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salt-n-pepper-1987.jpgRemember the days when the leading ladies of Hip-Hop were a balanced blend of lyrical ease and a fashion sense that rivaled the most freshest of her male counterparts. Image seemed the least of her concern as sex appeal was more so suggested through attitude and slick talk. The wardrobes of Hip-Hop divas were dominated by baggy jeans, baseball caps and combat boots. As Hip Hop grew these staples made their way to becoming extinct. Having been donned by the most legendary of female MC’s for almost a decade, the fashion game for females in Hip-Hop had transformed into an entity all its own. As sexier more feminine images of female MC’s had been explored in the 80’s by rap duo Salt ‘N’ Pepa, it wasn’t until somewhere in the mid-90’s that Hip Hop’s newest generation would officially turn in the combat boots for couture. By the late 90’s a progressively glamorized group of female rappers had fully emerged. On a trip down memory lane Clutch joined by some of today’s emerging stars, look back at some of the most memorable fashion trends, hits and misses from our favorite women in Hip-Hop.

In search of common ground between today’s uniquely diverse emerging female rappers, Hip-Hop cultists have found a way to combine trends from the past with freshly animated twists. While lyrically acts like Muffy and Kid Sister range differently from artists like Nikki Minaj and Kristen B., you can bet they all share the love of a pair of bamboo earrings and colored skinny jeans. I’m such an 80’s baby.” Laughs NYC MC Nicki Minaj. “I loved the Salt N Pepa Era with the bamboo earrings and the cut up jeans with the gold caps!” she reminisces. “My all time favorite was my girl Lil Kim’s sequin outfit with one breast out! I loved it and the matching lavender wig was dope!” chimes in fellow NYC MC Kristen B. “Lil Kim is one of my favorite female rappers who changed the game with her style! Her style at the time was so unique and something so new!! She was sexy and raunchy but demanded respect from everyone. It was so natural and seemed unforced.” Adds Kristen, the new school hopeful who compares her style to pop star Rihanna. “Looking at Rihanna today, she would have to be one person that I could see a reflection of myself in. We both can change up our style at any given moment, whether it’s a punk rock look, glam look or around the way girl look, we both always blend right in.” says the glamour girl. In an industry dominated by men, it can be an especially hard struggle for even the most talented of female artists to leave an impact without a head turning style. “I feel like their are less and less artist who dare to be true trendsetters…they are trendy though…but, it’s a big difference!” Atlanta underground artist and trendsetter Muffy tells us. “All the girls I know that had even a bit of tomboy in them went in with that whole style… Same as for with Lil Kim and Foxy, everyone went designer crazy. With Trina everybody just knew they were the “Baddest Bitch”. Lil Mama and Missy really appeal to the retro hip-hop style and 80’s lovers fell on in.” she adds.

With almost three decades since the first female MC Lady B recorded “To The Beat, Yall” we’ve seen the most unexpected, dopest and even downright laughable trends from our favorite rap divas. And as the next generation might seem so outwardly diverse, they all strive to promote individuality.

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  • Oh my goo’ness! I used to rock my hair just like Salt-N-Pepa… and you best believe I had the hat to match! LOL!

  • You best believe I wanted to be Salt growing up. She was the fly light skinned shorty! Those were the days….

    It’s sad that the Grammy’s used to have a category for best female rapper and eliminated the category several years ago. A chick can’t come out on her own unless she’s got a crew of dudes backing her. The last SICK femcee that didn’t need a crew to back her up was/is Bahamadia. She’s a bad shut your mouth….

  • johnny

    Ladies in the game fashion wise has changed a great deal…Roxanne Shante hands down gets the bamboo trophy!!! No other female MC rocked a bigger pair of Bamboos then Shannie….NOT even Salt N’Pepa! Salt N’Pepa along with J.J.Fad gave you spandex suits and big jackets with dookie ropes. The Real Roxanne,Sparky D.,and Finesse & Synquis all rocked the Dapper Dan faux Louie,Gucci,and MCM suits…Oaktown’s 357 made biker shorts popular. MC Lyte gave you Tomboy as someone mentioned earlier she rocked alot of khaki back in the days. Sweet Tee & Antoinette gave you around the way girl. You had the afrocentric look that was adorned through early Queen Latifah with the crowns and what not. The Cookie Crew chose Afrocentric prints as did Boogie Down Productions Harmony who was the precursor to Erykah Badu. Yo-Yo brought you straight up west coast with the braids and basket weaves. Early mid 90’s brought you the gangsta bitch era where girls like Bo$$,Nikki D.,LeShaun,and Hurricane G. gave you baggy jeans,timbs,chucks,and oversized coats,and vests. 95 brought you Lil’Kim who many credit as being the first to give you sex pot even though Chicago’s own H.W.A and Houston’s Choice were Raunchier 5 years prior to Lil Kim, she did bring the glamour aspect to the game which in turn opened the door for the Foxy Brown’s,Eve’s,Trinas,Charli Blatimore’s etc….