The 2013 Versace Family: Migos, Drake, Lady Gaga, and Donatella.
Photo: Getty Images/Versace/Quality Control Music
The intersection and overlap of music and fashion is nothing new. In fact, it's the very foundation on which MTV Style exists (without it, I'm pretty sure we would implode on ourselves in a flurry of glitter, which would be pretty...but very, very sad *whimpers*). It's been an exciting year for our favorite cultural cross section, with each side informing the other countless times, from designers tapping musicians for campaigns to musicians revealing their own designs. But the phenomenon we enjoyed the MOST this year? The designer track. That is, a track inspired by a specific designer or label, usually featuring the fashion house's name in the hook.
Sure, we've seen these in previous years—Kreayshawn's "Gucci Gucci" and Soulja Boy Tell 'Em's "Louis Vuitton" in 2011, Kanye West's "Christian Dior Denim Flow" in 2010, Jennifer Lopez's "Louboutins" in 2009, and so on—but the sheer volume of songs dedicated to fashion darlings in a year amplified by the earworm "and we'll never be roooooyaaaaals" is SUPER interesting and worth a closer look.
Thirteen years ago, Eminem released The Marshall Mathers LP and the world was formally introduced to the ~real~ Slim Shady: crisp white tees, baggy jeans, a ton of du-rags and a platinum blonde buzz-cut. OK, so the really real Slim Shady (aka: Marshall Mathers), is actually a natural brunette—but Em’s blonde locks quickly became synonymous with his rap persona during his breakthrough era. In fact, Em kept bleaching his hair through 2009, when he reemerged from a short hiatus with Relapse, his sixth studio album, and first debuted his dark, natural color.
At that point, he’d also kicked a few bad habits, beefed up his physique and sharpened his style game: he traded du-rags for military caps and beanies and swapped saggy tracksuits for leather bombers—but that was just the beginning of the evolution of Marshall Mathers. Flash forward to last May, when Em announced he was working on a new album. That album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, was released today and is a sequel to his eponymous 2000 EP. Em went back to blonde for MMLP2 and told Rolling Stone in an upcoming cover story that he credits his manager for the throwback 'do idea.
"And once the songs started to come together and the picture got a little more clear of what it was gonna be, [my manager] hit me with the idea and I was like ‘Yo, you know I thought about that, right?’ And he was like, ‘Well you know, why not?’ And I was like ‘I don’t know how it’s gonna look. I haven’t had it in how many f****** years? Five, six years.’ I was like, ‘I’m so used to it being dark,’ you know. So I just tried it. And I was like ‘F*** it.’”
The designers Dolce & Gabbana may be in hot water, sentenced to prison for tax evasion, and enduring multiple lawsuits, but that's not stopping Riff Raff from glorifying the design duo in his latest single and music video. Titled "Dolce & Gabbana," the track's hook hammers home that the Neon Icon only devotes time to ladies who rep the Italian label. (Miley, Katy and ScarJo, looks like today's your lucky day!) With a title like that, you can expect more fashion lyrics where that came from, so we pulled out our favorite style-centric lines and set them over stills from Jody Highroller's hilarious new video. Enjoy!
A still from Riff Raff's "Dolce & Gabbana" music video.
Photo: Mad Decent/Photoshop: MTV
Looks like we just might be one step closer to that full-length Angel Haze studio album, folks! The quick-lipped MC premiered a new single off her hotly anticipated Dirty Gold project yesterday. It's called "Echelon (It's My Way)" and as you can probably expect from the title, the record is just over three-and-a-half minutes of Haze spitting swagger and talking tall.
Photo: Getty Images/Photoshop: MTV
Most notable to us, though, is that amidst name dropping a handful of cars and slipping in a nod to Kanye (Feed me berries out in Paris / While I'm counting my croissants), she reps hard for the fashion community in her rhymes, even incorporating Fashion Week into the hook.
Enter the age of Kendrick Lamar in white tees and Nike Cortez sneakers.
Photo: Getty Images
Last night and all day today, Kendrick Lamar has been at the forefront of every hip-hop conversation thanks to an inspired (as if any one adjective could do it justice) verse on a track called "Control" which was originally meant for Big Sean's forthcoming Hall Of Fame album but won't appear reportedly due to sample-clearance issues. The centerpiece of discussion is Kendrick's heated by-name call-out of a laundry list of MCs: J. Cole, Big K.R.I.T., Wale, Pusha T, Meek Mill, A$AP Rocky, Drake, Tyler, The Creator, Mac Miller and even Sean and Jay Electronica who flank K-Dot on the track. More than a jarringly high profile call-to-action name drop, though, Lamar's verse is an iron-fisted mandate, an ultimatum that the entire rap game step up lyrically else he's pilfering all his friends' fans. What does this have to do with style? Amidst Kendrick's tough love edict to elevate the genre, he also rejects high fashion, ushering in a new era for his personal style.
The thing about 2 Chainz (as so many of my conversations start) is: he's hilarious. How can you not find some place in your heart for an MC who spits, in complete earnest, "She got a big booty, so I call her 'Big Booty'"? Or who rolls up to the Grammys looking like Versace Dracula?? Whether the humor in his lyrics (and in IRL) is completely unintentional or keenly self-aware, to me, is irrelevant—I love him preeeeetty unconditionally. So, it's no surprise that when he dropped the music video for his "Feds Watching" track featuring Pharrell, I was instantly obsessed. The best part? It's teeming with not one, not two, but, like 10 über-chic, stiletto-clad models and a wealth of fashion lyrics (even if we're pretty sure he says "Como des Garçons." Just in case you're as stoked as us on all of the above, we illustrated our fave quotables with stills from the vid. Enjoy!
Photo: Island Def Jam
Photo: Island Def Jam
Just in case you haven't been near a television, computer, or mobile device in the past few weeks, Jay-Z has a brand new album he's dropping on July 4, 2013 (a.k.a. TOMORRROW). He's partnered with Samsung for an unprecedented release tactic where the first 1 million downloads will be available for free via the Magna Carta Holy Grail app on Galaxy phones (S III, S 4, and Note II). In the meantime, Jigga has been unveiling behind-the-scenes sneak peeks and lyric sheets for the new tracks piecemeal every day. Naturally, there are plenty of fashion references (from songs named after American designer Tom Ford and Pharrell co-founded Billionaire Boys Club to a song called "Oceans" that's markedly akin to Kanye West's "New Slaves"), and naturally, we're calling out our favorites (yes, there are actually more than this) and illustrating them for all your Tumblr needs. Enjoy!
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images/Photoshop: Gaby Wilson
Rappers dropping fashion references in their lyrics is certainly no new thing, but as a species that thrives on the intersection of music and fashion, each new style name-drop-laden track is just as exciting as the last. The latest addition to this extra-special breed of song? Wiz Khalifa's "Old Chanel" which features Smoke DZA. The hook, as expected, reps the iconic Karl Lagerfeld helmed label (though we're not sure why Wiz didn't opt for "vintage" as opposed to "old"), but there are even more fashion shout-outs on this heavily vibing, head-bopping track. Peep our five favorite references which we illustrated below (and are perfect for Tumbling)!
Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Atlantic Records