Are Converse Sneakers More Hip-Hop or Rock & Roll?

Sep 03, 2021 by admin - 0 Comments

Definitely Hip-hop.

From my understanding, Chuck Taylors came into prominence on the music scene around the 1970’s, via some legendary bands like The Ramones and The Sex Pistols. I can even remember seeing pics of the late great Kurt Cobain wearing Chuck Taylors.

But by the late 1980’s the shoe was losing popularity in music, due to some of its major competitors like Nike and Adidas, who were coming out with shoes that had a wider selection of colors and features (i.e. air bubbles and mesh cushioned materials).

It was around this time that Chuck Taylors began to gain steam in California, specifically with gang bangers, who would often go and purchase the shoes after being released from outlet stores.

They became popular because of their low price point at the time, and the classic canvas design matched perfectly with khaki pants and T-shirts, which are a staple of Cali gang culture.

While many east coast rappers like Run DMC and LL Cool J wore shell-toe Adidas and Nike Air Force Ones, the meteoric rise of gangster rap in Cali painted a different picture. Cali rap was heavily influenced by gang culture and birthed stylistic trends of Bloods rocking red ‘chucks’ with white laces and Crips donning the blue ones.

N.W.A., arguably the most famous music group in the world around the time, would often wear Chuck Taylors at their shows and in their videos.

You can see M.C. Ren sporting what looks like the classic white high top Chuck Taylors in this photo.

By the ’90s, gangster rap had taken over the California music scene. Hip-hop heavy-weights from the West like Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube’sWestside Connection‘ glorified the sneaker in their music.

The Compton-bred blood rapper ‘Game‘ even refers to himself as the ‘real Chuck Taylor‘. So it’s no surprise that he wore a pair on the cover of his first album, ‘The Documentary’.

This tradition continues still, with lyrical legends like Kendrick Lamar, who also hails from Compton, and allegedly has ‘blood ties‘.

I can also remember Chuck Taylors gaining popularity with some southern emcees around the 2000’s. The rapper/skater Lil Wayne comes to mind, who is also a known blood would often be seen wearing the red ones.

And how can we forget Pittsburgh’s finest, Wiz Kalifah, and his ‘Taylor Gang’ collective?

So there’s no doubt that Chuck Taylors have been a long-time staple in the Hip-Hop community. This soul-tie runs deep, and shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.


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