14 February 2011

Hip Hop Histories- 1

Right on 125th street in Harlem USA, sat a custom high-end clothing boutique owned by Mr. Dapper Dan. 
Before Kanye, Juelz, Fabolous and some other well known rappers wore Gucci and Louis Vutton, Dapper Dan in the 80’s and 90’s planted the seed for fashion in the hip hop culture. He created one of a kind customized high-end clothing that incorporated highly recognizable accessory logos like those of Gucci and Louis Vuitton, featuring them in non-traditional ways.  His pieces were sold for thousands of dollars, and created a sense of what’s cool, what’s new in the streets and in hip-hop.
Dapper Dan, who was born and raised in Harlem, recognized the selling power of luxury.  He would take authentic material from brands like Gucci and Louis Vuitton and create masterpieces for Street Kings and rappers in that era.  “My customers were all gangsters, the rappers wanted to be like the gangsters.  They would wait for the gangsters to leave the store then come in and ask what did the gangsters buy” (Words by Dapper Dan).  Gangsters like Alpo and Rich Porter were some of his clients “I used to have so many gangsters around the store that the feds used to park in front of the store.  They were there for 3 weeks until I finally went up to them and said everyone knows you’re here”.  Rappers like Rakim, Big Daddy Kane and even Salt n Pepa were also some of his clients “Biz Markie would stay in the store for hours telling jokes”.  Dapper Dan also said “Big Daddy Kane never changed, I had the most respect for him.  LL Cool J still owes me $2,200, They ain’t have the money like that back in the day the budget for videos then was $5,000 so a lot of times the rapper owed me”.  Athletes like Mike Tyson would stay in the store for hours.  Dapper Dan’s boutique would be open 24 hours a day for 8 years; His boutique is also famous for being the setting of the well-known incident where Mike Tyson punched Mitch Green in the face. 
Dapper Dan’s creations can be seen on the covers of hip hop albums from the 80’s including; Eric B. and Rakim's Follow the Leader, and Paid in Full, also Salt n Pepa’s cover forthe single Shake Your Thang to name a fewHis legacy is edged in stone in Hip Hop and especially in Harlem.  Dapper Dan has some memorabilia coming out soon as well as a book.    

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