Back on Big Sean’s 2013 track “Control,” Kendrick Lamar rapped, “I ain’t rockin’ no designer shit, white tees and Nike Cortez, this is red Corvettes unknown.” It looked like the rapper was done with the big Dries Van Noten and Hermès cuts, Chanel ties and Saint Laurent sneakers he’d worn and was instead grooming his fans for a more “humble” look. It came as a shock, because the stars of hip hop—your Diddys, your Lil Babys, your Lil Waynes—are usually associated with a quirky, outlandish style of designer pieces and high-shine jewelry.
And sure, he may have dipped his toe in a t-shirt when he wore one on his 2017 album cover. SLIM. But other than that, Lamar hasn’t really lived up to his word since he spat those lyrics nine years ago. The ‘Loyalty’ rapper and Rihanna collaborator wore a custom Louis Vuitton suit and Tiffany & Co jewelry as recently as February when he graced the stage at Super Bowl 2022, while at Coachella in April he was spotted in a pair of custom metallic Rocketbusters. cowboy boots.
Now, however, it looks like the Compton-based emcee could deliver the change he promised all those years ago. Last week Kendrick Lamar released his latest album Mr Morale & Big Steppershis first since its release SLIM. The album is less about the finer things in life and more about Lamar’s most introspective offering to date.
Notably, the cover of her fifth studio album was photographed by a New York-based photographer (and QG collaborator) Renell Medrano, and features the rapper holding his three-year-old daughter with his fiancée, Whitney Alford, in the background with a newborn baby in her arms. In the image, Lamar can be seen in a simple white T-shirt, just like the rest of the family. Additionally, in the recently released music video for “The Heart Part 5,” which features on Lamar’s new album, the rapper can be seen in a different (or the same) white t-shirt.
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It wouldn’t be as surprising if Lamar was about to ditch the designer suit for an altogether more low-key vibe. Lamar is a man who puts his craft first – he cites Tupac as his biggest inspiration and he’s just spent the better part of five years creating what is easily one of his best albums.
Plus, the simple white t-shirt has long been affiliated with the greatest rap artists in history. Long before the music genre pivoted to elaborate designer drops, the plain white t-shirt was often the go-to outfit for rap superstars everywhere – those who were serious about their craft and cared little for price tags. attached. Jay-Z spent much of his formative years in an oversized white cotton number, Eminem was rarely seen out of an ivory t-shirt in the early 2000s (usually worn under overalls), and Tupac wore the his tucked into faded denim jeans.
Kung Fu Kenny, the white tee era. We are there for that.
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