New Book Reveals How Hip-Hop Became a Multi-Billion Fashion Industry

Who is someone who always gets it right?

I would say Sean Combs [Diddy] is a no brainer. He's always had a sophisticated eye and that can easily be seen in how he envisioned his artists dressing.

In your opinion, who is the best-dressed female rapper – past or present?

I'm going to put things in perspective… I know you want to call it "best dressed," but I don't know if I would call it that. I would call it symbolic more than anything else. I think of Queen Latifah and how she pushed the whole Afro-centric look, and being a queen. The categories of best and worst dressed are kind of funny. Some people dress a particular way because it goes with their image and they want to be outrageous and outlandish. I wouldn't personally wear that, but I understand they're trying to come up with a costume-like persona....

Are you talking about Nicki Minaj?

Yeah! You're reading my mind. And I think about her only because of her wigs and all that stuff. The clothes? That's costume – that's not everyday wear. Would she be wearing that walking down the street? Probably not. But for the stage, it gives people something to talk about. It does make her stand out – good or bad.

You're Nuyorican, so I have to bring up Jennifer Lopez. Thoughts on her style?

J.Lo isn't necessarily hip-hop per se, she is very much influenced by hip-hop from her early days of being a Fly Girl. She's a great example of someone who can easily wear a velour tracksuit one moment, and an elegant gown in another - and still have a certain urban flair and sophistication. Whether it's wearing those clothes or putting her hair in a slicked-back ponytail and the hoop earrings. So you can see how it's not just this cookie-cutter look. People tend to think "Oh hip-hop, it's just t-shirts and baggy clothes," but it's definitely more than that.

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