When the lights dimmed on Kanye West’s Adidas x YEEZY debut fashion show, the only thing more noteworthy than the first season collaboration was the front row of guests.
It was an eclectic mix of people- royalty in their own right. Sean “Diddy” Combs, Beyonce, Jay Z, and Rihanna all shared space with large names in the fashion industry such as Anna Wintour and Alexander Wang. Kim Kardashian West seemed to be the link to bring both sides together; her entry into hip hop’s elite group through Kanye reflects his entry into fashion through her. His front row of guests demonstrates the changing tides of the world- hip hop has transcended its place as a musical platform and become synonymous with a pop culture landscape where anything is possible.
Hip Hop grounds itself in the movement of the people- it was an aspect of black communities used to demonstrate their dance (breakdancing), music (DJing and rapping), and art (graffiti). At its essence it is about humanity, and later the struggle of black lives. While keeping its roots alive, it has now grown into so much more than lyrics and beats. Jay Z has moved on from rapping about the hustle that created him, to the opulence and luxury that surround him. Kendrick Lamar still keeps it real by making the political personal, as noted most dramatically on To Pimp a Butterfly. The most notable way in which these artists are using their craft is through a time tested element- the relevancy of their subjects.
When Beyonce, or Queen B as she is known by her Beyhive, dropped her self-titled album without a moment’s notice, the world immediately began talking about her messages of feminism. Her music helped to give further credibility to an already strong movement, and became chart toppers and club bangers in their own time. The [in]famous Kanye West was named one of TIME magazine’s most influential people, categorized with the likes of Barack Obama, and Narendra Modi. With elevated visions of artistry, there is not a moment when Kanye hasn’t been relevant in his career. Anticipation of his newest album only strengthens the pull that hip hop has on the people. Kanye and Beyonce prove that hip hop encompasses a broader category of thought- it is becoming a defining force on the global landscape.