Article written by Studio BLUP features writer Anna Kioumourtzi

The Yonkers, New York, rapper, Earl “DMX” Simmons died on April 9th 2021, marking one of the saddest days in the world of hip-hop. DMX, who was only 50 when he passed away, combined raw charisma with hit-making savvy for a catalog that changed the sound of hip-hop.

A legendary rapper who was constantly evolving, DMX worked with Aaliyah, Jay-Z, Mary J Blige, Sisqo and many more; while he made his way to the big screen as the hip-hop scene’s R rated action hero, alongside Jet Li, Nas, Steven Seagal and others. He produced some of the most iconic albums, which shaped our urban hip-hop hearings, like Flesh of My Flesh Blood of My Blood, It’s Dark and Hell is Hot, as well as …And Then There Was X. 

Like many before him, in the case of DMX it was not simply the fact that he was a hugely talented artist that made him special, but rather the raw reality which he brought through his lyrics, style and choices. With a rugged aesthetic and one could say, a sonic type of sound, the rapper managed to become the “frontman” of a new street rap movement starting in 1998, not long after the death of Notorious B. I. G. in 1997. DMX took over the urban hip-hop scene like a whirlwind and he brought forward a new wave in sound and style for the hip-hop community. He progressively dared and brought the “bling era” to the epicentre of the fashion which accompanied the scene through the mid and late 90s.

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In addition to being one of the main figures in the hip-hop scene of the 90s and early 00s, DMX left his signature mark on fashion. Through an uncompromising character -while creating a more unapologetic, fierce yet vulnerable and simultaneously highly spiritual persona- and magnetic charisma, his fashion choices became the blueprint for what we now call, the old-school hip-hop style. 

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Golden chains, velvet baggy sweatsuits, fitted hats, the iconic Timberland coloured track boots along with some more risqué choices; such as futuristic black sunglasses, tank tops and working salopettes uniforms were just a few of the items which lead to DMX’s looks becoming iconic. 

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From the streets to the runways, would be a good way to paraphrase this phenomenon; as we perpetually experience high-end designers presenting collections that are highly influenced by the streetwear scene and hip-hop culture and its icons. While art imitates life it seems that the same occurs when it comes to fashion. 

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It is not, after all, an accident that many singers, actors and other artists are shaping trends, styles and inspire the image we choose to create through our clothes. There is a certain mimesis that has been taking place since the beginning of fashion. The best way to pay tribute the New York native’s iconic looks is by watching it in action in the various music videos he made in his time in the game.

Article written by Anna Kioumourtzi [@sheizanna]

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