Tracing Rap’s Love Affair With Raf Simons

by MR Magazine Staff

Rappers have been peppering their rhymes with designer and fashion references for years. From Biggie to Jay-Z, they’ve all used it to add flair and give their lines some lqqks. Remember Grandmaster Flash repping his Calvin Klein in ‘Them Jeans’ in 1987? Or that time Kanye West name-checked 21 models in his verse on ‘Christian Dior Denim Flow’. A$AP Rocky has consistently dropped designer bombs in his songs and recently enlisted Frank Ocean, Lil Uzi Vert and Quavo to rep their fave Belgian designer – Raf Simons. Rocky had already teased the song – simply titled “Raf” on Twitter earlier this year with the hashtag #pleasedonttouchmyraf but the song was finally released this week on Ocean’s Beats 1 show “blonded RADIO”. Simons has a squad of rappers (literally) singing his praises, but when did the obsession start and why? New Yorker David Casavant who has been collecting the designer’s most coveted items since he was a teen thinks the fanboying is down to the groundbreaking moves Raf has made in his career, “Raf put streetwear in a high fashion context which is now normalised but was more radical at that time,” he told us today, “He was one of the few designers committed to pushing the limits of menswear.” The waves he made in fashion naturally caught the interest of Kanye West, whose interest goes all the way back to 2008 when he interviewed Simons for Interview, discussing their struggle as pioneers and rise to fame. Simons also influenced his fourth studio album 808s & Heartbreak and he told the New York Times, “I didn’t realise I was new wave until this project. Thus my connection with Peter Saville, with Raf Simons, with high-end fashion.” Read more at Dazed.