For 50 years, hip-hop has been influencing and shaping trends in mainstream culture. Fashion, language, music and lifestyle have all been impacted by rappers and what they bring to the game.
Hip-hop has had a major impact on the fashion world with many of its trends becoming mainstream. Oversized baggy jeans, Timberland boots, doorknocker earrings, Chuck Taylor sneakers, Dickies pants and sports jerseys are just a few items that hip-hop has made popular in mainstream society.
Slang has also traveled from rap to the mainstream. Rappers’ use of slang and phrases eventually found their way into everyday conversations. From phrases like “bling-bling” to “lit,” the lexicon of hip-hop continues to make its mark everywhere.
But the earliest instance of a trend in hip-hop going mainstream happened in the mid-1990s when rappers became pitchmen for St. Ides, an inexpensive brand of malt liquor. Artists like the Wu-Tang Clan, Ice Cube, Rakim,, the late Notorious B.I.G. and others helped make St. Ides a top-selling malt liquor brand with their low-budget commercials that looked like rap videos, which made the brand seem hip and cool.
Corporate America began to pay attention and soda brands such as Sprite and Pepsi started including rappers in their advertising campaigns to promote their carbonated drinks. In 2023, for the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, Sprite dropped an “Icon’s Delight” ad featuring Nas, Lotto, Rakim and GloRilla.
Overall, hip-hop has significantly influenced mainstream culture in various aspects. So with that, XXL highlights some of the most notable hip-hop trends that have gone mainstream. Check it out below.