Clothing is also a huge part of the hip-hop culture and has lead to the overall commercialization of the industry, particularly with the progression into the internet era where record sales have declined. This has meant that artists are relying more on their merchandise sales and tours to make a profit.
During the peak of the music industry in the 1980s and 1990s, the fashion pioneered by popular recording artists had a significant influence on the youth culture. Everyone wanted to look and be like their favorite artists and this meant dressing and acting in a similar manner. Many critics saw this a problem, as many rappers spoke about their experiences involving crime and gang-related activities. Alongside this popularization of “Gangsta Rap” came a level of materialism.
Rappers presented themselves as gangsters in their music videos and in the messages put forward in their songs. The youth, aspiring to be like them would adopt the fashion of expensive clothes and accessories. This cultural fashion still exists today but is shifting away from materialism towards a more wholesome inspiration for educational attainment as more and more artists are preaching love, peace, respect and a quest for knowledge.