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Watch part two of “The Tanning of America” as Steve Stoute continues to prove how Hip Hop is in direct relation to our nation’s first black president. This episode covers the growth of not only the music but also the culture from 1987-1992.


Steve Stoute said it and now its time for him to continue proving it. In part two of four, the series touches on: early Hip Hop fashion, The Beatsie Boys‘ influence and how they issued a second wave of artists, the birth of The Source Magazine, and also the impact that gangsta music had on society and how it was used to illustrate the ills of the world that the culture represents.

Diddy: “One of the known designers when I was coming up in the 80s was a guy named Dapper Dan… You wasn’t nothin’ unless you had a Dapper Dan suit.” He was Harlem’s very own seamstress/designer who worked for the people. “Fashion in Harlem at the time, was determined by the hustlers,” says Dan. “Those were the most powerful guys on the corners — the most powerful guys in the community.”

With the community on Dapper Dan’s back, it wasn’t too long before the rappers began to show up. His portfolio includes: Bobby Brown, DJ EZ Rock and Rob Base, LL Cool J, The Fat Boys, Salt-N-Pepa, and “of course” Eric B. and Rakim. Dapper Dan is credited by Steve Stoute as “the guy who tanned couture fashion.”

Similar to Dapper Dan’s influence on the Hip-Hop uniform, Run-DMC’s influence paved the way for the Beastie Boys. According to Stoute, the Beastie Boys propelled Hip Hop into the suburbs. Fortunately, for the culture, the Beastie Boys were embraced by MTV “because they were white, got booked in arenas, instant gratification on radio, and were instantly big on college campuses.” Despite this, their race had no negative effect on listeners. In fact, similar to how they were introduced by Run-DMC they introduced Public Enemy to the masses ushering forth a new style of rap; political. Public enemy was prided for shedding light on many epidemics in the black community. Which leads into the birth of Gangsta Rap. Part 3 airs tonight at 11pm EST on Vh1.

-Jamaal Fisher (@jamaalfisher)