Kanye West spits, “So go ahead go nuts go ape shit/ Especially in my pastel on my bape shit” in his uber-hit “Stronger” (2007). This might have been the first time you heard the word “Bape” uttered; it certainly was for me. For those that are unaware, “Bape” is the abbreviation of A Bathing Ape, the ultra popular streetwear brand founded by former Teriyaki Boyz DJ Nigo. Since its conception in 1993, BAPE has exploded onto the hip-hop fashion scene despite having only one store located outside of Asia (New York for those that were wondering). This is in thanks largely to Nigo’s friendship with Pharrell Williams, who helped popularize the brand in the US in the mid 2000’s. Because of BAPE’s success and influence in the hip-hop world, True Too thought it was only right to educate our readers on the topic. Whether it be some fresh kicks or a dope hoodie, below you will find some of the biggest MCs in rap who have rocked BAPE and helped bring it into hip hop prominence. Enjoy.
Nigo owes a great deal of BAPE’s Western success to this man. Hell, Pharrell did such a good job at spreading BAPE throughout the USA that Nigo agreed to be the head designer of Pharrell’s Billionaire Boys Club and Icecream clothing lines. Skateboard P is constantly rocking the brand’s newest designs without fail and remains the music industry’s strongest connection to the company.
Even though he may not have introduced the brand to the hip hop industry, Kanye West is still heavily associated with Bape largely in thanks to name drops like in the aforementioned lyric. Supposedly he even bought out the BAPE store in New York once. Just look at all those kicks.
Another hip hop icon and BAPE connisseur. Mr. Carter has a lot of money, some of which he spends on popular Japanese street wear brands. Check out the iconic BAPE camo jacket he rocked with Queen B.
The outlandish patterns Nigo incorporates into his clothing compliment Weezy’s ridiculous personality perfectly. Wayne’s affinity for the brand even got him caught up in some beef with Clipse who criticized the rapper for copying his and Pharrell’s style. How could you get mad at someone for stuntin’ like a grape though?
Notorious was probably the first big name in hip hop to rock BAPE stateside. Considering he passed before BAPE really blew up in the States, he’d been rocking the brand almost a decade earlier than Pharrell. Talk about being ahead of your time.
Now of course these aren’t all of the rappers that have repped BAPE throughout the years, just some of the biggest. As long as fashion remains a staple of hip hop culture ape’s will continue to bathe on the jackets of many MCs, much like these honorable mentions:
- Posdnuos (of De La Soul)
- Kid Cudi
- Lupe Fiasco
- A$AP Rocky
- A$AP Ferg
- Wiz Khalifa
- Big Sean
- Travis Scott
- Pusha T
- Beastie Boys