ABSTRACT

This chapter examines the gangsta rapper as a form of masculine style of rebellion and resistance beginning with the zoot suit as the progenitor of early gangsta fashion. Traumatic events experienced on a mass scale evolve into historical symbols, metamorphosing into innumerable aspects of culture, both at the time and into the future. 'Merging' is a concept that is crucial here, as it underscores the way in which music, poetry, linguistic expression, diction, gesture, and clothing all conspired to create character. Including notions and language into the equation also serves to emphasise how the zoot-suiter and later the hip-hop and gangsta identities cannot be described as conventional dressing up. Yet gangsta style pushes presumptions and prejudices of race back on the audience, while also being sure that it is of a kind that is displaced from white traditions of fashion and appearance.