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10 Must-Hear New Albums In July 2022: Beyoncé, J-Hope & More
Here are the can't-miss releases and massive new albums dropping this month from Burna Boy, Lizzo, Cuco, $uicideboy$, ODESZA, Maggie Rogers, and many others.
What a dizzying year it's been for music — and summer just began.
Kendrick Lamar took inventory of his deepest vulnerabilities on Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers. BTS crystallized their entire first epoch with Proof — and then took a hiatus immediately after. Rosalía twisted disparate genres to her will on Motomami. Harry Styles invited us into Harry's House, his glittering abode. Drake got sparse on the dance floor with Honestly, Nevermind. And that's to say nothing of releases by Post Malone, Mitski, Angel Olsen, Charli XCX, and so many more.
As this already-stacked year reaches its midpoint — and festivals and tours fire up worldwide — we still have so much to look forward to in July 2022. True to the MO of this year so far, it'll probably be more than we can all handle.
That said, GRAMMY.com is here to home in on 10 albums that will have the world's ears in no time — and are likely to continue resonating as summer gives way to fall, winter, and the dawn of 2023.
Burna Boy — Love, Damini
Release Date: Friday, July 8
On his birthday, GRAMMY-winning, international Afrobeats star Burna Boy will be the one giving a gift: his sixth album, Love, Damini. The record is "a personal body of work," the artist tweeted. "It's about the ups and downs, the growth, the L's and W's. I'm excited to share this journey and roll out with you all." Burna Boy has shared two tracks from Love, Damini – which will be released through his own Spaceship Records, in conjunction with Atlantic and Warner Music Group – including the exciting, braggadocious "Kilometre" and the Chopstix-produced "Last Last," the latter of which samples Toni Braxton's GRAMMY-winning "He Wasn't Man Enough." Though thematically varied, Love, Damini is expected to be an ecstatic offering from Nigeria's fastest-rising star. —Jessica Lipsky
Doris Anahi — Aprendiendo por las Malas
Release Date: Friday, July 15
All those mariachi and bolero records that Doris Anahí grew up listening to as a kid left an imprint on her aesthetic DNA. A devastating neo-balada that sublimates romantic sadness into solemn ritual, "It Wasn't You" teases the singer's forthcoming debut EP, Aprendiendo por las Malas. With its self-assured, Afro-Caribbean groove, orchestral synth patches, and a hint of R&B, the tune delivers a perfect encapsulation of what being Latin American and driving through the streets of Los Angeles actually feels — and sounds — like. The song is accompanied by an elegant video that underscores Doris Anahí's concept of this EP: a love letter to her hometown. Doris is also the subject of a new Disney Original documentary, MIJA, directed by four-time Emmy nominee Isabel Castro; the film focuses on her and Jacks Haupt, both daughters of undocumented immigrants, and their respective musical careers. Doris has only released a handful of songs so far, but her immense talent shines through already. — Ernesto Lechner
J-Hope — Jack In The Box
Release Date: Friday, July 15
After BTS announced their hiatus last month, beloved member J-Hope followed the shocking news with his own major announcement: the release of his new solo album, Jack In The Box, out July 15. His first album single, "More," released Friday, marks the first release from any BTS member as they embark on "BTS' Chapter 2." Jack In The Box is said to represent J-Hope's own musical personality and vision, while also showing his aspiration to break the mold and grow further. Having learned music through dance, the performer has always been original and bright, and this new album will surely showcase how his sound has matured over the years.
As a group, BTS have already proven themselves as global pop icons, and now, J-Hope will show the world his own flavor as a solo artist. He's already making history as the first South Korean artist to headline a main stage at a major U.S. music festival via his highly anticipated debut at Lollapalooza 2022 later this month. With so many accomplishments already under his belt, J-Hope will surely release one of the can't-miss albums of 2022 via Jack In The Box. — Ashlee Mitchell
Lizzo — Special
Release Date: Friday, July 15
The world needs a collective pick-me-up these days, and Lizzo has proven time and time again to be the musician to bring big smiles and bright days —and then some. The purveyor of positivity is releasing her fourth studio album and second major-label LP, Special, on July 15. The full project is preceded by two singles: The Top 10 Billboard hit and TikTok mainstay "About Damn Time" as well as "Grrrls," which samples and interpolates "Girls" by the Beastie Boys. As with Lizzo's previous projects, there will be no shortage of uplifting tracks, and, of course, she'll be coming with a fresh set of certifired Lizzobangers. Ricky Reed, Max Martin and Mark Ronson are just a few of the confirmed producers providing their magic on the album. Additionally, the singer, rapper and flautist touts Special as a "love album," which took its form as a result of a myriad of experiences. "I had a lot happen interpersonally. A lot has happened globally, and I think I needed to process that," she told SiriusXM's "The Heat" in April. — J'na Jefferson
Cuco — Fantasy Gateway
Release Date: Friday, July 22
At only 23, Cuco has established himself as one of the most brilliant singer/songwriters in contemporary Latin music. The son of Mexican immigrants, he has forged a cinematic sonic universe that draws from hazy bedroom pop and psychedelia, but is also informed by the spectral tinge of the classic baladas that made generations of Latines sigh with unresolved longing. After recording a swanky, electro-pop cover of the standard "Piel Canela" in 2020 and collaborating with boy pablo on this year's epic "La Novela," Cuco is releasing his second album, Fantasy Gateway. Recorded in Mexico City, his father's hometown, the collection includes the lovely "Fin Del Mundo" with fellow dream popster Bratty, the languid "Time Machine," and a much-anticipated collaboration with Kacey Musgraves and Adriel Favela. Cuco's intriguing contrast between his DIY ethos and the lush sophistication of his songwriting hints at the emergence of an artist ready to create a transcendent body of work. — E.L.
ODESZA — The Last Goodbye
Release Date: Friday, July 22
For ODESZA, goodbye means new beginnings. Five years after releasing their GRAMMY-nominated album, A Moment Apart, the Seattle-based electronic duo is staging a comeback in 2022 with their fourth studio LP, The Last Goodbye. The album, ODESZA said in a statement, is inspired by their friends and family's impact on them: "We found comfort in the fact that those who we love stay with us, that they become intrinsically part of us, in a way." On Last Goodbye, ODESZA take a deeper exploration of 4/4 rhythms, threading a collection of driving beats coated in soul-piercing vocals and rousing instrumentation that evokes at once nostalgia, melancholy and euphoria.
The album is an aching desire to connect, to love, and to be loved. Singles like "Love Letter," featuring the Knocks, and the Bettye-LaVette-sampling title track hold an iron grip on emotions with lyrics like "You can't break my heart 'cause I was never in love." Elsewhere, "Better Now," with MARO, offers a more optimistic approach to life: "So what if I fall? / Better that I tried instead of nothing at all." ODESZA's The Last Goodbye is vast and visceral, intimate yet intense — exactly the kind of album you'll want soundtracking these hot summer nights. — Krystal Rodriguez
Beyoncé — Renaissance
Release Date: Friday, July 29
Beyoncé has dominated the last two years: She unveiled her visual masterpiece, Black Is King, in 2020, she celebrated a history-making GRAMMYs night in 2021, and she garnered her first Oscar nomination in February. Now, Queen Bey is officially returning to the solo spotlight after a six-year gap since her last album, Lemonade (2016). In mid-June, and after much speculation, Beyoncé announced she'd be releasing her seventh studio album, Renaissance, on Friday, July 29. The 16-song Renaissance is being helmed as "Act I" of a rumored double album.
Information about the project remains scarce, though a British Vogue cover interview teasing the sound and style of Renaissance leads many to believe that Bey's forthcoming release will feature nods to disco, house and dance music. Days after her initial announcement, Beyoncé released the project's motivating lead single, "Break My Soul," which samples New Orleans bounce icon Big Freedia and interpolates infectious, '90s-flavored synths. The album's rollout is a vastly different approach for Beyoncé, who, with the thin-air release of her self-titled album in 2013, has been credited for popularizing the surprise album drop. —J.J.
King Princess — Hold On Baby
Release Date: Friday, July 29
Always one to be radically transparent about the events and relationships in her life, King Princess is looking inward on her new album, Hold On Baby. Musically, the album combines some of the anthemic riffs found on her previous work, including her 2019 debut album, Cheap Queen, with more elaborate production from accomplished collaborators like Mark Ronson and the National's Aaron and Bryce Dessner. Tracks like the pulsing "For My Friends" and the deeply emotional "Little Bother," a collaboration with Fousheé, showcase a more robust sound from King Princess and find her turning the keen insights of her writing inwards toward her own faults, joys and mindsets. Her goal for the album, she explained in a statement, is to "give you all some strength in accepting ourselves; as chaotic as we can be." With such a worthy goal and an even greater sonic ambition, Hold On Baby will be a crowning moment for King Princess. — Gabriel Aikins
Maggie Rogers — Surrender
Release Date: Friday, July 29
After her 2019 debut album Heard It In A Past Life earned her critical acclaim and a Best New Artist nomination at the 2020 GRAMMYs, Maggie Rogers quickly built anticipation for what she would do next. After a couple of relatively quiet years writing on the East Coast, she reemerged in April with the announcement of her sophomore album, Surrender. Counting 12 tracks, it's a welcome return for one of the most dynamic songwriters working today.
The album's first single, "That's Where I Am," proves Rogers is even more thoughtful than ever: Over a soaring collection of synths and pulsing percussion, she sings of finding acceptance of life's many twists and turns, all while expanding upon the sound of Past Life. Recent track "Want Want" teases an even more experimental Rogers as the song brings some downright grimy guitar riffs and delivers a heavier mix than most listeners have heard from her. With so much energy in just two early tracks, Surrender is shaping up to be a must-listen summer album. — G.A.
$uicideboy$ — Sing Me A Lullaby My Sweet Temptation
Release Date: Friday, July 29
If anybody doubts the unbelievable adaptability and malleability of rap today, just look at who's in $uicideboy$' orbit. In years past, they've collaborated with everyone from Travis Barker to members of Korn. On their upcoming Grey Day Tour, they'll be supported by bleeding-edge acts ranging from hardcore heroes Knocked Loose to genre-dismantling crushers Code Orange to SoundCloud-adjacent rapper Ski Mask the Slump God.
What is the New Orleans duo stumping for on the Grey Day Tour? That'd be Sing Me a Lullaby My Sweet Temptation, their new album out July 29 on G*59 RECORDS.
Flanked by lead single "Escape From BABYLON" — a scorching analysis of the pit of vipers that dating can be, especially as wild men like this — Sing Me a Lullaby My Sweet Temptation is sure to be yet another ruthless excoriation of their inner selves. (Much like acclaimed predecessors, Long Term Effects of Suffering  and I Want to Die in New Orleans .)
Strap in for another sonic brawl from these uncommonly candid rap survivors, which will undoubtedly elevate them even further in the realm of unflinching music — genre and its attendant limitations be damned. — M.E.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood
6 Takeaways From 'Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé'
A celebration of Beyoncé’s 2022, multi-GRAMMY-award winning record, the 'Renaissance' documentary grossed $21 million in its first weekend in theaters and offers an in-depth look at one of this year’s hottest tours.
If there’s one thing that’s clear in Beyoncé’s new concert documentary — the referentially titled Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé — it’s that the singer works very, very hard.
Released in theaters on Dec. 1, the almost three-hour-long film follows the native Houstonian on the road this past summer, giving viewers an inside look at both the actual show and what’s going on inside Beyoncé’s head at any given time. (Spoiler alert: A lot!)
The latest in a string of concert films released in theaters in recent months, Renaissance was filmed at several dates along the 56-date sold out tour. The all-stadium Renaissance tour ran from May to October of this year and traversed much of Europe and North America.
A celebration of Beyoncé’s 2022, multi-GRAMMY-award winning record, the Renaissance movie grossed $21 million its first weekend in theaters. Here are six things we took away from watching Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé.
Renaissance Required A Ton Of Manpower & Steel
A few songs into the documentary, Beyoncé relaying her intentions for the film. She wants everyone to see the tour, of course, but she also really wants people to know about just how much went into even getting the tour off the ground. "The beauty is in the process," she said, showing off a massive binder full of different iterations of what the tour’s stage could have looked like.
The actual process of building the show from inception to launch, she said, took about four years. The Renaissance tour also required countless man hours, and not just by her team. The multi-continent tour required stagehands to build the massive screen every night, an army of hair braiders, costumers, makeup artists, dancers, caterers, and drivers.
Renaissance required multiple teams: One for the current show, and two other advance teams working ahead to build one of two additional stages at a stadium down the line. All told, there were 160 vehicles on tour, from semi trucks to buses. And while that might seem like it would cost a fortune, Beyoncé noted that the most expensive part of crafting the tour was the steel required to build a roof over their stage every single night.
That’s part of the reason, Beyoncé said in the film, that she put the crew in reflective silver jumpsuits every single night. She wanted fans to notice them, she says, "because it’s beautiful to see what they do."
Beyoncé Knows Ballroom
Anyone who’s heard the Renaissance album knows that it’s imbued with notes of queer ballroom culture, house music, and the sounds of the ‘70s and ‘80s dance underground. In the movie, Beyoncé relays how she learned about that music as a child thanks to her "Uncle Johnny," one of her mom’s longtime friends.
A Black gay man growing up in the south in the 1950s, Uncle Johnny faced more than his share of hardships, but found relative success through his work in the fashion industry. He crafted many of the early Destiny’s Child costumes, and brought house and ballroom culture into the Knowles' home by playing records.
On the album, Beyoncé pays homage to Uncle Johnny on "Heated," and also shows a photo of him with her mom at the end of the show. In the film, Bey wears her prom dress — which Johnny crafted — and, honestly, it still looks pretty on trend, even after all these years.
Beyond Uncle Johnny, though, it’s clear that Beyoncé has put in the work to know not just the history of ballroom (see: tour MC Kevin JZ Prodigy) but also its present. She pays tribute to Black trans and queer legends like TS Madison, MikeQ, Kevin Aviance and Big Freedia, and gives screen and face time to the Dolls, a group of four performers skilled in voguing and ballroom-style dance. (Side note: If you like Renaissance and you like the work of The Dolls and/or Mike Q, go check out "Legendary," a ballroom reality show that originally aired on HBO Max.)
The Renaissance Tour Had Fashions
Anyone following Beyoncé or members of the Bey Hive on Instagram this year knows that the singer was really turning things out fashion-wise on the Renaissance tour. But seeing all the costumes on the big screen can give you a true sense of the massive size and scope of the show's sartorial vision.
The documentary uses quick cuts during songs to hop from outfit to outfit, and it’s always more jaw-dropping than jarring. Beyoncé not only had multiple outfit changes every show, but she her looks changed throughout the tour. Every dancer (there had to be at least 16) and every member of the band also varied their wardrobe. Each outfit was impeccable, covered in rhinestones, and had to be built to move — and it had to look amazing. And they all did!
Beyoncé Grinds Hard
It should come as no surprise that Beyoncé is incredibly hard-working; only someone with an intense work ethic and extreme talent could have come as far as she has. That said, seeing how intricately involved she is in every little moment of the tour is staggering. For example, she said she’s learned a lot about lighting over the years so that she can work, every single night, to get the lights just how she wants them to be. (With the way her hair blows just so, she must also have a certificate in fan science.) The film shows Bey discussing truss lengths and smoke machines and, after one stage person tells Beyoncé that, no, sorry, they don’t make a support in that length, she comes back at him with, "Actually, i was just looking it up, and they do exist."
Putting aside the fact that being one-upped by Beyoncé would be both humbling and amazing, the fact that she even gets that deep into the nitty-gritty is mind-blowing.
Beyoncé said part of her drive is due to the fact that, because she’s a Black woman, people haven’t always taken her that seriously. People have had a tendency to ignore what she wants or needs, and because of that, she’s had to build up a level of fortitude that would put all of us to shame. Those people might push past or ignore her requests, but she’ll keep asking — and then she’ll start telling. "Eventually," she says, "they realize ‘this bitch will not give up.’"
All that grinding has taken a toll on the singer, though. She had knee surgery not too long ago, and she had to rehab extra hard to get ready for the tour. (She still grits through pain at points.) She also gets regular massages on the road, and she probably sleeps much less than she actually needs to.
11-Year-Old Blue Ivy Is Getting Ready To Rule
In one of the first glimpses we get of Beyoncé and Jay-Z's daughter in the movie, Blue Ivy is sitting behind her mom at tech rehearsals. It’s clear that Blue is taking it all in and knows she's studying at the feet of masters (her parents), preparing to take over the world of popular music.
A lot was made about Blue Ivy’s appearances on stage during the Renaissance tour — and for good reason. The decision to put Blue on stage wasn’t made lightly. Beyoncé said she always felt like a stadium stage wasn’t an appropriate place for an 11 year old, but eventually made an agreement with her daughter that, if she rehearsed hard with the dance team and put in the work, that she could do one show.
When that show went great, and then she was on the whole rest of the run. Fans in the audience held signs up singing her praises; people waited to see what she’d wear. And as Beyoncé said in the film, the tour lit a spark and set Blue's work ethic into high gear. While it’s still too early to tell what that’s really going to be, whatever it is will undoubtedly be a very big deal.
Renaissance Is For The Fans
While Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé is, at its core, a film about Beyoncé doing a tour and singing a bunch of songs, it’s also clearly a love letter to Beyoncé’s fans.
The Bey Hive feature very prominently in the film: There are hundreds of shots of people dancing, screaming, crying, or gawking in the audience. The documentary offers loving looks at the queer fans in the audience, the Black fans in the audience, and the people who really went all out on their outfits.
That adoration extended into the movie theater, too. At a Los Angeles screening, attendees dressed all in silver and clapped after every song. They even brought their kids, who they wanted to experience the Renaissance.
As Beyoncé says in the movie, in doing the Renaissance tour, she wanted to create a "cycle of pure love" or a "transfer of energy" between her in the audience, where she’d give them everything she had, and they’d give their all to her. That goal translated to the movie, which sounded great in the theater and had everyone in awe of Bey's artistry. Beyoncé, clearly, is an artist and a visionary and Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé is one reminder of her genius.
Photo: Adrián Monroy/Medios y Media/Getty Images
New Music Friday: Listen To Releases From Beyoncé, Lana Del Rey, ATEEZ & More
December begins with a blast of new music from some of music's biggest stars. Press play on five new releases Jung Kook & Usher, Tyla and others, out on Dec. 1.
While 2023 may be coming to an end, the first releases of December prove that it's far from time to wind down.
From Taylor Swift — who released "You’re Losing Me," a song originally recorded for her 2022 smash album — to Dua Lipa’s extended edit of her single "Houdini," and Lana Del Rey's cover of "Take Me Home, Country Roads," listeners are being treated to new tracks from familiar favorites today.
Start off your month by listening to these tracks and albums from seven artists that will jumpstart your month.
Beyoncé - "MY HOUSE"
Queen Bey surprised fans with an early Christmas present by dropping "MY HOUSE," her first single since 2022’s Renaissance. This track was featured during the credits of her new Renaissance concert film.
Written and produced by The-Dream, this song showcases Beyoncé’s rapping skills, as she effortlessly weaves verses over a powerful horn melody. There's a vibe check in the song's second half, where the music becomes a smooth, electronic dance groove reminiscent of Renaissance’s ballroom vibe.
Jung Kook & Usher - "Standing Next To You (Remix)"
BTS' pop singer Jung Kook is back with a remix to his track "Standing Next To You," this time joined by an R&B sensation. The remix features a new verse from Usher, who adds a delicate touch to the vibrant, high-paced song.
The original track was released last month as a single on Jung Kook’s debut album, GOLDEN. This could be fans' last time hearing Jung Kook's music for a while — the "golden maknae" of BTS announced he’s enlisting for mandatory military service this month.
Tyla - "Truth or Dare"
GRAMMY-nominated Afrobeats star Tyla is closing the year with a sneak peek of her upcoming self-titled album. The hypotonic single "Truth or Dare," following the success of her GRAMMY-nominated song "Water" (the song is nominated for Best African Music Performance at the 2024 GRAMMYs alongside "Amapiano" by ASAKE & Olamide, "City Boys" by Burna Boy, Davido's "UNAVAILABLE" feat. Musa Keys, and "Rush" by Ayra Starr).
In this new song, Tyla revisits an old flame — this time with newfound wisdom and assurance that she won’t fall for his charm anymore: "So let's play truth or dare, dare you to forget / That you used to treat me just like anyone."
Tyla announced her upcoming self-titled album on social media, captioning, "African music is going global and I’m so blessed to be one of the artists pushing the culture. I’ve been working on my sound for 2 years now and I’m so ready for the world to hear it."
Lana Del Rey - "Take Me Home, Country Roads"
This cover might not come as a shock for fans after she referenced a line from Denver’s 1972 "Rocky Mountain High" on her track "The Grants" from GRAMMY-nominated album Did You Know There’s A Tunnel Under Ocean Blvd. (At the 2024 GRAMMYs, Did You Know is nominated for Album Of The Year alongside Jon Batiste's World Music Radio, Olivia Rodrigo's Guts, Swift's Midnights, Janelle Monae's The Age Of Pleasure, SZA's SOS, Miley Cyrus' Endless Summer Vacation and the record by boygenius. Did You Know is also nominated for Best Alternative Music Album alongside The Car by Arctic Monkeys, PJ Harvey's I Inside The Old Year Dying, Gorillaz's Cracker Island and boygenius' album.)
The track features Del Rey’s signature soothing vocals, as a Western-style melody balances the instrumentation. She brings her own sultry style to this '70s country classic, while continuing to show her musical versatility.
ATEEZ - The World EP:FIN:WILL
Five years after their debut album, K-pop group ATEEZ have returned with The World EP:FIN:WILL. The 12-track album is led by "Crazy Form," an Afrobeats/dancehall-influenced track, and also features many solo and unit tracks from the group.
Members Hong Joong and Seonghwa took the reins on "Matz," a dynamic hip-hop track, while Yeosang, San and Wooyoung collaborated for the R&B-influenced "It’s You."
During a Seoul press conference, Lead Hong Joong spoke about the group’s evolution and how fans should look forward to future releases.
"This year marks our fifth debut anniversary and so far, our greatest achievement has been establishing a strong relationship with our fans around the world. We hope to continue presenting music that can make our fans proud of us," he said.
Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage for Parkwood
Listen: Beyoncé Releases "My House," Her First New Song Post-'Renaissance'
The first taste of new Beyoncé music after her 'Renaissance' era is here. "My House" stems from the end credits of her 'Renaissance' film, and was co-produced by The Dream.
Between four GRAMMYs and a massive stadium tour, 2023 was the year of Beyoncé's Renaissance. And just as the last month of the year began, Bey decided the dance party wasn't over.
On Dec. 1, the 32-time GRAMMY winner released "My House." Co-produced by The-Dream — who co-produced 10 of Renaissance's 16 tracks — "My House" is another club banger that works as both a coda to the Renaissance epoch, and a bridge to an altogether new one.
"Don't give a f— about my house/ Then get the f— up out my house," Beyoncé threatens, as the throbbing chorus swells with intensity. The song is featured in the end credits of Beyoncé's Renaissance: A Film By Beyoncé, which also dropped today.
"Be careful what you ask for, 'cause I just might comply," Bey said on Instagram when revealing the trailer — and by the merits of "My House" alone, she followed through. Check out the new song below, and keep checking GRAMMY.com for more on Beyoncé's constant creative evolution.
Credit: Paul Natkin/Getty Images
20 Iconic Hip-Hop Style Moments: From Run-D.M.C. To Runways
From Dapper Dan's iconic '80s creations to Kendrick Lamar's 2023 runway performance, hip-hop's influence and impact on style and fashion is undeniable. In honor of hip-hop's 50th anniversary, look back at the culture's enduring effect on fashion.
In the world of hip-hop, fashion is more than just clothing. It's a powerful means of self-expression, a cultural statement, and a reflection of the ever-evolving nature of the culture.
Since its origin in 1973, hip-hop has been synonymous with style — but the epochal music category known for breakbeats and lyrical flex also elevated, impacted, and revolutionized global fashion in a way no other genre ever has.
Real hip-hop heads know this. Before Cardi B was gracing the Met Gala in Mugler and award show red carpets in custom Schiaparelli, Dapper Dan was disassembling garment bags in his Harlem studio in the 1980s, tailoring legendary looks for rappers that would appear on famous album cover art. Crescendo moments like Kendrick Lamar’s performance at the Louis Vuitton Men’s Spring-Summer 2023 runway show in Paris in June 2022 didn’t happen without a storied trajectory toward the runway.
Big fashion moments in hip-hop have always captured the camera flash, but finding space to tell the bigger story of hip-hop’s connection and influence on fashion has not been without struggle. Journalist and author Sowmya Krishnamurphy said plenty of publishers passed on her anthology on the subject, Fashion Killa: How Hip-Hop Revolutionized High Fashion, and "the idea of hip hop fashion warranting 80,000 words."
"They didn't think it was big enough or culturally important," Krishnamurphy tells GRAMMY.com, "and of course, when I tell people that usually, the reaction is they're shocked."
Yet, at the 50 year anniversary, sands continue to shift swiftly. Last year exhibitions like the Fashion Institute of Technology’s Fresh, Fly, and Fabulous: Fifty Years of Hip-Hop Style popped up alongside notable publishing releases including journalist Vikki Tobak’s, Ice Cold. A Hip-Hop Jewelry Story. Tabak’s second published release covering hip-hop’s influence on style, following her 2018 title, Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop.
"I wanted to go deeper into the history," Krishnamurphy continues. "The psychology, the sociology, all of these important factors that played a role in the rise of hip-hop and the rise of hip-hop fashion"
What do the next 50 years look like? "I would love to see a hip-hop brand, whether it be from an artist, a designer, creative director, somebody from the hip-hop space, become that next great American heritage brand," said Krishnamurphy.
In order to look forward we have to look back. In celebration of hip-hop’s 50 year legacy, GRAMMY.com examines iconic moments that have defined and inspired generations. From Tupac walking the runways at Versace to Gucci's inception-esque knockoff of Dapper Dan, these moments in hip-hop fashion showcase how artists have used clothing, jewelry, accessories, and personal style to shape the culture and leave an indelible mark on the world.
The cover art to Eric B and Rakim’s Paid in Full
Dapper Dan And Logomania: Luxury + High Fashion Streetwear
Dapper Dan, the legendary designer known as "the king of knock-offs," played a pivotal role in transforming luxury fashion into a symbol of empowerment and resistance for hip-hop stars, hustlers, and athletes starting in the 1980s. His Harlem boutique, famously open 24 hours a day, became a hub where high fashion collided with the grit of the streets.
Dapper Dan's customized, tailored outfits, crafted from deconstructed and transformed luxury items, often came with significantly higher price tags compared to ready-to-wear luxury fashion. A friend and favorite of artists like LL Cool J and Notorious B.I.G., Dapper Dan created iconic one-of-a-kind looks seen on artists like Eric B and Rakim’s on the cover of their Paid in Full album.
This fusion, marked by custom pieces emblazoned with designer logos, continues to influence hip-hop high fashion streetwear. His story — which began with endless raids by luxury houses like Fendi, who claimed copyright infringement — would come full circle with brands like Gucci later paying homage to his legacy.
Athleisure Takes Over
Hip-hop's intersection with sportswear gave rise to the "athleisure" trend in the 1980s and '90s, making tracksuits, sweatshirts, and sneakers everyday attire. This transformation was propelled by iconic figures such as Run-D.M.C. and their association with Adidas, as seen in photoshoots and music videos for tracks like "My Adidas."
LL Cool J. Photo: Paul Natkin/Getty Images
LL Cool J’s Kangol Hat
The Kangol hat holds a prominent place in hip-hop fashion, often associated with the genre's early days in the '80s and '90s. This popular headwear became a symbol of casual coolness, popularized by hip-hop pioneers like LL Cool J and Run-D.M.C. The simple, round shape and the Kangaroo logo on the front became instantly recognizable, making the Kangol an essential accessory that was synonymous with a laid-back, streetwise style.
Dr. Dre, comedian T.K. Kirkland, Eazy-E, and Too Short in 1989. Photo: Raymond Boyd/Getty Images
N.W.A & Sports Team Representation
Hip-hop, and notably N.W.A., played a significant role in popularizing sports team representation in fashion. The Los Angeles Raiders' gear became synonymous with West Coast hip-hop thanks to its association with the group's members Dr. Dre, Eazy-E, and Ice Cube, as well as MC Ren.
Slick Rick in 1991. Photo: Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives
Slick Rick’s Rings & Gold Chains
Slick Rick "The Ruler" has made a lasting impact on hip-hop jewelry and fashion with his kingly display of jewelry and wealth. His trendsetting signature look — a fistful of gold rings and a neck heavily layered with an array of opulent chains — exuded a sense of grandeur and self-confidence. Slick Rick's bold and flamboyant approach to jewelry and fashion remains a defining element of hip-hop's sartorial history, well documented in Tobak's Ice Cold.
Tupac Walks The Versace Runway Show
Tupac Shakur's runway appearance at the 1996 Versace runway show was a remarkable and unexpected moment in fashion history. The show was part of Milan Fashion Week, and Versace was known for pushing boundaries and embracing popular culture in their designs. In Fashion Killa, Krishnamurpy documents Shakur's introduction to Gianni Versace and his participation in the 1996 Milan runway show, where he walked arm-in-arm with Kadida Jones.
TLC. Photo: Tim Roney/Getty Images
Women Embrace Oversized Styles
Oversized styles during the 1990s were not limited to menswear; many women in hip-hop during this time adopted a "tomboy" aesthetic. This trend was exemplified by artists like Aaliyah’s predilection for crop tops paired with oversized pants and outerwear (and iconic outfits like her well-remembered Tommy Hilfiger look.)
Many other female artists donned oversized, menswear-inspired looks, including TLC and their known love for matching outfits featuring baggy overalls, denim, and peeking boxer shorts and Missy Elliott's famous "trash bag" suit worn in her 1997 music video for "The Rain." Speaking to Elle Magazine two decades after the original video release Elliot told the magazine that it was a powerful symbol that helped mask her shyness, "I loved the idea of feeling like a hip hop Michelin woman."
Diddy Launches Sean John
Sean "Diddy" Combs’ launch of Sean John in 1998 was about more than just clothing. Following the success of other successful sportswear brands by music industry legends like Russell Simmons’ Phat Farm, Sean John further represented a lifestyle and a cultural movement. Inspired by his own fashion sensibilities, Diddy wanted to create elevated clothing that reflected the style and swagger of hip-hop. From tailored suits to sportswear, the brand was known for its bold designs and signature logo, and shared space with other successful brands like Jay-Z’s Rocawear and model Kimora Lee Simmons' brand Baby Phat.
Lil' Kim. Photo: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
Lil’ Kim Steals The Show
Lil' Kim’s daring and iconic styles found a kindred home at Versace with
In 1999, Lil' Kim made waves at the MTV Video Music Awards with her unforgettable appearance in a lavender jumpsuit designed by Donatella Versace. This iconic moment solidified her close relationship with the fashion designer, and their collaboration played a pivotal role in reshaping the landscape of hip-hop fashion, pushing boundaries and embracing bold, daring styles predating other newsworthy moments like J.Lo’s 2000 appearance in "The Dress" at the GRAMMY Awards.
Lil Wayne Popularizes "Bling Bling"
Juvenile & Lil Wayne's "Bling Bling" marked a culturally significant moment. Coined in the late 1990s by Cash Money Records, the term "bling bling" became synonymous with the excessive and flashy display of luxury jewelry. Lil Wayne and the wider Cash Money roster celebrated this opulent aesthetic, solidifying the link between hip-hop music and lavish jewelry. As a result, "bling" became a cornerstone of hip-hop's visual identity.
Jay-Z x Nike Air Force 1
In 2004, Jay-Z's partnership with Nike produced the iconic "Roc-A-Fella" Air Force 1 sneakers, a significant collaboration that helped bridge the worlds of hip-hop and sneaker culture. These limited-edition kicks in white and blue colorways featured the Roc-A-Fella Records logo on the heel and were highly coveted by fans. The collaboration exemplified how hip-hop artists could have a profound impact on sneaker culture and streetwear by putting a unique spin on classic designs. Hova's design lives on in limitless references to fresh white Nike kicks.
Daft Punk and Pharrell Williams. Photo: Mark Davis/WireImage
Pharrell Williams' Hat At The 2014 GRAMMYs
Pharrell Williams made a memorable red carpet appearance at the 2014 GRAMMY Awards in a distinctive and oversized brown hat. Designed by Vivienne Westwood, the hat quickly became the talk of the event and social media. A perfect blend of sartorial daring, Pharrell's hat complemented his red Adidas track jacket while accentuating his unique sense of style. An instant fashion moment, the look sparked innumerable memes and, likely, a renewed interest in headwear.
Kanye’s Rise & Fall At Adidas (2013-2022)
Much more than a "moment," the rise and eventual fall of Kanye’s relationship with Adidas, was as documented in a recent investigation by the New York Times. The story begins in 2013 when West and the German sportswear brand agreed to enter a partnership. The collaboration would sell billions of dollars worth of shoes, known as "Yeezys," until West’s anti-semitic, misogynistic, fat-phobic, and other problematic public comments forced the Adidas brand to break from the partnership amid public outrage.
Supreme Drops x Hip-Hop Greats
Supreme, with its limited drops, bold designs, and collaborations with artists like Nas and Wu-Tang Clan, stands as a modern embodiment of hip-hop's influence on streetwear. The brand's ability to create hype, long lines outside its stores, and exclusive artist partnerships underscores the enduring synergy between hip-hop and street fashion.
A model walks the runway at the Gucci Cruise 2018 show. Photo: Pietro D'Aprano/Getty Images
Gucci Pays "homage" to Dapper Dan
When Gucci released a collection in 2017 that seemingly copied Dapper Dan's distinctive style, (particularly one look that seemed to be a direct re-make of a jacket he had created for Olympian Dionne Dixon in the '80s), it triggered outrage and accusations of cultural theft. This incident sparked a conversation about the fashion industry's tendency to co-opt urban and streetwear styles without proper recognition, while also displaying flagrant symbols of racism through designs.
Eventually, spurred by public outrage, the controversy led to a collaboration between Gucci and Dapper Dan, a significant moment in luxury fashion's acknowledgement and celebration of the contributions of Black culture, including streetwear and hip-hop to high fashion. "Had Twitter not spotted the, "Diane Dixon" [jacket] walking down the Gucci runway and then amplified that conversation on social media... I don't think we would have had this incredible comeback," Sowmya Krishnamurphy says.
A$AP Rocky x DIOR
Self-proclaimed "Fashion Killa" A$AP Rocky is a true fashion aficionado. In 2016, the sartorially obsessed musician and rapper became one of the faces of Dior Homme’s fall/winter campaign shot by photographer Willy Vanderperre — an early example of Rocky's many high fashion collaborations with the luxury European brand.
A$AP Rocky's tailored style and impeccable taste for high fashion labels was eloquently enumerated in the track "Fashion Killa" from his 2013 debut album Long. Live. ASAP, which namedrops some 36 luxury fashion brands. The music video for "Fashion Killa" was co-directed by Virgil Abloh featuring a Supreme jersey-clad Fenty founder, Rihanna long before the two became one of music’s most powerful couples. The track became an anthem for hip-hop’s appreciation for high fashion (and serves as the title for Krishnamurphy’s recently published anthology).
Cardi B. Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage
Cardi B Wears Vintage Mugler At The 2019 GRAMMYs
Cardi B has solidified her "it girl" fashion status in 2018 and 2019 with bold and captivating style choices and designer collaborations that consistently turn heads. Her 2019 GRAMMYs red carpet appearance in exaggerated vintage Mugler gown, and many custom couture Met Gala looks by designers including Jeremy Scott and Thom Browne that showcased her penchant for drama and extravagance.
But Cardi B's fashion influence extends beyond her penchant for custom high-end designer pieces (like her 2021 gold-masked Schiaparelli look, one of nine looks in an evening.) Her unique ability to blend couture glamour with urban chic (she's known for championing emerging designers and streetwear brands) fosters a sense of inclusivity and diversity, and makes her a true trendsetter.
Beyoncé & Jay-Z in Tiffany & Co.’s "About Love" campaign
The power duo graced Tiffany & Co.'s "About Love'' campaign in 2021, showcasing the iconic "Tiffany Yellow Diamond," a 128.54-carat yellow worn by Beyoncé alongside a tuxedo-clad Jay-Z. The campaign sparked controversy in several ways, with some viewers unable to reconcile the use of such a prominent and historically significant diamond, sourced at the hands of slavery, in a campaign that could be seen as commercializing and diluting the diamond's cultural and historical importance. Despite mixed reaction to the campaign, their stunning appearance celebrated love, adorned with Tiffany jewels and reinforced their status as a power couple in both music and fashion.
Kendrick Lamar Performs At Louis Vuitton
When Kendrick Lamar performed live at the Louis Vuitton Men’s spring-summer 2023 runway show in Paris in June 2022 following the passing of Louis Vuitton’s beloved creative director Virgil Abloh, he underscored the inextricable connection between music, fashion and Black American culture.
Lamar sat front row next to Naomi Campbell, adorned with a jeweled crown of thorns made from diamonds and white gold worth over $2 million, while he performed tracks including "Savior," "N95," and "Rich Spirit'' from his last album, Mr. Morale and the Big Steppers before ending with a repeated mantra, "Long live Virgil." A giant children’s toy racetrack erected in the Cour Carrée of the Louvre became a yellow brick road where models marched, clad in designer looks with bold, streetwear-inspired design details, some strapped with oversized wearable stereo systems.
Pharrell Succeeds Virgil Abloh At Louis Vuitton
Pharrell Williams' appointment as the creative director at Louis Vuitton for their men's wear division in 2023 emphasized hip-hop's enduring influence on global fashion. Pharrell succeeded Virgil Abloh, who was the first Black American to hold the position.
Pharrell's path to this prestigious role, marked by his 2004 and 2008 collaborations with Louis Vuitton, as well as the founding of his streetwear label Billionaire Boy’s Club in 2006 alongside Nigo, the founder of BAPE and Kenzo's current artistic director, highlights the growing diversity and acknowledgment of Black talent within high fashion.