Rappers have always been obsessed with accessories. It's mandated in rap contracts, right next to girl songs and Bun B collaborations. The tradition dates back to hip-hop's early days. Before Kanye popularized shutter shades, Kool Moe Dee kept it fresh with Star Trek shades. Before T-Pain dropped 400 grand on a big ass chain, Slick Rick draped about 400 big gold chains around his neck. We still can't see an unlaced Adidas without thinking of Run DMC. Branding is the name of the game, baby.
Though rap toys have evolved from chains to gadgets, they still fulfill the same purpose: helping their owners build toward the ultimate goal of name recognition and global domination. Modern tools for a modern age. It's an inevitable evolution in an age when Kanye's tweets generate as much attention as his music.
Here are some Houston rappers and their signature accessories.
The Nice Guys: Macbooks, Blackberrys
The Nice Guys never leave the crib without their macbook, which contains some beats, samples, and songs, just in case they need to pull over on the side of the road and record a song. "I gotta keep it on me wherever I go, so if we ever gotta randomly record, I need to do a beat, or if I just get bored period, I got my mac to take care of that." The fellas pack their BlackBerries strictly for phone calls and Twitter. You don't want to get caught slipping if @Diddy tweets you a business proposal.
Hollywood Floss: Wallet
Wu-Tang taught us that cash rules everything around us, but Hollywood Floss is attached to his wallet for a different reason. "I'd never get in the club because people think I'm 14...haha. But seriously, I never leave without my music."
Trae: All-black everything Black is the official color of hip-hop and Trae, being the professional that he is, always wears his hip-hop uniform to work. Runner-up: ABN chain
Dirty (Dirty-N-Nasty): iPhone Dirty conducts his business almost exclusively from his iPhone. His iPhone does everything except brew him coffee every morning. Says Dirty: "I write lyrics in it, keep my schedule for the week, make calls/texts, even check Twitter and Facebook."
Nasty (Dirty-N-Nasty): Shades Nasty, the nerdier of two, likes to think of his shades as a source of supernatural powers. "It's like when Clark Kent takes off the glasses and turns into Superman, but opposite. I put the locs on and become a monster."
Slim Thug: Baggy jeans
Slim Thug (6' 6") shops at Big & Tall, so you'll never catch him in anything slim at all. Thugga once tweeted this about skinny pants: "if you ever see me wearing skinny jeans u have my permission to drench me in gasoline and burn me alive."
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Z-Ro: A permanent scowl
Unlike the rest of you mortals, Z-Ro is a superhuman who lacks the physiological stimulants necessary to compose a smile. As a result of this deficiency, Ro has no choice but to walk around with a permanent scowl on his face.
Preemo: A positive attitude
The way Preemo teems with positive energy you'd think he was coming home to Christina Hendricks every night. This approach stems from a personal philosophy. "I keep a positive attitude because the world is filled with people that want you to be miserable just like them."