The origin of this "look" was from centuries ago. It was the intent of slave owners to demoralize the field workers by forbidding them to wear a belt as they worked in the fields or at any other rigorous job. In addition, men in prison wore their pants low when they were 'spoken for'. The other reason their pants looked like that was they were not allowed to have belts because prisoners were likely to try to commit suicide. And, saggin' pants prevents you from running.
Crack took hold of inner-city communities across the country, and young men were being sent to prison in record numbers; mainly stemming from drug-related charges. In prison these young men were indoctrinated into a new way of dress which included unintentional sagging of their pants. Prisoners wear their pants low because belts are not allowed. Belts, (and shoe strings for that matter) are considered to be at-risk items as they can (and have) been used to strangle others or oneself, or used as a weapon in fights.
When the men were released from prison they kept the look, as a means to mark oneself as someone who had been locked up and therefore had street credibility. The trend soon spread and made its way to hip hop. Gone were the fitted jeans of the early ’80s…in came sagging jeans.
During the late ’80s, the group N.W.A. brought in the era of gangsta rap, a new hip hop genre that mirrored the thoughts and reality of urban inner cities. To my knowledge and recollection, N.W.A. was the first popular hip hop group to sag their pants. Eazy E. in particular could be found in jeans that were both loose fitting and sagging slightly to reveal an upper portion of his boxers. N.W.A. was one of the pioneers who helped shepherd this style into the mainstream of urbanwear.
I think our rap leaders have a greater responsiblity in setting the right example. I know its all for show but now you got every upcoming rapper performing with their shirt off and their pants sagging. Now you are starting to see alot of rappers getting back to the tight jean look as opposed to the saggy pants. Outside of not looking cool and very uncomfortable its good to see a movement of leaders looking to change the way we represent ourselves.
Now you can actually get fined for saggin' them jeans!
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