Why do people in Hip Hop wear baggy Clothes?

Last Updated on August 31, 2023 by Chase Reiner

Baggy clothes became popular in hip-hop culture in the 1970s as a way to express individuality and reject traditional forms of dress. They were also seen as a way to make a statement about social and economic status. For example, baggy clothes were often worn by people who lived in poverty, as they were a way to hide their body and make themselves look bigger.

What is the Hip Hop Music?

What is the Hip Hop Message

Hip-hop music is a genre born out of the rich cultural tapestry of African-American and Latino communities in New York City during the 1970s. Rooted in rhythmic beats, expressive lyrics, and artistic self-expression, hip-hop has become a global phenomenon that has influenced various aspects of popular culture. In this listicle, we will delve into the world of hip-hop, exploring its origins, evolution, and lasting impact.

  1. The Birth of Hip Hop:
  • Originating in the South Bronx, hip-hop emerged as a form of expression for marginalized communities seeking an outlet to convey their experiences and emotions.
  • Influenced by various genres, such as funk, disco, and reggae, early hip-hop artists like DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash sparked the movement by hosting parties where they played breakbeats and rapped over them.
  1. The Four Pillars of Hip Hop:
  • DJing: The foundation of hip hop culture, DJs use turntables and mixers to create unique beats and manipulate records to keep the crowd engaged.
  • MCing (Rapping): MCs, or rappers, deliver lyrics filled with social commentary, personal stories, and poetic expressions, often accompanied by intricate wordplay and storytelling techniques.
  • Breaking (B-boying/B-girling): Breaking is a highly athletic dance form characterized by dynamic moves, acrobatics, and intricate footwork. It became an iconic visual element of hip hop culture.
  • Graffiti Art: Graffiti artists use walls and public spaces as their canvas, depicting vibrant visual narratives that reflect the social and political realities of their communities.
  1. Evolution and Diversification:
  • Hip hop evolved rapidly in the ’80s, with artists like Run-D.M.C., Public Enemy, and N.W.A. pushing the genre’s boundaries and addressing social issues through their music.
  • In the ’90s, a new wave of artists like Tupac Shakur and The Notorious B.I.G. brought storytelling and introspection to mainstream prominence, while acts like Salt-N-Pepa and Missy Elliott challenged gender stereotypes in the industry.
  • The 2000s witnessed the rise of sub-genres like gangsta rap, conscious rap, and alternative hip hop, further diversifying the sounds and messages within hip hop.
  1. Influence on Popular Culture:
  • Hip hop’s impact extends beyond music, influencing fashion, dance, language, and visual arts around the world.
  • Artists like Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Nicki Minaj have not only achieved commercial success but have also used their platforms to advocate for social change and address important issues.
  • Hip hop has facilitated dialogue on topics like racial inequality, police brutality, and systemic oppression, becoming a powerful tool for social activism.
  1. Global Reach:
  • Despite its origins in New York City, hip-hop has spread to every corner of the globe, with artists from diverse cultures embracing and incorporating its elements into their music.
  • Artists like Eminem, Drake, and BTS have achieved worldwide acclaim, demonstrating the genre’s universal appeal and ability to transcend cultural boundaries.

How did the Baggy Clothing Style originate?

Whatever we wear is an expression of who we are and our personality. Any outfit worn has an inspiration behind it. Otherwise, we would all emulate our ancestor’s primitive way of dressing. 

Dressing styles have different meanings based on personal beliefs, history, and culture. Such implications can be portrayed in the design of clothing, the fabric texture, color, and even its writings.

Oversized clothing has a meaning behind it. In Hip Hop, the idea of baggy clothing is said to have originated from Urban Black American gang members known as Crips and Blood of the 1930s to 1940s after being imprisoned. 

Oversized t-shirts and trousers represented the baggy t-shirts they wore in prison. The falling pants worn by rappers also represent the falling trousers they wore in jail since their belts were taken away. 

Additionally, loose shoes with no shoelaces meant the boots were worn in prison. Shoelaces were taken away by prison warders to prevent the inmates from causing harm to themselves and others through hanging and suffocation by tying the laces around the neck.

Baggy clothing was inspired by the US prison system’s lack of proper-sized clothing.

Over time, oversized clothing becomes a symbol of freedom and cultural awareness. The oversized dress was also used to symbolize the rejection against mainstream values in society. 

The rappers’ baggy clothing shifted focus away from the body and moved it towards the music message.

 In general, clothes became baggier in the late ’80s and early ’90s. In retail malls, racks were often left with XXLs on sale. Oversized clothing was challenging to sell from jeans, t-shirts, and football jerseys, which would be heavily discounted. So many shoppers took advantage of low prices, and these outfits were classically made by fashion iconic designers like Mitchell& Ness, and Tommy Hilfiger, among others.

The Celebrities Who Popularized Baggy Clothing

The Celebrities Who Popularized Baggy Clothing

Two teenage rappers, Kriss Kross, wore baggy style so well. In their music video, they are seen wearing oversized baggy outfits matching in color from head to toe. 

Kross’s baggy style spread like wildfire. Many youths loved him; hence teenagers started wearing baggy clothing too. It is believed Kriss Kross’s baggy style impacted the fashion industry. 

Nonetheless, many stars wore baggy styles before Kriss Kross. The one who stood out was duo DJ Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince (Willy Smith) On the cover of 1989’s “And In This Corner,” followed by Mc Hammer in the “U Can’t Touch This’ music video.”

Over time, baggy clothing became the new norm. Hip Hop rappers, in particular, took up baggy clothing as their unique fashion style that blended in with their music. People moved from everyday standard-fitting clothing styles to oversized clothing. 

To -date, baggy clothing is worn for different reasons. Some wear oversized clothing for comfort, others to hide their body shape, and hip-hop fans wear baggy clothes to emulate their favorite hip-hop artists.

The 4 Possible Reasons Why People in Hip hop Circles Wear Baggy Clothes

From the late 1980s to date, baggy hip-hop clothing has become synonymous with music. It has become a culture for hip-hop fans and artists. The hip Hop fashion trend has evolved over recent years. Apart from baggy clothes, rappers wear (Bling) huge chains and rings with gothic words. 

Some have tattoos and piercings from head to toe, not to forget basketball and skateboarding shoes. A hip-hop rapper cannot be a rapper without wearing gangster-style clothing and a bad-boy attitude!

Why do rappers and fans wear baggy clothes even in this era? 

To Emulate Legendary Hip Hop Celebrities

A good reason why people in hip-hop wear baggy clothes is to copy or emulate their mentors in hip-hop. Like a person who looks up to someone for motivation, rappers also look up to iconic rappers who have inspired them to make hip-hop music. In doing so, they intend to copy their fashion style. So, dressing in baggy clothes is a way to emulate them.

To Remember Time Spent in Prison

The baggy clothing style is historically known to have originated from the Black gang who had been imprisoned. Prison inmates were forced to dress in oversized t-shirts and loose pants since their belts were taken away. 

They also wore loose shoes with no shoelaces to make the inmates uncomfortable. When they were released from imprisonment, they continued to wear oversized clothing to show that they were in prison and did not care. Also, they wore baggy clothing as a sign of solidarity with their fellow inmates who were locked behind bars.

To Reflect Music Message

Super baggy clothing was considered synonymous with hip-hop music. Given the prison meaning, the baggy clothing reflected what hip-hop artists spoke about in their music. 

The music message was about their experiences in prison and their expectations after prison time, the social injustice faced by the Black Americans, their community, and the hardships they face in day-to-day life.

A Sign of Rejecting the Values of Mainstream Society

The idea of hip-hop was to act as a rebellion against mainstream culture and society that forces people to behave and act in a particular way. In mainstream media, musicians are expected to have a specific body in complexion and size. 

They were expected to dress in fitting and body-showing outfits. The rappers did the opposite of that. They dressed in baggy clothes mainly to shift the focus away from the body to their music.

Female hip-hop rappers wear baggy clothing to show their feminists and express that everything does not have to be fitting and tight to be sexy.

What Does Wearing Baggy Clothes Mean?

  1. Cultural Expression: Baggy clothes often reflect a person’s cultural identity or a group they identify with. For example, hip-hop culture, which emerged from African-American and Latino communities in the ’70s and ’80s, significantly influenced the popularity of baggy clothes.
  2. Comfort Preference: One of the essential reasons some individuals prefer baggy clothes is due to comfort. Loose clothing can offer more breathing space, less restrictive movement, and a relaxed fit, making the individual feel more at ease and comfortable.
  3. Rebellion Against Norms: Wearing baggy clothes can sometimes represent a form of rebellion against societal expectations or norms about body appearance. It can be a way of refusing to adhere to traditional clothing standards that favor form-fitting styles.
  4. Artistic Expression: For many, fashion is a personal art form. Some people prefer baggy clothes as part of their unique aesthetic. Oversized clothing can create interesting silhouettes and looks that are visually striking, in turn reflecting one’s creative style.
  5. Body Concealment: On a more personal level, some people may choose to wear baggy clothes as a means of concealing their bodies. This can stem from body image issues, self-consciousness, or a desire for physical modesty.
  6. Safety and Functionality: Certain occupations or activities can necessitate the use of baggy clothes. For instance, baggy clothes are typical in extreme sports like skateboarding or snowboarding for safety reasons. Similarly, dancers and artists often prefer loose-fitting garments for added flexibility and freedom of movement.

Why Are Baggy Clothes Making a Fashion Statement?

Baggy clothing was worn for decades, and nobody ever thought the oversized fashion would disappear. It lasted up to 2010, and in 2012, the style took a whole new ugly turn. A Super skinny outfit was introduced. This style did not last for long because it seemed so weird. 

Luckily regular jeans came back in style, and it looks like the baggy style of the ’90s is making a comeback.

Baggy clothing is still worn by everyone regardless of their musical taste. Fashion designers have found ways to incorporate baggy clothing with other fitting outfits to bring out trendy styles. 

A baggy kimono goes well with any pants. Also, oversized t-shirts blend so well in skinny jeans or skin tights. In Asian countries such as South Korea and India, baggy clothes are still trendy on a mainstream level.

No matter how fashion evolves, oversized t-shirt remains on-trend as they are comfortable to rock and can be easily accessorized to bring out the hottest style.



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