Keywords/Key phrases: Hip Hop Hairstyles, Black Hairstyles, Hip Hop Hair
Since the 1970s, Hip Hop Music has set the tone for elements of Black culture, fashion, and, yes, memorable Black hairstyles. Throughout history, female Hip Hop artists have demonstrated their ability to emote their male counterparts’ talent by spitting comparable rhymes and freestyling response lyrics to pesky diss tracks designed to minimize their place in the Hip Hop world while still managing to give us memorable looks.
Hip Hop’s women have managed to influence Black hair fashion, taking us through what can only be described as a catalog of fabulous Hip Hop hairstyles.
In this article, we will take a journey across a few decades to immerse ourselves in the hairstyles of Hip Hop.
1980’s Hip Hop Hairstyles
If you have no insight into what Hip Hop Music was all about during the 1980s, you should think of it as the early stages of Hip Hop music. Laced with beatboxing, rhymes, diss tracks, and a dash of comedic timing, Hip Hop music was about establishing who ruled the Kingdom of rap lyrics. Leather, athletic wear, Kangos, shades, and an occasional jheri curl dominated the rap music’s male fashion.
For women, finding their signature hairstyle was an essential part of their brand in the 80s.
Famous female Hip Hop Hairstyles and the 1980s most likely conjures vivid images of Salt N Pepa’s asymmetrical hairdos. Though the product of a perm mishap, Salt N Pepa blazed the trail with their asymmetrical bob showing us all how to make lemonade out of bad perm lemons. Pepa’s (Sandra Denton) honey blonde tresses added a bit of flair to a trendy do’ while Salt’s (Cheryl James) and Spinderella’s (Deidra Roper) penchant for dark hair showed us how to keep it simple but still turn heads.
Whoever thought that big hair was reserved for metal bands or pop stars in the 1980s missed the mark. Female Hip Hop stars were not afraid to tease their hair and bring exceptional fullness to the forefront of their appearance. Big hair was all the rage during the 1980s, and Supersonic’s J.J. Fad member Juana Burns showed us that you could still spit lyrics and enjoy the big hair.
There were many ways to get big hair back then, including wigs, jheri curls, and yes, the use of a fine-tooth comb in which you stroked chunks of your hair in the opposite direction of growth to help it stand on its ends. Of course, this action ultimately made for a detangling nightmare for a generation of women with kinks and coils or chemically treated hair who wore hairstyles that mirrored their European counterparts.
The 80s Modified Shag
MC Lyte’s signature look of the ’80s was this modified shag. With layers of hair that adorn the crown and length on the lower half, women everywhere in the 80s wore this do. The Cha-Cha artist gave us thickness, length, and healthy hair envy for days back in the 80s.
It would eventually be referred to as a mullet for men, but for women, this shag hairstyle was winning across all genres of music, and Hip Hop music was no exception.
1990s Hip Hop Hairstyles
The 90s ushered in a new style of Hip Hop music and hairstyles. With many queens came the arrival of Black hair evolution.
Who can forget the fantastical eruption of finger wave styles that dominated the Hip Hop scene for a few seasons during the ’90s? Artists like Missy Misdemeanor Elliott, Cheryl “Salt” James, and Mary J. Blige took a hairstyle of the 1920s and revived it as a must-have look of the 1990s.
Natural Hair Twists, Locs, and Braids
Natural hair has lived with women of color for centuries, and so, it is no wonder that even in the 90’s natural hairstyles like braids, twists, and locs were just as relevant in making a statement then as they do today. Artists like Lauryn Hill wore natural styles that only gave further testimony to their all so real perspectives on life.
Another Hip Hop hair fashion statement of the 90s was color. Hip Hop artists like Eve and Lil’ Kim not only caught our attention with their music but their natural penchant for vibrant hair colors. They laid the groundwork for future artists who would later bring forth their nostalgic appearance.
The Millennium thru Today
The Millennium gave us echos of the 90s, but with those vibrations of familiarity in stylings like natural hair, color, and an occasional finger wave came the addition of toppers, lace fronts, and hair extensions.
In today’s Hip Hop landscape, lace fronts and hair extensions reign supreme. On occasion, Hip Hop artists may take a moment to share what their natural tresses really look like beneath all of that costly fabulosity on Instagram Live, but make no mistake that their hair extensions and lace fronts are a part of the full package.
Where do you think Hip Hop hair is heading? Where will the next hair evolution take us? Will it encourage us to shave it all off, or will we continue to see lace fronts and hair extensions dominate the industry?
Author: Misty M