Updated: Mar 27
How Did The Tactical Mask Become a Hip Hop Trend?
One of the biggest hip hop trends to emerge in the past couple of years is the tactical mask. Often referred to as a ski mask or balaclava - many artists are donning the gear in their performances, videos, and interviews.
Some are even wearing masks that are worth tens of thousands of dollars. So, where did this trend all begin? And why is it so influential in the hip hop world and beyond?
It All Started With That Kodak Black Interview
Masks in hip hop have been no stranger to the scene for decades. One of the first to wear one was MF Doom back in 1997. He wore one to personify his artistry as an enemy of the music industry - and created a cult around his ideas with the villain mask.
20 years later, rapper Kodak Black arrives in a Breakfast Club interview wearing a tactical mask - just after he was released from prison. He gave short answers under the vise of the dark balaclava, leaving interviewers perplexed at the show.
That tactical mask became defining of his style. Fans and peers across the world had a lot to talk about after the interview - debating whether it was a publicity stunt or genuine.
Whatever the case, it's arguable he was a trendsetter. The mask was adopted by many because of what it stood for. In a similar vein to MF Doom - Kodak Black protested against the industry.
What Makes The Tactical Mask a Hip Hop Trend?
Hip hop breaks many boundaries of artistry and is often seen as music of empowerment. The troubled pasts of many hip-hop artists make music of rebellion against conformity and the system.
The anonymity of the mask does not conform to any industry norms and symbolizes a rebellious nature. Many fans love the ideas that artists like Kodak Black represent and see the mask as an emblem of power.
Naturally, the tactical mask has caught on to many artists around the world. More recently, rising star Pooh Shiesty has popularized the trend again, donning it in his 'Back in Blood' video.
Pooh Shiesty Strengthened The Influence of the Tactical Mask
Pooh himself also has a troubled past like Kodak Black - both with the law and music industry. The tactical mask is more than just a style statement to this artist - and sets a trend of empowerment along with his music.
The symbol of rebellion was strengthened with the rapper wearing it in the hit 'Back in Blood' video and using it as a defining feature in public appearances going forward.
Defining How to Be Influential in Hip Hop
A hip-hop trend passes around as representative of life struggles. The tactical mask is a perfect example of the rebellion against the system that has repressed many artists globally. It's a piece that symbolizes what artistry and music are all about.
Several communities feel in line with many of the words and stories their favorite artists have to share. Any of these things that masses can relate to - symbolized in clothes, dances, gestures, and phrases can become trends.
Being a hip-hop influencer means sharing something that has meaning to many. Kodak Black and Pooh Shiesty started the tactical mask trend because of that symbolism.