History of The Snapback
The snapback is one of the hallmarks of our generation. It has become a sign of street swag and ruled fashion since 2011 with Chris Brown and Tyga’s viral music video Snapback Back. From there it was made famous by artists Like Jay-Z and Kanye West.
But did you know that the history of the snapback goes much farther than that? In fact, the predecessor of the snapback is the baseball hat, which pretty much has had its current style since 1849! Let’s try and give it a deeper look.
The Baseball Hat
Back in the 1800s, baseball teams liked to wear non-uniform hats during games. In fact, the modern version of fitted baseball caps we know was first worn by the Brooklyn Excelsiors in the 1849 season. These original non-uniform hats were pretty similar to the modern snapbacks you recognize today.
What started as a formal trend in the sports industry soon took off in the music industry as well. In the 1980s and 1990s music stars started wearing snapbacks too.
The Golden Age of The 90s
I bet you’ve watched the movie Straight Outta Compton. Well, did you notice the style of the time included snapbacks? That was historically accurate. There were two primary factions in the music industry back then: the west coast and the east coast, and they used snapbacks to identify themselves.
West Coast snapbacks were worn by N. W. A, and would have the name of the town of Compton stitched on them. Meanwhile East Coast snapbacks were donned by Mobb Deep and would represent New York boroughs. Think Brooklyn and Queens. The hats were an integral part of the fashion of the day, fitting in seamlessly with the baggy jeans and shirts.
Famous stars that wore snapbacks included Tupac, Ice Cube, Dr. Dre and Eazy-E, among others. The hip-hop industry sparked the embers of the fashion trend, but what really made it go viral was the same movement that had originated the trend: the sports industry.
Snapbacks in Sports
Sports is one of those phenomena of modern culture that start and end entire trends. It’s a fact that children look up to sports stars and sports stars define role models for many people in society. It comes as no surprise therefore that sports had a role to play in the spread of snapback.
When sports stars started wearing snapbacks on TV, retailers started making replicas and stocking them in bulk. They were all scrambling to catch the trend before it took off without them.
The most popular image was back in the 90s when Michael Jordan hit the shot that beat the Cavaliers in the NBA finals. He wore the Gatorade snapback doing the interview after the game. After that interview snapbacks were selling like hotcakes.
The snapback craze died off in the early 2000s. People thought the trend was gone for good and would never be back. That is until Chris Brown and Tyga entered the scene.
The music video Snapback Back included a scene with Chris Brown and Tyga rummaging through the back of their closets and taking out their old snapbacks. It went viral quickly and made the trend famous again. Soon enough snapbacks were back in vogue. Their revival was immortalized in the lyrics to Kanye West’s song Snapback: “Used to wear baggy clothes/ now my clothes tailored/ used to wear a fitted cap now I rock a snapback.
This timeless article of fashion continues to capture people’s imagination and has become a global icon for street fashion. Is it ever going to die out again? Who knows! From the look of things, however, not very soon.
The hats pictured above are courtesy of Cranium Fitteds. Like their page on facebook.