Hockey jerseys, a ’90s hip-hop fashion trend, have returned, with their vibrant colors framing logos from lightning flashes and bears to leaves and sharks.
Some of the biggest names in music such as Snoop Dogg, J. Cole and Drake have been seen wearing NHL team jerseys. And on the cover of her No. 1 new album SOS, SZA reps her hometown in a custom St. Louis Blues jersey.
The renewed popularity of hockey jerseys in hip-hop can be traced to two factors. The first is the return of baggy clothing styles. One of the most prominent examples of this is rapper Drake, who has been seen multiple times recently courtside at Toronto Raptors games wearing extra-large clothing, harkening back to hip-hop fashion in the ’90s when skinny jeans and fitted clothing were nowhere in sight.
Jennifer Ekeleme, vice president of multicultural engagement and integration at the NHL, sees the trend as an example of a fashion cycle.
“The resurgence of things happens in a generation, which is 25 years, and I’m not surprised that the ’90s are coming back now,” she said. “The opportunity for anybody who’s an influencer or an artist who has access to eyes and attention of people can take something as auspicious as a hockey jersey and completely flip it and turn it into something culturally relevant.”
In the ’90s, it was common to see videos with rappers in hockey jerseys. Snoop Dogg wore a Pittsburgh Penguins jersey in the “Gin and Juice” video as he rode down the street on a bicycle. Craig Mack rocked the blue, black and white of the Tampa Bay Lightning in front of the Unisphere in Queens, New York, in the “Flava In Ya Ear” video. (Gudda Gudda’s bar, “Wear a hockey jersey just to hide the vest,” was on Lil Wayne’s “Grateful” in 2016.)
Dart Adams, a Boston-based journalist and rap historian, recalled being at the center of the hockey jersey movement in Boston.
“My neighborhood rap group, TDS Mob, used to rock Boston Bruins gear. They were affiliated with Boston’s premier rap crew, The Almighty RSO,” remembered Adams. “By early 1990, RSO began rocking Bruins gear, too. Jackets, hats, T-shirts and the most enduring being Bruins jerseys.”