Rappers have never been shy of co-opting sportswear. From reversing baseball caps to Run DMC rapping about Adidas and Skepta’s new tracksuit-tastic Mains clothing line, clothes originally intended for leisure pursuits have found second lives as hip-hop status symbols. Snoop Dogg now insists on wearing the jersey of a local team – sport not specified – for every show he plays, while Outkast’s André 3000 demonstrated there are few limits to what works by appearing as a jockey for no discernible reason in the Hey Ya video. Now his bandmate, Big Boi, is elevating another type of leisure: yogawear.
Recently in London to promote new album Boomiverse, the Atlanta rapper was keen to share a few style tips. “My wife got me into Lululemon recently,” he said. Pairing the yoga pants with retro Nike Air Jordans, he is equally good for spitting rhymes and adopting mountain pose. “The tops are so comfortable and breathable,” he enthused of the Canadian brand. “So I wear yoga stuff and shit.”
Big Boi has long had form for being “out there” style-wise – he once showed up at the MTV video music awards in fluffy pink mink shorts – but this new found yogi love is not the work of a lone eccentric. Rap and yoga have been getting ever closer for a while.
The Vogue-approved Y7 Studios in New York and LA specialise in hip-hop-themed yoga classes, while Def Jam founder Russell Simmons is such an advocate for the practice that he also founded the high-end Tantris yoga studio in Los Angeles, which sells its own clothing. Meanwhile, British grime rapper P Money recently became an ambassador for Lululemon and has also spoken about using yogic breathing exercises to beat nerves and improve his vocal delivery.
While the music genre might not suggest the two would be simpatico, rappers stretching into yoga seems as solid as the best chakrasana backbend – and, in many ways, yogawear is the perfect fit for a genre that has consistently prized comfort among its top stylistic requirements.