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Few centenarians are as influential as Gucci. Since its creation in 1921, the Italian label has inspired many musicians, including Foxy Brown, Amy Winehouse and Outkast. As it happens, the name "Gucci" is mentioned in some 22,705 songs! Here's a look back at the makings of this cultural phenomenon.
Turning 100 is certainly worth celebrating. For its centenary birthday, Gucci has partnered with the Italian platform Musixmatch to list all the songs in which the brand name appears. And the results span all genres, taking in jazz, psychedelic rock, Japanese punk, disco, hip-hop, Afrobeat and more. "These genres serve as the musical backdrops to a century-long journey that the Gucci brand [has made] across multiple facets of society," notes Musixmatch.
Among the songs mentioning the Italian fashion house are classics like the sultry "You Got Good Taste" that The Cramps dedicated to "all you Gucci bag carriers," or the funky "He's the Greatest Dancer," by Sister Sledge. The four singers praise the merits of a "champion of dance" who wears "the finest clothes," like Gucci.
Gucci enters the rap game
While the Italian label has earned a place in the repertoire of a diverse array of artists, it has found particular favor with some of the biggest names in hip-hop. From Cardi B to Saweetie, Future, Lil Pump and Gucci Mane... the genre's hitmakers all seem to swear by the brand's extravagant and daring looks. Yet nothing predestined Gucci to one day dress the stars of the rap and hip-hop worlds.
Initially, the brand's creations were inspired by the refinement and luxury of the equestrian world. Very quickly, they attracted a distinguished international clientele, who fell in love with this new Italian fashion house. Although Gucci's style was intended to be timeless and eternal in the beginning, things took a different turn in 2015 when Alessandro Michele became the brand's artistic director. Breaking the codes was the name of the game for the Italian designer, whose nonconformism became a real hallmark.
But rappers' fascination with Gucci is not so much linked to Alessandro Michele as to New Yorker Daniel Day, better known as Dapper Dan. In the 1980s, this Harlem tailor hijacked the logos of fashion houses to create trendy looks at lower cost. He even made Gucci-monogrammed track jackets for Eric B and Rakim, two of his first hip-hop clients.
"Gucci gang, Gucci gang, Gucci gang"
Although Dapper Dan had to close his store in 1992 under pressure from brands accusing him of counterfeiting, he helped to put Gucci on the hip-hop radar. So much so that it became a brand of choice for rappers. Lil Pump even says the word "Gucci" about 50 times in his 2018 hit, "Gucci Gang." For the journalist Calum Gordon that's not so surprising, as he suggests that the brand's ubiquity in rap music could be a matter of linguistics. "Gucci is the most name-dropped fashion brand in all of hip hop. Part of that is simply linguistic ease, its two syllables slotting into bars more easily than other labels with clunkier names. Saint Laurent is a little bit of a mouthful, as is Versace and Givenchy," he wrote in Another Man Magazine.
But it's not all about rhythm and beats. Gucci has found a place in the rap game thanks to its opulent, bold and eye-catching looks. Alessandro Michele has understood this, and has in turn created new looks for the Gucci 100 anniversary collection, paying homage to the brand's influence on the music industry and inspiring new generations to keep the legacy alive... through song.