White Sox rebrand fueled by hip-hop

The South Side’s blue-collar, rebel-without-a-cause attitude connects directly to the no-holds-barred attitude of the streets and culture of hip-hop. The black-and-white logo of the Chicago White Sox touches both aesthetics.

The White Sox have one of the worst records in all of baseball, but the confidence and swagger of that classic old English brand surfaces whenever you don it. With the 1991 rebrand, that White Sox look grew into something just as classic as the Chicago Bulls logo/uniform of the 90’s — not only in Chicago, but globally.

We need not tell you the impact the White Sox rebrand had on hip-hop culture, with emcees not only from Chicago (Common, Twista, Naledge, Rhymefest and others) but also out to the West Coast, with the likes of Ice Cube, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Eazy-E.

Who can forget Cube first donning the hat in his Steady Mobbin video in 1991?

The late Eazy himself wore a White Sox cap several times. Dre famously wore one in the opening of his Nuthin’ but a “G” Thang video with Snoop Dogg.

Speaking of Eazy-E, who can forget the small controversy in the opening scene of the N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton when it was released in 2015. With Jason Mitchell played E but donned the current Sox cap in a scene meant for 1986, well before the Sox actually switched to the black-and-white they currently don.

The impact of the black-and-white fitted was not only fueled by great rebranding, but a talented, up-and-coming young White Sox team that won 93 games and the AL West in 1993. The roster featured young stars players like future Hall of Famer, Frank “Big Hurt” Thomas and legends such as Bo Jackson.

The logo’s swagger, confidence and fun, no-holds-barred attitude transformed into a true fashion statement that is recognized anywhere you go, by many people, from all walks of life. That’s why no matter how good or bad the actual team is, you will almost always be complemented on donning the White Sox black-and-white fitted. The look is now so iconic, it almost makes you feel like a superhero or someone important — as so many of those interviewed in the just-released Fitted in Black documentary alluded:

The White Sox rebrand will always be legendary and timeless, because of the impact it had beyond the diamond, in both hip-hop and fashion. You can hear that in hip-hop/rap songs like Young General’s “White Sox Fitted” featuring Mikkey Halsted, Twone Gabz and Lee England Jr.. And you can see it in specially-designed White Sox caps fitted by such Chicago designers as Don C.

As the saying goes, most rappers and entertainers want to be athletes, and the reverse can be said about a lot of athletes. That’s why sports and hip-hop have always been so intertwined throughout history — in no greater way than seen in the White Sox rebrand of three decades ago.

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