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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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
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 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 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.
View this post on Instagram
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.
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.
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!