A Brief History of Hip-Hop and Goyard, the French Label for Real and Rap Royalty

Breaking down Goyard, the label beloved by everyone from Pharrell and Kanye West to Lil Yachty and Lil Uzi Vert.

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Complex Original

Image via Complex Original

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Owning a Goyard piece is the ultimate sign of the luxury. The French leather goods maker has been in business for over two centuries and serves so many kings, queens, princesses, dukes, and duchesses, that it reserves a special crown symbol exclusively for customers who can provide proof of royal lineage, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Goyard also dedicates an entire section on its site to its “clientele,” name dropping more than your one obnoxious friend who recently moved to L.A. “Pablo Picasso and Sacha Guitry, the Maharadjah of Kapurthala and Jacques Cartier, the Agnellis and the Rockefellers, the Romanovs and the Grimaldis, Estée Lauder and Barbara Hutton, Mrs. Pompidou and the Princess Aga Khan, Coco Chanel and Jeanne Lanvin, Romy Schneider and Sarah Bernhardt, Edith Piaf and Arthur Rubinstein, Cristobal Balenciaga, and Karl Lagerfeld,” the site reads.

However, Goyard left a pretty large and famous contingent off that list: the Goyard-obsessed rap community. The label’s trunks and bags are favorites of Kanye West, A$AP Rocky,Big Sean, Metro Boomin, Travi$ Scott, and Tyga, to name just a few. The label’s satchel bags are especially popular within the rap community—A$AP Rocky even brought his to this year’s Grammys red carpet.

Kanye West Goyard

The Cool Teens have also discovered the pleasures of Goyard. In addition to Metro Boomin, Lil Yachty featured a Goyard wallet in his “Things I Carry” story with The Fader, and Lil Uzi Vert is so attached to his bag, he wore it in the video for the XXL Freshman Cypher video. Famous Dex even wrote an entire song featuring Rich the Kid and titled it “Goyard.” Then Rich The Kid wore his Goyard bag during a Highsnobiety shoot—in the article he called it his favorite brand.

Rap’s obsession with the legendary label is not new, though. Many people are probably familiar with West’s verse from the 2007 track “The Glory:” “The fur is Hermes, shit that you don't floss/The Goyard so hard man, I'm Hugo's boss.” That was one of the first references to Goyard in rap, and according to Genius’ rap stats, mentions of the brand in songs peaked the very next year, in 2008. West would later mention the label again in late 2007 on the Cassidy song “My Drink N My 2 Step.” Plus, there’s that fantastically viral picture from Paris Fashion Week in 2009 that inspired a South Park episode. West is holding a Goyard trunk there.


Even though Kanye may have caught onto Goyard early in the grand scheme of things, technically he wasn’t first. There’s a reason that Kanye said, “Pharrell has always been my style idol,” while the latter was receiving his CFDA Fashion Icon Award. A year before “The Glory” came out, in 2006, Pharrell mentioned Goyard twice on his mixtape In My Mind. Once on “Liquid Swords,” and again on “It Was a Great Day.” A Genius spokesperson confirmed to us that Pharrell’s “It Was a Great Day” was the very first mention of Goyard in rap (the graph spikes at 2005, but the spokesperson said it’s a bug with the app). He raps a line on the song that might echo the sentiment of other rappers at the time: “Go yard, I rock Goyard, ‘What's that?’ Oh god.”

And once Pharrell put others rappers on Goyard it’s hard to forget about it. The label’s leather goods are printed with a distinctive chevron pattern. There are two competing rumors that surround the pattern. The first is that the Y-shape of the geometric pattern is meant to represent the middle letter in the word “Goyard.” Another rumor is that the Y is made up of three chevrons and is meant to symbolize three generations of the Goyard family.

Pharrell Goyard

What really helps the label stand out to the rich and elite is the ability to customize the leather goods. Goyard gives customers extensive customization possibilities on its website. You can change colors, print initials, add a variety of different stripes and then change the color of those stripes. When Goyard started it was a “practical imperative” to help travelers easily identify their luggage. However, it’s no doubt turned into an even greater sign of affluence. West once owned a backpack with a simple red ‘K’ next to a star in the lower right corner. Paper writes that Pharrell’s Goyard wallet is printed with his initials.

Pharrell and Kanye West are modern day royalty, so it only makes sense that they, along with a crop of other rappers, have gravitated to Goyard.  Rappers remain pop culture’s most important arbiters of taste, but instead of ruling with an iron first, they dominate by just looking cooler than the rest of us. Goyard is a proven ingredient in that recipe.

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