Biting or jacking one's style is a cardinal sin in hip-hop. However, in one recent instance, appropriation translated into a huge win for hip-hop and fashion icon Dapper Dan after Gucci jacked one of his most popular designs.
The piece, a fur-lined Louis Vuitton jacket with balloon sleeves, was originally made for Olympic sprinter Diane Dixon in 1989, but when Gucci unveiled a nearly-identical piece at a fashion show in Florence, Italy this past summer, a number of people, including Dixon, called out the luxury brand for skimming from the Dapper Dan catalog and demanded that Gucci pay proper homage to the originator.
As a result of the ensuing backlash, Dapper Dan's legacy as a vanguard in the world of urban fashion was acknowledged further as groundbreaking and influential even outside of the borders of hip-hop. Gucci decided to partner up with the Harlemite to reopen his iconic boutique for the first time in 25 years.
A native of Harlem, Dapper Dan, born Daniel Day, opened up his famed boutique in 1982, on 125th Street in Harlem. The shop would quickly become a hot spot for rappers, hustlers, athletes and other other people of note. When Dapper Dan began to take the logos of popular fashion brands like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Fendi and MCM and create his own custom designs, his business skyrocketed and his clothing was worn by rappers on album covers, in music videos and on the streets of New York City and beyond.
Everyone from rap legends like Eric B. & Rakim and LL Cool J, to notorious drug dealers like Alpo and Rich Porter would help stamp Dapper Dan as rap's fashion ambassador. Unfortunately, the proprietor would be forced to close shop in 1992, after lawyers working for the same luxury brands he once sampled from filed lawsuits against him, ending his legendary run.
Twenty-six years later, Dapper Dan, who was tapped as the face of Gucci's current menswear ad campaign and is working on a capsule collection with his new partners, is back on the map and in position to shake the world of fashion up once again. In celebration of Dapper Dan's influence, XXL compiled 20 iconic rap lyrics showing love to a true style maven and curator of swag.
"Welcome to Hell, where you are welcome to sell/But when them shells come, you better return ’em/All scars, we earn ’em, all cars, we learn 'em like the back of our hand/We watch for cops hoppin' out the back of vans/Wear a G on my chest, I don't need Dapper Dan/This ain't a sewn outfit, holmes, holmes is about it"
"M.F.T.R."Pusha T Featuring The-Dream
“'Paid in Full' was more than reading a script/Paid in full is really just being Rich Porter/Filling all standing orders/Would you question could I swim if you saw me walking on water?/Yeah, while every song got a rapper dance/Yuugh, I’m drug money like Dapper Dan" - Pusha T
"Herb was a trouble maker, RK a money maker/Can't forget Wee-Wop he was the illest ball player/’86 was when the Bridge stuck together/The era of crack vials and Dapper Dan leathers"
"Leflaur Leflah Eshkoshka"Heltah Skeltah Featuring O.G.C.
"Ay Caramba, Starang, Gunn Clappa Numba/One on the set man I cut you like lumber/Still play the back in my thunder gear, down to my underwear/Make all you motherfuckers wonder where I come from, ’cause muthafuck Dapper Dan/I'm a Gun Clappa fam plus I run rappers man" - Starang Da Wondah
"All For One"Brand Nubian
"And your analysis is that the Lord/Whips rhymes into shape with a mic cord/I do it good ’cause I'm a positive black man/Eating up suckers as if I was PacMan/Not a Dapper Dan fan, I stay casual/To rock like the J it comes gradual"
"Men at Work"Kool G. Rap and DJ Polo
"Definitely def, the five fingers of death/Doc the Butcher, Polo's the chef/And I'm the waiter cause I serve imitators/Who try to duplicate like an emulator/Try to get paid copying a name brand/If I was Gucci, then you would be Dapper Dan" - Kool G. Rap
"Four Minus Three"Masta Ace
"’Cause we ain't caring, don't mind tearing a/Cocaine-pushing, Dapper Dan wearing/Walking around with a neck full of cables/My DJ laughs when you touch the turntables"
"Desperados"The Firm Featuring Canibus
"Millionaire look at the sky make sure it's still there/Ice grill stares and my jewellery is in every year/Pierre Cardin back in a Dapper Dan time/Now flex, angle wrecks, Foxy rock Anne Klein" - Nas and Foxy Brown
"Endo get rolled up like car windows/Avoiding the policemans, them Carl Winslows/The wind blow and change, and I am not mad/All garbage bag rappers need to find a style fast/It's written all over niggas like a Dapper Dan/Survive rough lands, cactus plants growing in desert sands"
"Villain hold a mic like he's mean and his tummy hurt/In a clean pair, ripped jeans and a bummy shirt/Wonderin' would you clap your hands if he was friendly?/Dapper Dan dipped and pretend to be Fendi and gold sellin'/No tellin', slap a fan hand down, tell ’em, 'No yellin''/DOOM, all capitals, no trick spellin'"
"Best Kept Secret"Diamond D and The Psychotic Neurotics
"I'll take a beat and I'll flip it/With so much flavor, niggas wanna sip it/But that's cool cause they know I got skills/Let me demonstrate if you will, ahem/Rock is my man and so is Dapper Dan and/I'll shake your hand and don't try to flam" - Diamond D
"What you know 16 Beamers and Benzes/Rope chain down to my dick, the beef looks tremendous/Me and my niggas flip holes in bitches/Back then, when I wouldn't even pose for bitches/A-Yo, you can ask Dapper Dan who was the man/Back in '88, every other week tricked 30 grand"
"Dirty Game"Bankroll Fresh
"Louie V, nigga, like I left Dapper Dan/2017, I'ma move to Amsterdam/These niggas hating, they gonna really need an ambulance/We toting K's like we come from Afghanistan/Whole hood wildin' out, like the Taliban/Get you ass wet for a whole pack of Xans/I got Street Money, can't do nothing but win"
"Hip Hop"LL Cool J Featuring Terri Robinson
"Making snaps, pumping Kool G Rap and Biz/Dapper Dan, Dookie ropes I'm about to show what time it is/At the rooftop, I was with Doug E.Fresh and Slick Rick/'La Di Da Di, who likes to party?' was the fat shit" - LL Cool J
"Purse Come First"UGK Featuring Big Gipp
"We hit ’em three times, ain't lyin'/line like Adidas/Surrounded by killers and dealers and club geekers/Summertime, Dapper Dan, candy ridin' coupes/Wintertime, snow suits with the Louie boots" - Big Gipp
"Odd Toddlers"Tyler, The Creator Featuring Casey Veggies
"I'm so dapper man, funky fresh Dapper Dan/I'm your favorite rapper, fan, it's an honor to shake my hand/On award tour, on excursions, I'm a virgin of swap meets/I'm so pure, so sick it's no cure/I'm dope, where the fiends at? Aight, where the jeans at?/The hat, the crew, the T-shirt is Supreme" - Tyler, The Creator
"From Now Til Then"Jadakiss
"Now it's getting spooky/It switched to the Acura, Integs and Suzukis, ’lotta Ninos and Pookies/Dapper Dan, Silks and Bally's, ropes dookie/Whoever was in office was letting it flow loosely"
"Money Makes Us Happy"Skyzoo Featuring Bilal and Black Thought
"And it was falling out the sky like if Doug E. Fresh was performing/And we already had too much and so we was brushing it off us/In pictures in front of back drops til like 4 in the morning/In all of this Dapper Dan for all of your dapper adornment" - Skyzoo
"Ain't Got Time"Lil Wayne
"I talk like a hustler, walk like a hustler/Stripper attitude, only money make me move/Dapper Dan status, I'm the stunner part two/I got an image to uphold, and my image do, too/I'm off the scrimmage line like Emmitt 2-2/Why would the quarterback give it to you?"
"Back in the Air"Ol' Dirty Bastard Featuring Ghostface Killah
"I show no mercy, dunk like a bar of Hershey/Call my gun, Lil' Seymour, bitch, or Big Percy/A Dapper Dan fan, who will clap a man/For five grand of small bills, wrapped in a rubberband/Then lay up in a fat pair of titties, my bitch is so saditty/This is Dirt McGirt, ho, not P. Diddy" - Ol' Dirty Bastard