to fit what you are a fan of here. They are top quality and earned a place in hip-hop’s hall of fame because they carry enough swag to pack a punch.
Now the top contender in hip hop headwear is Mitchell & Ness x Don C caps. The brand started out repping Philly teams all the way back in the early 1900s. It now reps headwear for all major athletic associations and everyone from Lil Wayne to Kanye West to Jay-Z can be seen rocking these, considering that Don C is Kanye West’s manager, and the man’s designs have continuously made waves in the headwear game. With their latest release being hyped all over social media, they remain to be the most notable headwear for now. Check out the latest line here.
What's next though? Will it be something from Yeezus? Will Pharell wear a hat that the rest of us can wear through truck clearances? Will an up and comer like Raury make wide brim straw hats the next Kangol Bucket hat? There’s no way to tell, but whatever it is, I really hope Plies gets another diamond encrusted medallion of whatever it is.