Rapstar Style feat. TYGA

February 10th, 2014

Whether you’re a fan of rap music or not, there’s no denying the influence that hip-hop artists have on today’s popular culture. Rappers are, without question, among the most influential of the “cool kids“.

The other day we met up with Young Money’s TYGA in his hometown of LA to chat about personal style, rappers wearing high-fashion, and the importance of staying true to yourself. If you aren’t familiar with Tyga’s music…where have you been? We’ve spent many late nights rocking out to hits like Rack City and Faded (which has over 40Million views on YouTube).

TYGA, who’s real name is Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson, is actually a really down-to-earth, well-spoken young guy. Especially considering the absolutely ridiculous rapstar lifestyle he’s living… He rolled up to our shoot in a convertible Maybach with an escort of black SUV’s holding his enormous body guards, managers, and PR team. To get ready for the shoot he opens the trunk and has his muscle pull out an oversized Louis Vuitton duffle bag and several other pieces of high-end luggage, all full of European designer pieces from houses like Balenciaga, Balmain, Margiela, Versace, Givenchy, etc. We’re talking the best clothes money can buy.

He typically wears European designer (which fits his skinny frame quite well) and mixes it with pieces from his new streetwear brand Last Kings to create a look (and brand) that is all his own. And, of course, as a public figure he fully understands the importance of the image he’s presenting to his fans and the rest of the world.

“Style is an important part of my identity. I express myself through my style just like I do through my music. So it all has to make sense. I can’t be talking about the things I talk about and then have people catch me on the street wearing some bummy clothes. Even if I’m going to 7-11, I treat it like a red carpet.”

Here’s three looks from TYGA’s incredible wardrobe, along with some of his philosophies on personal style.

    1. King Sh-t


    “I’ve always been into [high-end designer clothes]. Even before I was really rapping I was up on it. I think it’s an aspirational thing. At least for me it is. I grew up hearing about these brands and they seemed almost majestic. Now as a person in the public eye, i feel like it’s almost my responsibility to carry myself a certain way. That’s even why I call my brand Last Kings. It’s like we’re the young royalty of modern times. I want my fans to be able to feel that too.”


    “I think people like Kanye have really influenced a lot of rappers and athletes to get put on to the whole fashion show game. If you’re really into it, it’s cool. It’s always good to expand what you know and expose yourself to new things. There are some people who are just there to be seen and don’t really care about whats going on though. People just need to be themselves. Not everyone needs to be at fashion week.”


    The classic 6″ Timbs are a staple in rap culture. They’re also back in a big way (more on that soon).

    TYGA had his classic Nubucks customized by a local artist as a metaphor for the current crossover between hip-hop and designer fashion labels.


    2. Be Yourself


    “Some of my favorite brands right now are Balmain – especially for the denim. I really like the way they are cut. Givenchy has some crazy pieces. Versace is obviously super popular in the mainstream right now, but I’ve been wearing them forever. When it comes to streetwear I have to say my brand Last Kings is killing it. Then you got Been Trill and guys like that who are dope.”


    What you know about the double-breasted band collar shirt?


    On developing your own style and image as an artist:

    “Just be yourself. At the end of the day you have to be comfortable in what you’re wearing. If the vibe isn’t right it will come across in whatever you’re doing. What might work for one artist might not work for another so find your own niche. But the look should fit the music.”


    • Hat by Last Kings
    • Shirt by Balmain
    • Jeans by Balmain
    • Sneakers by Balenciaga
    • Jewelry by Emmith The Jeweler
    3. Grind To Shine

    Being a famous rapper doesn’t come from luck. Just like any other profession, being successful requires relentless hard work and dedication. TYGA never stops. On the day we linked up, we were his third photo shoot of the day. While he were shooting him he was overseeing the renovations of his new store location on Melrose (and having his assistant make phone calls to find two pythons for the glass-covered snakepit – the finishing touch for the Egyptian King themed store).  Immediately after we snapped the last photo he was back in the Maybach off to a radio interview, followed by a sold out live show, then a late night in the studio (when he does most of his recording).

    There’s no secret. You want to make it? You have to be willing to grind.


    On the projects he’s balancing and what to expect from TYGA in 2014:

    “I have the Last Kings line which is growing every day and now we’re opening our flagship store on Melrose in a couple weeks, so that’s big. But I’ve really been focusing on the music lately. Lots of new projects in the works. We have the Young Money album coming out in a few months, then my next album, and working on ‘Fan of a Fan 2’ with Chris Brown..lots of stuff. It’s going to be a big year.”


    • Hat by Last Kings
    • Jacket by Givenchy
    • T-shirt by Last Kings
    • Jewelry by Emmith The Jeweler
    • Jeans by Balmain
    • Sneakers by Margiela

    Thanks, as always, for reading and special thanks to TYGA for participating.

    Great new content coming up!


    Yours in style,

    Articles of Style


    Photography by Alex Crawford

    • http://unseenflirtspoetry.wordpress.com Unseen Flirtations

      Far too much of a punk to claim king (and yes, I do mean ‘punk’ in the most derogatory way possible).

      ps: “All hiphop is not created equal.”

    • Thomas

      Shoes in Look #2 — what are they??

      • Thomas

        NVM—I see now.

    • Brandon

      I had no idea who he was until I saw the preview pic on Instagram…so “Where have I been?” living in Asia…I don’t have a clue as to what goes on in the American music scene anymore.

    • http://twitter.com/tdouble_u Trey

      “not down-to-earth”
      “the worst of America’s consumer culture”
      “0 originality”

      Christ, the comment section of this post is spilling over with respectability politics and cultural hegemony, man. It’s the same type of reactions every time there’s an inkling of street wear featured on the site.

      A while back, I read that clothes give us the “the power to be empathetic towards others’ decisions. To understand that the truth as seen through our eyes isn’t absolute, it’s reflective of our values. And that other people may have different inputs and may come to different conclusions.”

      Preeeetty obvious by these visceral reactions that you all don’t agree with Tyga’s clothing choices but, for me at least, it’s refreshing to see a post like this every now and then. If for NOTHIN’ else but to serve as a reminder that style is NOT monolithic. Good grief.

    • MS

      I think part of what people here respond to, which may or not be culture and/or race driven, is just the excessive displays of wealth.

      This website in and of itself sends a very mixed message. If it’s simply about aesthetics, then yeah, I get why a piece on TYGA makes sense. But if it’s about fashion as a modus of being a “gentleman”, then I think pieces like this seem hypocritical, to a point. I don’t know this, man, clearly, but it doesn’t prevent me from having the common sense to suggest that a person who values wealth over humility and generosity isn’t someone with style, he’s simply someone who can afford to buy taste. A very different paradigm.

    • ikenna

      you guys definitely lost points with this one

    • Brent Kuz

      Who’s buying some last kings gear?

    • KR-Ireland

      Loved this post. As a long-time reader, it’s really great to see how big TSB has become. However, I just wanted bring up one issue:

      I think the writing that, “TYGA … is actually a really down-to-earth, well-spoken young guy,” implies surprise at the fact that TYGA would be well-spoken–that perhaps readers might not expect him to be articulate. This of course brings to mind Kendrick Lamar accusing GQ of racist overtones when their journalist expressing surprise at his “discipline.”

      To be fair, I don’t think TSB crossed any line, but I do think that line is toeing it.

      • JoeFromTexas

        It’s a fair point and I picked up on it too, but I didn’t bring it up because I gave TSB the benefit of the doubt. I think it was probably just an unfortunate choice of words. I remember presidential candidate Biden made a stir by saying something similar about Obama being articulate. Hopefully they’ve put their differences behind them.

    • Kevin from NJ

      Hey if you’re looking to dress like a kid here’s all the inspiration you need. I’d love to see a post featuring Dan in these duds.

    • J.M.

      I like the article simply because of the firestorm and differences of opinions it’s brought about. Whether you agree or disagree it’s always great to feel passionately about something style wise. Great idea guys.

      • WideEyesTWBlog

        Best comment I’ve seen today. Well said, my man.

    • Michael

      Definitely a post for the younger readers of this site! As one of them, I think that TSB is all about showcasing different styles and to give inspiration for readers and this certainly shows off a different style from any other article so far (except perhaps Wes’ brother’s article, which I loved).
      The second look here is my favourite because it is a relatively simple outfit (white shirt, dark jeans, leather shoes) but it makes use of details to make the outfit personalised.

    • Rockauthor

      All these negative comments do more to mark the target demographic of TSB than they say anything substantive about what TYGA is doing wrong.

      I come to this site all the time and rarely see so much hating on a style. Hats off to Dan and TSB as they often push their readers to think beyond WASP. As they’ve done here. As hip hop keeps doing.

      Thx for the effort, Dan. Keep it up! Your audience will grow and change for the better.

      • Guest

        Your comment doesn’t make sense. If everyone with a negative comment is the target market of TSB, (as in the group of readers TSB is trying to appeal to because they make up the largest readership) and if the target market is upse,t that means TSB screwed up.

      • JoeFromTexas

        This isn’t the first time that streetwear and/or hip-hop influenced wear has been showcased on TSB. The comments on those features were not as negative as these…

        Also, there have been some, what you might call “WASPy”, styles that have been panned pretty hard in the comments section.

      • Olerud_4_Life

        Yea but one thing Dan pointed out at were the fads that will probably fall off in 2014 (or some similar article like that). I think this was a way to expand into a culture that could get this site more exposure to a broader audience, which i cant be mad at, but I just have to disagree with when it comes to guys like this. These guys can travel abroad to places like Congo and study the trends of the the Sapeurs. Or out to Japan, Southern India, netherlands, Australia, etc, and expose us to fashions overseas before they get watered down after some fashion shows and commoditized through some major brand or some shallow collabs. Not saying that they arent (and I hope they are), but that would be truly pushing the readers to think about fashion in another perspective, one that is outside the realm of manufactured trends.

    • JIM

      Tyga has style, but I’ve seen individuals highlighted by TSB that has MORE style and does so with less cheese. I’m a fan of Tyga’s music. His style, not so much.

    • http://whentowear.tumblr.com/ WhenToWear

      Always a grind when I have to hop into my $2.2 million car and drive to a radio station to talk about myself for a few minutes. Then head on over and sing/rap/lip synch to a crowd of people cheering my name. Afterwards grab a burger, maybe a drink and some girls. Life is tough man.

    • Guest

      Always a grind when I have to hop into my $2.2 million car and drive to a radio station to talk about myself for a few minutes. Then head on over and sing/rap/lip synch to a crowd of people cheering my name. Afterwards grab a burger, maybe a drink and some girls. Life is tough man. http://slumz.boxden.com/f87/tyga-drops-2-2-million-2014-convertible-maybach-62-s-landaulet-2023449/

    • JM

      This is the most contradictory feature on this site. How is “Rapstar Style” his personal style when every single Rapstar is dressed almost identical. Rapstars are the very definition of Fashion Victim, all the money in the world and they spend it so they can be dressed head to toe in one or two designer labels. I get it, you can’t just show guys who dress in suits all the time but nothing about his “style” is relatable.

    • TO

      I really like the double-breasted band collar (bib?) shirt. It reminds me the type of shirt/jacket a chef wears- which I always thought was kind of a cool top, but knew it would only work out of context if used as inspiration and not used literally, which has actually happened in this case. Like the Balmain biker jeans too, hard to go wrong there, esp. with a slimmer frame.

    • Drew Middleton

      Bad bad bad please no more articles like this or the Jay Gagnon stuff. People come to this site to get inspiration for how they’re gonna dress, and no one wants to look like either of those. They’re two examples of extreme fringe that aren’t going to inspire your average reader

    • Olerud_4_Life

      Ugh. First bad article/feature Ive seen on this site. You guys do a great job of featuring clashes of styles that arent forced fed by a publicist who is 6 months behind on a trend (givenchy dog shirts, leather sweats, dookie chains). I wont get into a discussion on this guys crappy music, but his style is the uniform for the rapper who magically appears on tv, is somewhat relevant, but doesnt appeal musically to anyone and on the other commercial actually doesnt sell albums. The timb label thing is tacky. The plaid shirt just looks corny, and he just looks gimmicky. Guys like this actually make me despise certain brands unconsciously. I mean cmon, DIOR on a timbs boot. Are we putting graffiti and eyes on our new era caps again?

      PS This guy is just another poser. He visited a club in BK (not Williamsburg) and was scared out of his mind and did a horrible performance. My brother and his friends, who are in the music scene, tell me this guy is purely gimmick/joke status. Apologies if it seems like im hating, but i cant stand what this guy does musically or fashion wise. Please replace this article with someone interesting thats blending fashions in an interesting, unforced manner.

      • Richard

        I like the part where you apologized for hating. Because the apology was due. Now listen, when you hear “high fashion” its all about the brand. No further explanations needed on that one.

        While I would not wear a timbs with Dior and sh*t plastered all over it, its easy to see motive in all his looks. Well, thats if your jugdement is not all clouded with hate. I see a well spoken down-to-earth guy, yes! Even if he shows up in a Maybach, who genuinely understands his style and pushes the frontiers of ‘HIS’ game. If you don’t see these, go back, relax, think about style and re-read the post.

        • Olerud_4_Life

          I dont think I am truly hating on the guy. Hate would just be unsubstantiated anger toward someone; I think he is truly untalented and unable to move away from trend chasing with “top brands.” The labels dont make the fashion, its what you do with them. Thats why the guy who had the EBAY article (cant remember his name) was so memorable. He made creative, interesting, and IMHO, some of the better outfits together on his site for less than maybe $150-$200 on the total outfit. TYGA on the other hand maybe have spent $10000 on his outfit in total, but its doesnt exude originality or creativity, or wit, or anything about his personality besides the fact that hes a part of a fashion trend in rap thats a few pegs behind everyone else. My judgment isnt clouded by hate; im being true to what many people feel. His look is tacky and follows what other rappers are doing. I love when people try to play coy and do the devil advocate thing and make it seem like theres somethign personal or deep to his fashion when he did the same trend chasing type of outfits on an MTV pilot show he did years ago (wore the same tired street hood wear that was popular at the time). Theres really nothing personal to ones style when all you do is trend chase.

        • Robert

          “High fashion” relates to the garmet, not the label. The house creates the market, not vice versa. The problem lies when a specialty piece gets diluted to the point where a specific group makes it look like a uniform. However, they try to pass as being unique. Long gone are the days of the Slick Rick, who truly had a look all his own in the entertainment business. The fact is, these artists/athletes are just being used for free publicity to push $700 t-shirts and $2000 jeans. They have 0 originality.

          • Olerud_4_Life

            Goodness. Slick Rick. THats a street wear icon, and i wouldnt dare rock most of the stuff he wears. But he was interesting and original, and one of the best of all time.

      • Matt M

        Not a surprise seeing as he grew up in the Valley and not Compton like he reps. Having Range Rovers and Mercedes growing up doesn’t give you street cred so he created a persona to give himself one.


    • Ian K

      My favorite look? What Kanye is sporting in the Instagram photo standing on the hood of the car.

    • LouCaves


      Maybe with his style influence, we’ll see less exposed underwear and belts around actual waists.

      Thanks, TSB.

    • Dave Coakley

      Arf! You Americans!

      • http://tsbmen.com/ Alex Crawford


    • L.A.B.

      Props for him doing his thing. He is a brand in and of himself as he is signed to a major label record deal. I guess I am at a point in my personal style that statements are made by the inter play between colors and textures. How can such expensive clothes look so boring? I cant afford this stuff regardless but this piece re-enforced the best thing about fashion. Fashion is personal and one must be fearless in expressing oneself.

      • Robert

        You’re all over the map with this comment: “props for doing his thing,” “how can such expensive clothes look so boring,”this piece reinforces the best thing about fashion.” What exactly are you getting at? And what part does your style come into this? Just asking…

    • 28Niche

      I like the selection here. It shows a good variation the standard articles for the site. The shirt in Look #2 is pretty awesome. I love the half button with no collar. Well done on the selection!

    • AK

      I agree with most of what people here have been saying. Timbs with designer logos scrawled on them represent the worst of American consumer culture, in my opinion.

    • Ali Naaseh

      Like a lot of other readers have mentioned, this type of streetwear does very little for me. It’s not down to earth, it’s not subtle, and it’s completely brand-driven. TYGA reminds me of some of the TSB features who wear suspenders, vintage selvedge Levi 501s, pastel shirts, $600 AE shoes, and a bunch of their dad’s jewelry.

      They’re both the extreme ends of fashion and style: stuff normal, everyday readers like me would never wear. That’s why a lot of guys (including me) are gonna hate on TYGA for being a little “out there” — same as they’ll hate on Gooch or that Mike Davis guy. That being said, I think a lot of us have to remember that they’re just that: extremes. I’ll pull subtle inspiration from the vintage hounds just as I would from TYGA. But since most of us readers are everyday guys, our expressions will by far less extravagant than the guys on the outer edges of style.

    • Robert

      I like how every rapper…and most athletes nowadays are all about the “I’m just being myself, I’m different approach,” to their personal style. No offense, I know TYGA could not care any less, but he looks like the “ok, you’re a famous, in your own genre, artist” here is your rapper-issued street uniform fully equipped with all the aforementioned brands. Nothing here speaks to being himself, he even in not-so-many words confirms this by saying he dresses up as if he’s on the red carpet just to go to 7-11. None of this post speaks to being real, or down-to-earth as you mention at the start of the article. He’s a dumbdowned version of Pusha-T.

      • Norman

        I think this speaks to a bigger conversation about big brand and celebrity promotions. Nobody says anything when someone like Jonah Hill hawks Tom Ford because it’s considered traditional menswear, but everybody gets their panties in a knot when the same thing happens with street wear…or is it us black people?
        It would be an inaccurate portrayal of mens style to not showcase casual street wear on the same level as mens tailored wear, given how prominent urban style has become.

        • Loscv29

          I agree that all aspects of men’s style should be represented. But Tyga is coming of as a huge brand-whore, with regard for little else BUT brand. The Tims just reinforce that. Paying outrageous amounts of money to look like you DIDN’T spend outrageous amounts of money just seems kinda dumb.

        • Olerud_4_Life

          Interesting enough the fashion world has invaded said hip hop culture to the point that originality and creativity are fading, and now its largely fad chasing. Also, theres a disconnect between traditional “hood wear” and hype beast street wear. The two have been divided for some time.

        • Robert

          You’re point would have merit if it made sense. Jonah Hill “hawks” Tom Ford(TF)? Is he an endorsed celebrity for the brand? I was unaware, however, if he wears clothing by TF, it would take someone at moderate length to figure out exactly what he’s wearing…it’s not like TF has giant rottweilers, sharks, and stars all over his clothing. And it’s not as if EVERY overweight comedic actor is wearing TF either. The subject at hand has no relevance to your retort, and kill the race baiting, Justin Beiber, Macklemore (to an extent), Jared Leto, and now Scott Disick alll get killed by blog/website followingg critics. While the same critics, typically praise Pharrell for his personal style even though that Mountain hat drew crazy negative feedback.

          What it comes down to is simple, rappers/athletes are diluting “high fashion” labels almost strictly for the houses to make a quick buck, and a year later you’re looking in your closet asking why you bought a $700 tee shirt with a dog on it. The only thing TYGA has that is unique to him are the tats..even that is becoming watered down.

          This was all-in-all just another celeb feature, reminding me of Uncle Rush, great get, outside of the stardom, no content to write home about. It is what it is.

    • JoeFromTexas

      “He rolled up to our shoot in aconvertible Maybach with an escort of black SUV’s holding his enormous body guards, managers, and PR team. …[he] has his muscle pull out an oversized Louis Vuitton duffle bag and several other pieces of high-end luggage, all full of European designer pieces”

      I’m pretty sure that’s the dictionary definition of what it means to NOT be “down-to-earth”, and the first photo is the illustration that goes with it. Let’s be honest, this guy works hard to portray a not-down-to-earth lifestyle. And that’s fine, that’s the product he’s hawking and it doesn’t look like he’s got any problem finding buyers. And that fits into what TSBmen is all about, how to portray an image that is yourself, confident, and a projection of who you are. He does exactly that, however unrelatable to some that it may be.

    • cam

      nice feature dan. tyga could at least give a shout out to his stylist

    • Shawn

      While I understand the need to feature menswear in all of it’s forms, and I appreciate the young man’s effort, I must say that these looks do nothing for me. I’ve never been a fan of these “pop/R’n’B/rap star” looks, no matter how “fashionable” or expensive the brands they wear might be, just look at Justin Bieber. But I gotta admit that the guy owns his clothes.