A New Book Catalogs The History of Hip-Hop Through Hard To Find T-Shirts

Forever an influence on fashion, nostalgia for a certain era is prevalent in all elements of couture, from the high-brow clothing found on catwalks to the mass-produced tour tees sold at concert venues. It used to be that in order to purchase your favorite artist’s merchandise, you had to attend a show or visit a specific retailer who carried what you hoped to find. The internet has changed the game, and now online outlets like Ebay, Amazon, Etsy, and niche web boutiques are purveyors of all things wearable, including that oft-hunted but rarely seen vintage Rap T-Shirt. One man has made it his life’s ambition to not only amass a collection of rare tees featuring his favorite Hip-Hop artists, but to feature his sizeable cache in a new book.

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Ross Schwartzman, better known as DJ Ross One, has just released Rap Tees: A Collection of Hip-Hop T-Shirts 1980-1999, a comprehensive documentation of not only more than 500 shirts, but also a chronologically organized history of Hip-Hop and its relationship to fashion.

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According to the book’s description on Amazon, “Beginning with the earliest rap concert shirts from the Sugar Hill Gang and New York Fresh Fest, circa 1980-84, and spanning the next two decades, Rap Tees includes rare shirts from a wide selection of the who’s-who of the business including: Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions, Beastie Boys, Eric B and Rakim, Wu Tang Clan, Jay Z, Nas, EMPD, and many, many more.” The book, which may inspire both appreciation and perhaps a tinge of envy, is available for purchase now.

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Related: A New Book Lists The Most Important Rap Songs Of Every Year Since 1979. Did They Get It Right?