Kid_High_Top_Fade

Hip-Hop’s Cultural Comebacks: When Everything Old is New Again


They say there’s nothing new under the sun. That definitely seems to be true when it comes to cultural trends. Remember Dwayne Wayne’s glasses? Well, if not, just take a ride past your nearest high school. Many of the trends you remember from skinny jeans to jean skirts, from oversized sweatshirts to combat boots, are back in style and in a major way.

There are some cultural trends that are making a welcome comeback, like around-the-way girls with extensions in their hair, and bamboo earrings (at least two pair). Janet Jackson’s “dookie” braids from Poetic Justice are back. Colored Levi’s and Converse are reemerging on the scene as well. Still, there are also some trends that we hope never return – like Cross Colours, Starter Jackets, and pump sneakers.

All this week, AllHipHop.com ponders the “Age Effect” on Hip-Hop, both then and now. As we reflect on the youth of our culture, we take a look at some of the cultural trends that were once old, but are now brand new again.

High Top Fades
In high school, all the boys I loved rocked high top fades. The high top was one of the most original and unique haircuts black culture had seen since the Afro. Popularized in the late 1980s, Big Daddy Kane rocked it best, Kwame rocked it most creatively, and Kid, well… Kid rocked it the highest and flyest. Once the high top fade phenomenon fizzed in the mid ’90s, I was sure that it would never be seen nor heard from again.

But in recent years, high school boys all across the country have been rocking the high top again. From plain black to accented with streaks of blond or red, the high top is making a triumphant return in classrooms and prom pictures by young men who may have had a father with the same hairstyle. Of all the cultural comebacks, this one probably brings back some of the best memories.

Skinny Jeans
In the 1950s, jeans had no choice but to be skinny. When Elvis shimmied in his Levi’s, they were cut to fit. The cut remained the same for almost 20 years, when the disco era rocked them funky and flared. The ’80s saw the skinny cut come back in for a brief moment, until the ’90s when what some would call the influence of “jail culture” saw young people rocking their jeans baggier with no belts. Now, skinny jeans are back again in a big way. As hipsters create their own cool culture, and urban style icons include eclectic personalities like Lil Wayne, Pharrell and Kanye West, skinny jeans have made their way from the punk rock underground back to the streets.

Asymmetric Haircuts
The young ladies are also rocking throwback haircuts. There was no hairstyle more definitive of the ’80s for urban teen girls than “The Asymmetric.” Named so because it was short on one side and long on the other, this hairstyle was taken mainstream by Salt N’ Pepa who were as known for their hairstyle as they were for their rhymes.

The asymmetric haircut has been rocked recently by Rihanna, Megan Good, and young women all around the country. In fact, Alicia Keys recently cut her long locks into an asymmetric and debuted it on Instagram.

These are just a few of the cultural trends that we are happy to see returning again. What were some of your favorite trends from your youth? And if you’re on the younger end of the Hip-Hop spectrum, which ones do you hope make a comeback, and which ones will you never, ever rock?

  • I’m waitin on them old kicks to come back like Eleese and Adiadoras and Sauconys. Never wanna see overalls, rayon shirts, or shags or rat tails again.

    • CaliTransplant

      LOL! Dog what! I rocked ALL that…Never again-shags, rat tails, overalls…I still see people wearing the Chess King rayons – where do they even find that at!?!

      Ps. Bring the Starter jackets back! Those are still fly to me! The Raiders jackets, NWA style..

      Diadoras, Avias, Lottos, Ellesse’s the shit…

  • Sosa_Limone

    to be honest… I wouldnt mind seeing reebok pumps or starter jackets making a comeback too. snapbacks came back, so why not starter jackets?? lol but anyway… true story… the flat-top was such a dope haircut… I am puerto rican and have curly hair..but my hair texture is more like white people hair than black hair… i always wanted black hair so i could rock the flat top

  • kangols gotta come back too

  • kangols gotta come back

  • seriously I’m growing a high top fade now. I just wanted to switch it up

  • Pierre Elliott

    Uh Sosa you have Black blood in you, you just need to get a perm and then mastrers hair wont be as straight anymore and then you can rock the hi top.

    • Sosa_Limone

      lmao good looks fam

  • Pierre Elliott

    Naw elleses were ugly… YOU WANTED: LOTTO, DIADORA *some GUCCI sneakers.
    WHAT ELSE REALLY WAS THERE? Some Ewings…Most clothing back in the days SUCKED!!! Cause the Hip Hop community wasnt seen as something tangible.

    We were the fad that NEVER left. Im 40, and I look 27. I look at these clothes and the shits is wack….I have to wear MArc Jacobs now to wear some hot shit.

    THATS THE DIFFERENCE…. WE DIDNT HAVE RUSSEL SELLING US GARBAGE CLOTHING OR FUBU….. It was what you got from your moms when you were able to go shopping…. AND NO ONE, I MEAN NO ONE WAS BALLING….THIS WAS BEFORE
    WHITE AMERICA DESTROYED WHAT WE HAD…. WE CANT GO BACK, BECAUSE THE FEELING ISNT THERE ANYMORE…..Our part of our dream hadnt been raped yet..

    SO AS WE GET RETRO AND TEARY EYED, YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT YOU RETRO ABOUT? CAUSE HONESTLY OTHER THAN THE MUSIC AND THE COMIC BOOKS. I HATED THE 80S…

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  • ccwaterbound32

    if that’s the case bring back british knights, NWA locs well im already seeing the versace Locs making a huge comeback, those dope ass gold dookie rope chains, those dope ass designer label jackets designed by dapper dan, (i aint even from new york i know bout that dude) khakis, girbaud jeans, ballys (all designs and colors if you had a pair of ballys you was the shiznite!) soulja reebok tennis, (f*ck converse) timbs, cole hans, starched down and ironed guess jeans, s*it it’s too much to even remember all i know is back in the day fashion was big but looking like dressing like and conducting yourself as a man was even bigger..

    if i missed anything fill in the blanks,

    peace n luv….