Style is about more than just fashion. Style is a way of living life, putting your mark on the world, identifying who you are and what you care about. And looking like a fucking boss. There is no question about who is directing style trends right now: the hip-hop elite. It’s not even close. Every brand has a relationship with someone who is spitting bars, and even if they don’t their customers are influenced by them. / It’s time to name names. Here are the 21 style elite from the world of hip-hop, with some explanation as to why they’re here with us today. / Hip-hop is not the oldest music genre, but in 2016 it’s not the youngest either. There are icons who have come and gone who have left their marks in important ways, but we’re focusing on who is still alive — whether they’re still on the charts or not.
21. Two Chainz
Two Chainz launched a career with a name based on an audacious style move: Literally wearing two chains. This guy might look like pure flash but his has stood up to that criticism after that initial press of fame. His extracurricular activities have been centered around spending a lot of money (see: GQ‘s Most Expensivest Shit series), and he always wears his money on his neck — or wrist, or waist — but make no mistake, this guy is putting down rhymes and glittering while he does.
20. Flavor Flav
Admit it, you’re looking at the photo of Flava Flav and you don’t recognize him but you see the big clock around his neck and know it must be him. We could post a picture of a cat wearing a big watch as a collar and you’d think it’s Flava Flav. That’s the value of a signature look. It takes balls to wear something like that around your neck every day forever, but Flav has done just that. Maybe you can’t name a single song of his, maybe you only know his voice from his dating show, but thanks to a commitment to the clock around his neck, he’ll never be forgotten.
19. Andre 3000
The most iconic thing about Andre 3000 is his broad smile, but next to that are his glasses and eclectic taste. Never afraid of a Pork Pie Hat, a bowtie, or a ridiculous costume, Andre employs style as a tool for self-expression, not as a burden for building an identity. In an industry where everyone takes themselves far too seriously, Andre is just having fun with the whole thing which is ultimately more impactful that some of the other looks on this list.