Skip to content Skip to footer

From Korn to Juice WRLD: How nu-metal inspired modern rap fashion

As different as they may seem, trap rap and nu-metal are distant relatives.

While some trap artists are actually taking musical influence, the topic here is the fashion. With wild dreads, piercings, funky hair colors, and baggy clothes, the late 90s-early-2000s fashion is BACK in a new way.

What is nu-metal exactly?

By this point, you may be asking what nu-metal exactly is. It’s a genre of metal that combines rap, grunge, industrial, and goth-rock in its sound.

Korn GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

The term came about to describe Korn, and bands like them, in 1996, as before then, it was undefined. Korn broke the fashion mold in rock, and it evolved, good and bad, from there.

There is no one unified nu-metal sound, as all bands vary in degrees of influence from each genre. Limp Bizkit’s look and sound different than do Slipknot’s, and that’s different from Linkin Park’s sound. All are still nu-metal.

However, the modern fashion trends borrowed from this time seem to lean more on the goth, industrial, and street fashion. But before we look at today’s hip-hop artists who’ve adopted the trend, let’s take a look at a few of the originators.



View this post on Instagram


Brothers in arms & dreads. 📷: @three28_photography / @stvthrasher

A post shared by Korn (@korn_official) on

Best to start with the pioneers. Themselves taking influence from street, rap, and grunge fashion of the day, Korn set themselves apart with their style. Musically and visually, they were different than any act out there.

Coal Chamber

Taking the dark look of Korn and cranking it up to 11, Coal Chamber was likely the most nu-metal looking band out there.

This was reflected in their sound, which was dark and crazy as their look. With colorful dyed hair, dreads, and piercings all over, they wore their influences on their sleeve.

System of a Down

One of the definitive acts of the genre, SOAD wasn’t dreaded, but they were out there.

With funky facial hair choices and piercings, they reflected the, “I don’t care what you think” attitude of nu-metal. They made bold fashion choices and even bolder music. Here’s hoping they’ll tour again…

Kanye West


View this post on Instagram


Kanye West wearing a @faithconnexion Flannel, @supremenewyork Box Logo T Shirt, black pants and a pair of @adidas Yeezy Boost 750 Sneaker.

A post shared by Kanye West ✨ (@kanyewestarchive) on

Best to start with the man who made metal wear “cool” in rap fashion. Kanye has been called an innovator, fashion being one of those fields.

By single-handedly making this a trend, you can see why. Albums like 2013’s Yeezus bore the Metallica inspired logo that started it all. While Metallica is thrash metal and not nu-metal, the style Kanye popularized certainly could be called that.

Travis Scott


View this post on Instagram


We went half on bat

A post shared by flame (@travisscott) on

Like pictured above, Travis Scott’s dark sound is always accompanied by some dark threads.

Taking to the color black in his clothed (when he is shirted), his style is of the baggy graphic shirt variety. With his dreads reminiscent of Korn and his out-there sound, he wears this style with pride.

Lil Uzi Vert


View this post on Instagram


Geeker 🤓

A post shared by 16 ( NO STYLIST) (@liluzivert) on

Lil Uzi Vert is the most famous example of a trapper bringing this trend to the red carpet in recent times.

On several occasions, Uzi has stated his love for metal. He can be seen wearing a Marilyn Manson shirt in the “Bad and Boujee” music video. Uzi calls Manson his favorite artist.

Lil Peep


View this post on Instagram


Tour shirts! 🐣

A post shared by @ lilpeep on

Lil Uzi is not the only one, though. Before his passing several years ago, Lil Peep famously made trap inspired by emo-rap and rock alike, inspired by the nu-metal bands of yesteryear.

His fashion and music were heavily influenced by this scene.

Trippie Redd


View this post on Instagram


Fat boy love stars ✨

A post shared by ༒ ꧁₁₄₀₀꧂ ༒ ♞. (@trippieredd) on

Trippie Redd has adopted the colorful dreads, tattoos, and piercings himself, as well as a dark sound to boot. Here we can see him rocking dark jeans with a big chain Limp Bizkit would envy. Very 90s, my man.

A$AP Rocky


View this post on Instagram


I ❤️NY

A post shared by GUESS WHO FUCCKIN YO BITVH (@asaprocky) on

Adopting the early look of nu-metal with the dreads, hoodie, and flannel, this is unquestionably a 90s style. The baggy hoodies are something that went out of vogue in the past decade, but it’s nice to see them back.

While A$AP doesn’t go all-in on this look, there’s no doubt it served as a fashion influence.

Playboi Carti


View this post on Instagram


him <3 red incoming .

A post shared by @ playboicarti on

Carti’s self-titled debut album cover shows him decked out in what looks like a nu-metal collage. Dreads are, of course, par for the course when talking about this style.

This style isn’t the dark one usually associated with nu-metal, but it’s SO 90s. This jacket is a unique piece taking influence from a multitude of sources and is a great evolution.

Billie Eilish


View this post on Instagram


thank u oscars for having mee

A post shared by BILLIE EILISH (@billieeilish) on

These fashion trends are not limited to rap, however. Billie Eilish has, since her rise to fame, worn clothes reminiscent of the late 90s – early 2000s trends.

Her big baggy clothes, chains all over, and hair dyed neon green are definitely descendants of these trends.


Finally, an entry for late JUICE WRLD. Before his passing late last year, he left us with not only fantastic tracks but a look that was his own. Being that his music was always on the macabre side, his fashion sense leaned toward the dark vibe.

Dreads with dye, dark denim, and metal-looking threads on his torso, this guy could easily pass for a nu-metal artist. Sadly, we will never find out. He was 21-years-old, may he rest in peace.

The music has changed, but the style is back in a new way. But fashion evolves, and things have to progress. This should be a wake-up call to all artists that image is important, no matter the genre. You won’t be “selling out” by dressing like this.

Dress how you feel, and don’t feel ashamed to be out there with your choices!

RIP Juice Wrld: What is the state of hip-hop after another rapper overdoses?

On the early morning of Dec. 8, rapper Juice Wrld passed away after suffering a seizure at a Chicago airport.

Fans were extremely confused and distraught, as Juice Wrld had seemingly only scratched the surface of his musical genius and popularity.

The Chicago-born rapper’s death also comes in the wake of other young artists’ deaths, including XXXTentacion and Lil Peep, who both died at age 21. Does this point to an epidemic of a culture that fetishizes drug use and reckless behavior?

“What’s the 27 club? We ain’t making it past 21”

Juice Wrld rapped in his song, “Legends,” about XXXTentacion and other late young artists. Many fans have brought up this lyric when analyzing the circumstances of Juice Wrld’s death.

Juice Wrld was a talented and unique artist because of his blending of fly and witty lyrics with catchy, tonal melodies. Some considered him an integral part of the new “genre,” emo hip-hop, which XXXTentacion and Lil Peep also fell under.

“All this jealousy and agony that I sit in. I’m a jealous boy, really feel like John Lennon”

Juice sings on his hit song, “All Girls Are the Same.”

All three artists (though Juice to a lesser extent) made songs with sad tones and extremely introspective lyrics. Juice Wrld has a propensity to rap about drugs and how they numb his pain. He would go on to release an album with Future titled WRLD ON DRUGS.

“Codeine in my sippy cup, I chug it, don’t sip a lot”

Juice sings on “Ain’t Livin Right,” with Future. After his death, many people criticized the culture of highlighting a “cool factor” of popping pills and sipping lean. Others pointed to this generation’s recklessness leading to overdoses.

There is certainly a problem with extreme drug use in this country, but it is not just young people hooked on pills and opioids. Also, talented artists on the brink of superstardom have been dying from overdoses for decades in this country.

Another part of the issue of artists’ deaths is how their numbers skyrocket afterward. XXXTentacion’s numbers went through the roof after he was murdered. Lil Peep’s death was the first time many people heard of the artist, and his numbers consequently went up.

Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee might be on to something…

Juice Wrld was the most streamed artist on the day of his death, with more than 38.2 million streams. His on-demand audio streams spiked 487 percent. “Lucid Dreams,” Juice’s biggest hit of his career, was also the most-streamed song of the day.

Amidst the mess of speculation that Sunday caused, were theories that Juice faked his death.

These theories are by no means credible, but they do show the immense impact that social media has in today’s age.

If there is an old tweet, an old video that may lay credence to a theory, someone will find it. To make this story even creepier, people noticed a trend on Tik Tok a month ago of kids playing “Lucid Dreams,” and pretending to have seizures.

Fame is not all that it is cut out to be, and Juice Wrld knew this all too well.

An absurdly talented and thoughtful individual, his memory will live on and he will be remembered as he was: a legend.

May Juice Wrld rest in power.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by There’s more to life. (@kulturehub) on