When Punk Rock Meets Hip Hop by RobinK

Every few weeks, a group of friends and I get together and wax philosophical. We drink beers, eat food, and invent ridiculous scenarios where Donald Trump isn't our president and smoking weed is legal everywhere. I have a friend, Caleb, who will always deter us from these "what-if" scenarios to play us music he loves on Youtube. Most of the time it's foot-stomping folk punk or harder bands screaming about their disappointment with the corruption of society or government hypocrisy. Lately, though, it's been a lot of hip-hop.

I'll be honest, I know nothing about rap and hip-hop. I'm a self-proclaimed punk rocker who swoons at Iggy Pop's 70-year-old abs and Joey Ramone's uplifting pop lyrics. But there is something I've noticed about the new-to-me genre and I can't tell if I'm annoyed or intrigued. As time goes on and the musical genres we knew as youngsters morphs and births subgenres, I'm starting to see an amalgamation of trends that span across subcultures.

What I mean to say is that I've been noticing A LOT of punk rock fashion and attitude meshed with hip-hop flare. D.R.A.M (omg, how adorable is he?!) for instance, has that hipster look with his thick-rimmed glasses, knit hats, and skinny jeans. Sure, that's not his look ALL of the time, but I've seen enough pictures and videos where he definitely looks like he'd fit right in at a cafe in Logan Square.

Kanye, Puff Daddy, and A$AP Rocky (to name a few) have been seen wearing kilts which screams Malcolm McLauren of Sex Pistols fame while Jay Z and Big Sean wear cut off jean vests. I know, punk rockers didn't invent these iconic fashion items, but they have been proudly sporting them much longer. The same goes for leather jackets with studs/spikes.

I'm not even hating on this fashion mash-up, it's actually really great to see different subcultures coming together in wearable art. The only thing that confuses me is seeing t-shirts with punk band names strewn together haphazardly. When people buy these shirts, is this a way to make the band known or is it just fashion? When does music stop being music and start only being fashion?

Let me know in the comments what you think.


PS: If you're wanting to dive into punk, check out this awesome article, "A Rap Fans Guide to Punk" from complex.com.

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