Killa Cam: How Pink Fur Became A Hip-Hop Emblem

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The ensemble cost him $5,000, roughly a fifteenth of what Cam’ron tried selling it for in 2014. The farmer jacket alone took a month to create; the dyeing itself is a two-step process. But what that cotton candy pink mink has come to represent — well, not even Cam’ron can put a price on that.

“[Pink] has been a color that has been associated with not being masculine. Anybody that knows Cam knows that he is masculine,” said Monica Morrow, his personal stylist at the time.

It was Morrow’s idea for the Harlem rapper to start wearing pink from head to toe in music videos and public appearances. She couldn’t have been more right. At the 2002 Grammys, he turned heads while wearing that Liberace-like jacket with matching Timberland boots and headband. Outside a 2003 Baby Phat runway show, to meet childhood friend-turned manager Damon Dash, Cam pulled up in the same mink with a matching flip phone. This was his first time at New York Fashion Week. He made the appearance count.

To his recollection, the next day Cam’ron was pictured on Page Six in The New York Post. He made the third page of New York Daily News. Pink fur was now a hip-hop emblem. “I knew there was going to be a thousand cameras around,” he told Complex in 2014. “Everybody’s coming in there fresh — what am I gonna do to stand out?”

By the late ’90s, when Cam’ron released his debut Confessions Of Fire, hip-hop was touted as a key influence in fashion. Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Timberland and Nike built their brands off of hip-hop artists’ cosigns. Sean John had just launched at a Las Vegas trade show. Christian Dior featured low-slung “hip-hop” pants in its “Street Chic” collection, its runway show complete with exaggerated, chola-inspired makeup.

Cam’ron was compared to Diddy early on, because of how he fused his pop sensibilities with tongue-twisting lyricism that critics often found to be hardcore. But his own sense of style wouldn’t come into full focus until several years later. To this day, one of his fashion role models is hip-hop forefather Slick Rick. As the self-proclaimed Sultan of Swag, Slick Rick rocked his signature eye-patch as hard as he would a stack of gold chains. Meanwhile, Cam’ron wasn’t wearing pink yet, though he was sporting velour suits and earmuffs, furs and alligator shoes.

The plot of Cam’ron’s 2002 “Hey Ma” video, silly as it is, solidified the color’s cool factor to a growing audience: Fellow Dipset crew member Juelz Santana, wearing a basketball jersey, can’t get inside a club because the bouncer won’t let him through. But when Cam’ron arrives, mobbed up in a pale pink sweatsuit, he strolls right in.