Tanning of America

Part three of the VH1 docu-series, The Tanning of America, provides a summary of historic “tanning” moments from 1993-1999. It begins with the story of how Dr. Dre and Suge Knight found a record label home for the classic album, The Chronic.

“When Dre put on “G Thang,” it transformed my [sound] system. I never heard anything like that before” – Jimmy Iovine

When he wanted to gain a wide audience for his new artists, Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg, Jimmy Iovine went right to the largest media outlets. He pitched the “G Thang” video to MTV and got them to play it right along with rock acts. Then he got the duo on the cover of The Rolling Stone magazine. This led to suburban white kids becoming fans.

Tommy Hilfiger was one of the first designers to tap into the trends in urban fashions. He would drive home each day through Harlem and see people wearing their clothes baggy. So he began to make clothes in larger sizes. He saw that the men were sagging their pants and showing their underwear on purpose. So he plastered his logo on the front of the underwear his company sold.

“When I did that, my underwear became THE underwear of the moment.” – Tommy Hilfiger

Uptown Records and Vibe magazine represented the hip hop “feel” being used in classier ways. However, many artists still did not know how much value they had as marketers of products. They would name drop brands to brag about their rich lifestyles. Things they would wear or mention would sell out in stores right away. LL Cool J insisted on wearing his FUBU hat during a Gap commercial shoot. This led to FUBU taking off and opened the doors for other hip hop clothing lines such as Phat Farm and Rocawear.

“Everybody experiences not wanting to wait to be let into something where you kick in the door, and that’s what hip hop was about.” – Wendy Day

Watch the story unfold for yourself below.

Do you think this video summed up tanning from 1993-99?


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