Unfortunately for Mr T and Dame Kelly Holmes, the days when a bit of gold round your neck guaranteed you respect are long gone.
If you really want to stand out from the crowd in 2013, you need more than just hideous - yet staggeringly expensive - necklaces. You need to be creative. You need to think outside the jewellery box. And, most importantly, you need to be prepared to look an utter plonker. Nowhere are the boundaries of accessorising broken more regularly – and tastelessly – than in the glitzy world of rap music, so with that in mind, we thought we’d expose hip hop’s oddest fashion gimmicks…
(Images: Rex Features, Getty Images)
Despite Goldie Lookin Chain’s assertions that everything is ‘safe as f*ck’, life as a rapper can actually be quite dangerous. Drive-bys, gang fights and tickly coughs are just a few of the perils that hip hop stars face every day on the streets. Which is why Atlanta MC Nelly is to be applauded for the foresight he displays in carrying basic First Aid equipment on his face at all times. The diminutive star claims he wears the sticking plaster out of respect for his imprisoned brother – who was presumably incarcerated for scratching someone’s cheek - but we reckon the whole thing smacks of an unsightly wart. But don’t tell him we said that.
Flava Flav's clock
Punctuality is a vital factor in achieving mainstream success. If you’re not on time for your meetings, gigs and album signings, you’re liable to incur the wrath of both your manager and fanbase pretty sharpish. Subsequently, rather than anxiously consulting a small, complicated wristwatch every five minutes, Public Enemy nutbox Flava decided to wear an enormous clock round his neck at all times. Which promptly turned him into a reliable, down-to-earth individual, rather than a bewildered loon. Or was it the other way round?
Lil Jon's goblet
Rappers are constantly promising to ‘get medieval’ on the world’s ass. However, very few of them have been known to keep their word by organising jousts, beheading their spouses or declaring war on France. Crunk godfather Lil Jon has at least made a decent stab at properly embracing the Middle Ages, by wielding a bejewelled goblet during most photo opportunities. Unfortunately, Jon fills his vessel not with foaming, nut-brown mead, but with ‘Crunk Juice’ – a horrific, cognac-based cocktail.
Lisa 'Left Eye' Lopes's condom glasses
Is there any better way to promote safe sex than by gluing a Durex to the front of your spectacles? Yes. Obviously, there are many, many better ways. However, late TLC singer Lisa clearly couldn’t think of one in the early nineties, and thus the condom glasses were born. For some reason, the prophylactic specs never really had the impact Lopes might have hoped, and teen pregnancy – and bland eyewear – remain widespread to this day.
MF Doom's mask
Following the death of his brother, with whom he formed classic old skool rap group KMD, MF Doom spent three years out of the spotlight, before returning with new solo material and a metal mask strapped to his bonce. Not dissimilar to the facial shield worn by Marvel Comics baddie Doctor Doom, MF’s steel visor has been clamped to his face ever since. He even re-designed it back in 2000, after deciding he preferred the look of Russell Crowe's mask in Gladiator.
Slick Rick's eyepatch
It’s widely acknowledged that eye patches are only acceptable when worn by pirates or David Bowie. Slick Rick, as far as we’re aware, is neither. However, he was blinded in the right eye as an infant and, as such, he just about gets away with rocking the patch on a regular basis. Especially as he often changes its colour scheme and customises it with precious stones. Which is more than can be said for most pirates.
Kriss Kross's back-to-front clothing
Unlike the plot to Memento, clothes do not work well back-to-front. Above all else, it’s a massive hassle every time you need a wee. Despite that, however, the forces behind nineties pubescent rap duo Kriss Kross decided that the pair would have more commercial appeal if they wore their T-shirts and jeans the wrong way round. Why? We have absolutely no idea. But who are we to question them? The global success Kriss Kross have enjoyed ever since speaks for itself.
Lil Mama's pacifier
One of the less well-known fashion criminals in this line-up, New York rapstress Lil Mama is clearly under the impression that imitating a newborn baby will help increase her profile. And, to be fair, it has - it's got her on this list. In the coming months, then, expect to see Ms Mama rocking a puree-spattered bib, chomping on rusks and weeping loudly at 4 o'clock in the morning.
Paul Wall's jewel-encrusted teeth
Despite the fact they are most commonly associated with octogenarians, Houston rapper Paul Wall can’t get enough of false dentures. However, rather than the phlegm-soaked, plastic jobbies your Nan uses to decimate Shortbread, Paul’s gnashers are diamond-studded and cost tens of thousands of dollaaah to manufacture. However, the result makes him look he’s still being forced to wear braces in his thirties, so it’s not brilliant value for money.