Ibn Jasper takes us through 12 iconic hip-hop hairstyles from classic and contemporary emcees, including Eminem, A$AP Rocky and O.D.B.
The relationship between a rapper and his barber is nothing but an invulnerable bond. When Jay Z needs a fresh cut – at home or on the road – he has been known to call on longtime associate Johnny Cakes, and it was reported that Drake debuted a never-before-heard track at his barber’s wedding. But perhaps the best examples are Chicago’s Ibn Jasper and Kanye West. Jasper has been Kanye’s barber for over 20 years, and Ibn the F.M. Phenomenal author can be credited with Kanye’s Fendi logo haircut from 2006, his Keith Haring-inspired cut from 2009, and many other looks.
We hit up Ibn for his take on some classic and contemporary hairstyles in hip-hop, with illustrations by our in-house artist Dan Freebairn.
Ol’ Dirty Bastard
“ODB turned this look into a classic in the ’90s. Braids coming back from the forehead, but up from the back of the neck, too, so they spike up where they meet at the crown. This is Brooklyn Zoo steez.”
“This is when Busta was the absolute best across the board, cemented by this iconic hair style. Faded with the locks on top, in knots. You could just see the silhouette of this image and know it’s Busta Rhymes.”
“This is some O.G. shit right here. When you get your hair hot combed, but don’t have enough time to do the braids you really want. The life of a gangsta.”
“The iconic Eazy-E Jehri curl ‘fro with the Compton hat. This was probably the scariest hairstyle to see in person in the ’90s.”
“Yo this half-moon step flattop is a holy grail haircut. You don’t understand the level of commitment this haircut takes, for the barber and the client. To grow the hair at the top, then chop a spiral slope, then put a part in it, then pick it out and shape it a few times so it doesn’t move… it’s basically architecture. This is a masterpiece of barbering artistry.”
“The Slim Shady Blonde Caesar. I think that’s the first time the term “Blonde Caesar” was used since the Roman era.”
“He put blonde in his dreads. He went ‘too pop.’ I think he’s the first dude to do ombré locks. I might be wrong though.”
“Trav started by getting twists to start growing his hair longer like it is now. That’s my young G right there.”
“Vic is kinda owning this look right now in the pop lexicon. Short locks with blonde tips on top with a fade in the side.”
“This is the 2015 version of O.G. Busta Rhymes hairstyle, but with a party in the back aka a mullet.”
“Yo, have you seen the video where he explains how to eat different foods when you have a large amount of facial hair? It’s genius.”
“Rocky definitely brought braids back in terms of being fresh on the streets and in fashion. Some people would always try to say you needed to cut your braids to be fresh, but now, Pusha, Travi$ and Rocky are out here killing it and bringing in a new wave.”