NYC is the birthplace of hip hop, and also the environment that spawned the most innovative, unique and game changing groups of the genre. There was Public Enemy, bringing a political and militant aesthetic to the music and Wu Tang Clan, with it’s own Eastern inspired mythologies. Today, A$AP brings a high fashion edge and syncretic musical influence to the rap game, but before A$AP there existed a group so contradictory, so absurdist, yet so innovative and skilled that it’s difficult to say they influenced anyone but themselves and their legion of fans. This group was the Diplomats, Dipset for short, and there never was, nor ever will exist again, anyone like them.
At a time when hip hop was strictly gangsta rap, Dipset broke boundaries by rapping about violence, selling drugs and the streets, all while dressed in bright pink and sampling everything from hair metal to the Sesame Street theme song. The juxtaposition of this hard, street savvy lyricism with cartoonish, effeminate, child-like naivete perplexed and excited a whole generation. The sheer contradiction of it became the attraction- the “how does this actually exist” appeal. From baggy matching bandana print outfits to all matching pink fur to today’s luxury capes, Dipset stands alone in the rap game- no one else before them, no contemporaries, no followers. And the millions of devoted fans wouldn’t have it any other way. Salute.
Great moments in Dipset fashion…
Just to start, here’s a more “regular” Cam’ron, the “early” Cam’ron. You can still see strong attention to style detail here though in “Paid in Full,” where he rocked this one of a kind Louis Vuitton jacket. We’re convinced he had some say in the wardrobe for the movie. Cam should have won the Oscar for costume design.
This is a photo from the Grammy awards. Yes this is what Dipset wore to the Grammy’s. Yes that is a pink flip phone. Did he really have a pink Range Rover though? Again, yes.
The pink popped off what would become a legacy in hip hop. Gangsta rappers would never look at clothes the same after Cam’ron forced everyone to believe that pink was the new black. “Glare and think how I got the whole New York wearing pink,” he claimed on “Dead Muthafuckas.”
The early years of Dipset didn’t stop there. Juelz Santana’s eccentric style shined through as well. Early Santana kept Harlem on it’s toes. He accentuated his style with baggy all American flag outfits and his trademark “Santana Bandana”.
A true special moment in hip hop fashion- Santana’s gold and silver eagle chain. This could honestly be the best custom jewelry in the rap game. You’re a true American Juelz. This kid from grade school thought this dude’s style was so cool he used to copy it and call himself Julez, damn the memories. Shout out Gangsta Mike only now we understand your prerogative.
That gangsta boyband shit… How crazy is it that Dipset matched all the time? It’s rare to see groups with this kind of camaraderie. These guys know how to do it, imagine them showing up to a house party like this.
As time passed, you might think Cam’s style would evolve into a more mature laid back look…NOPE. Cam kicked off 2005 in this pink panther airbrushed tall tee.
And here, Dipset takes a bit of a hiatus…
Fast forward to 2010 when Dipset reunites…
Jim Jones cuts the infamous braids around this time going for a more professional look.
Jim Jones creates his own brand “Vampire Life” inspired by contemporary streetwear and, uh, vampires. They went from pink to name dropping True Blood. Here’s Freekey Zekey modelling some #VAMPLIFE, cause we always need more Freekey.
Cam’ron proves he still has it with this Gucci bandanna/visor hybrid. We didn’t even know they made these, matter of fact, they probably don’t make these. That’s Fat Joe‘s cross chain too we think, apparently he bought it.
And the latest Cam’ron look to make the news… Yes he’s bringing capes back. From like, the 1700’s or something apparently.
The group known for their outlandish looks tamed things down in recent years but what do you expect; they killed the fashion game already. Plus, they have their own brand now for those of us who plan on repping Dipset forever. There has never been, nor will there ever be another Dipset.
In 2014 Dipset released Dipset USA. Catch it on exclusively on Karmaloop before it sells out.