Written by Alan Ng
Edited by Jenkin Au
Photography by Jenkin Au
The resurgence of vintage gear and rappers from the golden era of hip-hop returning to release full-length albums with producers that they have worked with for over a decade, and the never-changing attitude of hip-hop rules laid out many years ago, are still in effect to this date. Why are vintage snap-backs and plain tees with graffiti art so popular, and what makes old school players in the game so advantageous?
Fashion styles goes in cycles and while vintage gear might not be popular all the time, it is currently at its peak. People are ordering snap backs from their favorite sport teams back in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The limited colour ways of past teams certainty has their own flavor and taste. Not only do they bring a feeling of nostalgia to its wearer, it could teleport a person back in time to where their grandfather was sitting at the stadium. Plain tees with silk-screened graffiti art and simple typography serves as the basis of street culture-inspired tees.
Old school artists always have their game on lock. With the recent years of new rap freshmens featured every year, their ability to stay relevant or popular could very well be less than a year. With the current power of technology, it is indeed easier to be discovered, but it is even easier to be knocked down. The fact is that old school rappers never left the game. Many were able to release an album a year and have been featured in tracks to assist the up-and-comers. Their involvement could very well be more discrete, as they have ventured off into production, and other venues of creative art.
The reason behind the success and strong reputation from the old school is obvious, yet often understated. These talents have not only emerged in the period of time with the highest failure rate in terms of being to make it in the game, but they are also the ones with the least support from technology and other successful acts bringing them up.
In contrast, there is no way to compare an artist from today to an artist from the ‘80s and ‘90s, but it is obvious that they are separate breeds. A street wear fashion brand cannot go back in time to create one of the first graffiti graphic tees, or be able to truthfully start a brand in hip-hop’s golden age. The tools that are available for them to utilize is beyond imaged. New rappers can get direct guidance from older cats and the fact that there are so many of them in the game makes the competition more furious, hence a filter is already in place for taking out the weaker ones. This marks an interesting period of street culture and hip-hop where both the new and the older cats from the golden hip-hop era are still going hard at their craft creatively. Hip-hop’s alive and the advantage is definitely on the old school field.