Happy Birthday, Hip-Hop! A Celebration Of The Genre's Best Style Moments

Take a second and journey back to 1973. It's hot — August in the Bronx hot — and DJ Kool Herc is playing a back to school party when he creates a new genre of music: hip-hop.
44 years later, the sect has evolved from a fringe subculture into modern culture's dominant soundtrack — and wielded a vast influence on the world of fashion. From bucket hats and baggy jeans to the rise of streetwear, the category's musicians have shaped the way we dress.
Style's evolution over the decades is undeniable, but the continued resurfacing of throwback trends makes some retro looks feel as relevant as ever. In honor of the 44th anniversary of hip-hop, click through for 12 of our favorite looks from some of its most iconic artists. From LL Cool J and Lauryn Hill to N.W.A and M.I.A., here's some of the most memorable — and influential — outfits over the past few decades.
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LL Cool J's look for the '87 jam I Need Love's album art is just as iconic as the track. A Kangol hat + Fila jacket (fully zipped up, 'natch) + some seriously heavy chains = a look guaranteed to attract "a girl sweet as a dove."
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When you make a song called "My Adidas," you gotta rock the stripes. Over 30 years later, looking at Run–D.M.C. group shots is still a masterclass in how to rep a brand with your whole squad.
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Oh, Aaliyah. Tommy Hilfiger may be having a moment in 2017, but Aaliyah rocked the iconic red, white and blue logos better than any Hadid. Sorry supermodels, Try Again.
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Salt-N-Pepa always looked stylin', so of course they turned it out for their Push It album cover. The mix of traditional African prints with classic '80s styles, like XXL leather bombers, leggings, and gold chains, made for an instant style classic.
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Bow down for the O.G. Queen Bitch, Lil' Kim. The true trailblazer for female rappers was known to have killer style, rapping "I used to wear Moschino, but every bitch got it. Now I rock colorful minks because my pockets stay knotted."

Here, she's straight up adorable in a ribbed Chanel onesie with glam white sunglasses and blonde bombshell hair — and the cutest accessory of all, a Yorkie.
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We're noted fans of Missy Elliot's The Rain [Supa Dupa Fly] plastic bag suit, but this look is super-cute and probably a lot more cozy. The floppy knit hat/glittery oversized sweatshirt Adidas combination is too good, but the color-coordinated bubble gum is what really sets it over the top.
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True to her name, Foxy Brown always looked hot as hell. From her square tipped nails to her masterfully unzipped Louis Vuitton tank vest, this look screams retro logomania sex appeal. Kim K, take note!
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TLC = the holy trinity of killer style. Bring on the abs, bring on the D&G underwear bands, bring on the incredibly shiny, perfectly baggy high-waisted pants.
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If you're not already acquainted, please allow us to introduce you to Neneh Cherry. The Swedish rapper ruled the UK Singles Chart in the late '80s/early 90s, and her look here is peak normcore.
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N.W.A. had a look as iconic as their attitude. Reebok sneakers, baggy jeans, a good amount of gold, and an ever-present baseball cap ensured the group's aesthetics were as solid as their genre-defining sound.
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The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill redefined hip-hop, and this outfit is a complete education in '90s trends. There are a lot of things right with this look — a jaunty bucket hat, hoop earrings, an oversized flannel, a school tee, and chunky sneakers — but Hill's smile is the real stand-out.
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Talented, controversial, and outspoken, M.I.A. matches her bold personality with a clear style. Strongly influenced by her native Sri Lanka Tamil background, she mixes traditional dress with streetwear, mixing patterns and colors with aplomb.
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