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50 years of
hip-hop: a style story

August 11 2023 marks 50 years of hip-hop — a genre which has changed the landscape of music, style and global culture forever. Here, hip-hop’s new guard, rappers midwxst and Bktherula, discuss the legends, the style and the future — photographed by Janette Beckman.

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x Pharrell Williams CC Hu NMD "Chanel" sneakers

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Where music meets style

midwxst: ‘Hip-hop goes through cultural moments — for example, the shell toes and tracksuits [that] were a big staple for Run-D.M.C. Then in the 2000s, there was Soulja Boy, and everyone was wearing big tees. Each era has its own impact.’
Bktherula: ‘Like Pharrell. That’s the first person who popped into my head. The swag was impeccable. He made his own brand off that. If the legends do it, you’re gonna want to do it.’

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Legends of the genre

midwxst: ‘Back in the day, the quality was all the way up. That’s how you get the Biggies, the Tupacs. All those people were moments. They were storytellers. You don’t see a lot of artists that have that effect nowadays. Travis Scott has a big effect on the youth.’
Bktherula: ‘My all-time favorite music video is ‘Drop’ by the Pharcyde. They had to learn the whole track backwards to shoot it.’

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The future generation

midwxst: ‘The substance of hip-hop has stayed the same after all this time, but people have become more expressive. You didn’t hear people talking about their sexuality, their gender. Now there are scenes built out of those communities and that has happened because the roots of hip-hop are about storytelling. It’s a form of poetry.’
Bktherula: ‘People are getting more bold. The generation after us will be the boldest. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say.’

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