The fashion aspect in Hip Hop and Punk is very distinctive. Throughout Hips Hop’s history, the fashion trends have evolved, but the concept of Hip Hop fashion has always remained conceptually unchanged. This has given birth to a few varieties among Hip Hop fashion according to their respective generations and choice of self-expression through the four pillars of Hip Hop which are Bboying (dance), MC/Rap (music), DJ (music) and Graffiti Art (visual art). The varieties of fashion within the Punk culture differ from Hip Hop in a different aspect.
While Hip Hop’s fashion alternatives were born from historical factors within the cultural aspects, Punk’s sense of fashion stems from the different mentalities that exist within the Punk subculture. Among the subcultures are Street Punk, Glam Punk, Hardcore, Anarcho punk, Oi and Ska Punk, Crust Punk, Gothic Rock, Cow Punk, Dance Punk, Skate Punk and Pop Punk. Hip Hop favours a colourful approach to clothe fashion usually experimenting with sportswear and urban street wear brands, while Punks in general favour a more aggressive look ranging from biker styles, army boots and bondage clothing.
Accessories are also an essential part of fashion in both cultures, for instance, Punks prefer to use spiked bracelets and jewelry, but Hip Hop followers on the other hand prefer wearing gold and silver jewelry, colloquially referred to as Blings or Bling-Blings and the usage of grills are also common where Hip Hop artists’ would place gold over their teeth. Another trait that many of the Punk subcultures share amongst each other is the usage of tight pants, leather vests and ripped clothing, contrast to Hip Hop followers who have more tendency of wearing baggy pants and large clothes.
Punks also involve themselves with body modifications which include extreme piercings and tattooing, make-up is also a part of Punk culture, such as the use of eye-liner in both men and women. Hip Hop is quite neutral towards body modifications; rather the history of Hip Hop has led to many Hip Hop followers who were originally gangsters to embrace tattooing to prove their manly hood, it is appropriate to state that tattooing is not a necessity to embrace Hip Hop, rather an influence of ancestry and popular culture.
Hairstyles are probably very much significant in the Punk culture as Punks have often been associated with extreme hairstyles such as the Mohawk, Trojan and Spikes. Apart from the noticeable hairstyle, dyeing is also integral to some Punk subcultures. Punk Skinheads, although being a part of the Punk subculture shave their heads unlike their other Punk counterparts. Hip Hop followers do not share the same concepts of hairstyle with Punks; instead Hip Hop followers prefer to cover their hair with headgears such as full caps, flat caps, beanies and bowler hats.
Hairstyles among Hip Hop followers are usually influenced by traditional African styles, although, some hairstyles from Punk such as the Mohawk have been adapted into Hip Hop by the Bboys (dancers). Punk women are usually asexual in their appearances and rebel against stereotypical images of women. Women in Hip Hop however tend to either emulate a “tough guy” attitude, promoting sex appeal or presenting a unique style of Hip Hop femininity.
The Punk and Hip Hop cultures can be compared and recognized by the difference in their art, poetry, ideologies and lifestyles. Bboying is a type of dance style unique to Hip Hop, where a dancer uses a variety of dynamic movements significantly influenced by classic martial art movies, shows like Soul-train and movements by James Brown to follow a rhythmic beat called a breakbeat which is comprised of hi-hats and snares of a drum usually played by the DJ.
Since the establishment of the Hip Hop Culture, many dance styles have emerged during and after Hip Hop’s development, some of these styles are popping, Krumping and house. The Punk scene have also developed dances unique to their culture, most noticeable is the Pogo. The Pogo is a dance where the dancers jump up and down while remaining in the same location. There are occasions where the dancers might bump each other. This gave birth to another Punk dance called Moshing where the dancers deliberately bump against each other.
The differences in dancing among Hip Hop and Punks are not limited by the styles and music, but the community’s lifestyle. Punk dancers, dance as a group while Bboys take turns dancing in a circle. Visual arts in Hip Hop and Punk take a very different path depending on the cultures’ goal. Graffiti Art is the usage of spray paint and pen markers to express individuality through Hip Hop’s philosophy of peace, love, unity and having fun by colors and abstract texts or drawings.
Punk visual art however is focused towards album covers, posters and flyers designed to invoke empathy and sometimes contempt among readers and viewers by calling upon issues such as social injustice. Literature and poetry are qualities that both cultures possess but they differ in mediums. Hip Hop’s literature and poetry is effectively shown the ability of the MC’s (singers) to combine words together to form rhymes while Punks have generated a considerable amount of poetry, comics and has its own underground press called Punk Zines.
The Origins of both cultures are very different as well. Hip Hop’s origins started from the Bronx in New York City by people from the ghetto who were originally African-Americans and soon the Latino community became a significant part of hip Hop’s history. The punk subculture emerged in a few places, but it is still a controversy to where it first originated. The Punk culture started from the genre of music that we now know as Protopunk and since then has evolved to different subcultures depending on the influence of various kinds of modern art, books, literature, films and music.
The biggest difference in origin on both cultures is the mentality and events behind their existence where Hip Hop is the name of the collective intelligence compromised by four cultural aspects of self expression while Punk was born through music genre and later evolved through the influence of various modern arts and philosophies. Reference: http://www. fastnbulbous. com/punk. htm Documentary The Freshest Kids, director: Israel