1980s Hip-Hop Artist Fashion

1980s hip-hop music scene consisted of oversized gold necklaces, ghetto blasters or boomboxes on one shoulder with blazing music, bucket hats, shell tracksuits and sneakers. If there were social media platforms such as Instagram in the 1980s, we would have a plethora of style collages to draw inspiration from.

And long before other rappers such as Jay-Z and P Diddy started their fashion empires, the 1980s rappers were themselves the fashion empire influencing street styles.

They were adding personal touches to their style of haircuts, customizing their jackets, pants and even down to their trainers.

Everybody into hip-hop music wanted to look fresh (something out of the box, new and well put together). It’s because, in the world of hip-hop, fashion is a language used to express who you are.

Some of the godfathers of hip-hop in the 1980s were Chuck D, Flavor Fav, Darryl McDaniels, ICE-T, Ice Cube and LL COOL J.

Chuck D aka Public Enemy

In the 80s, Public Enemy came to the scene with controversial songs such as Don’t Believe The Hype and It Takes a Nation.

Public Enemy was inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2013 – a tremendous accolade. One of the most successful hip-hop groups of all time.

The lead singer, frontman and co-founder Chuck D is considered a top MC and lyricists of all time. When it comes to his choice of eyewear, he prefers the minimalist style.

You can purchase similar shades like the Polaroid PLD 6019/S. A stylish and standout option.

Flavor Flav

His style has remained the same with assorted colours of the same style of glasses. And who can forget the wall clock he wears as bling.

You can have a little bit of Flavor Fav style with Polaroid Sport Collection PLD 7009/N in red:


Darryl started out as a DJ back in 1978. It was from there that he immersed himself in hip-hop culture.

Later he went on the join a hip-hop/rap rock band called RUN-DMC. His band was one of the famous hip-hop acts of the 1980s along with LL COOL J and Public Enemy.

RUN DMC was the first group to earn platinum record with their album called King of Rock in 1985.

Darryl McDaniel loves his clear oversized lenses, as evidenced by all the pictures of him in the 80s. There’s similar unisex style for you to consider INVU A2410 – Active Collection.


These days, he’s a doting father to a baby girl and two older children. Back in the 80s, he released his first album called Rhymes Pays, as well as other albums such as Original Gangster and Home Invasion.

Now he’s a permanent fixture in the TV cop series known as Law & Order: Special Victims Unit and has a reality show called Ice Loves Coco.

At the game with my Shaolin brother… What's his name.

A post shared by icemft (@icet) on

ICE-T loves his gradient shades more than any other colour and you too can follow in his footsteps by going for the Chopard SCHB28.


If you are fond of black grey gradient sunglasses, you can go for Jil Sander JS711S.


The younger generation got to know of ICE CUBE, a.k.a. O’Shea Jackson Sr through the controversial film released in 2016 called ‘Straight Outta Compton.’

In the 80s, ICE CUBE emerged into the hip hop music scene, as a member of a group called CIA.

According to MTV, he’s ranked eight out ten as one of the greatest MC’s of all time. Source magazine has ranked him 14 on their lists of top 50 lyricists of all time.

#TBT Cube x @krayzie_bone

A post shared by Ice Cube (@icecube) on

He likes his shades slightly tinted and if such design rocks your style boat, you can pick up this pair called Sunset 194.


Sunday Soundtrack. Stand Tall off #RawFootage. Link in bio to listen.

A post shared by Ice Cube (@icecube) on

Alternatively, you can go for Oakley OO4063 PLAINTIFF SQUARED in dark shade almost identical to the one seen above.


LL COOL J is an acronym for Ladies Love Cool James. His style of music is pop rap.

Some of his early songs were I Need Love, Around the Way Girl and Hey Lover.

As well as the boom box, dangling and thick gold necklace, he has a strong attachment towards head gear especially by Kangol.

These days, if he’s not acting in NCIS – Los Angeles, he’ll be seen co-hosting a popular TV show called Lip Sync Battle.


A post shared by 🤴🏾JALEN "JAY-DØGGZ" HEMPHILL (@hiphopsoul_jalen) on

Closing party of Studio 54. This was fire. 🔥 #FBF

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Here at a music concert, he’s seen wearing a dark shade; you can pick up Karl Lagerfeld KL871S that’s almost similar in design.

Want more celebrity eyewear inspiration? Have a look at Jennifer Aniston’s eyewear inspo

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