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Home » Mag » Tennis headbands and hip hop: what’s the science behind this?

Antonio Sol - Tennis headbands and hip hop: what’s the science behind this?

Tennis headbands and hip hop: what’s the science behind this?

Another fashion disaster that have made hip hop history: the sweatbands

Antonio Sol 28/11/2020

Tennis headbands aren’t the first thing you think of when it comes to hip hop fashion…

..yet, as incredible as it may sound, we can definitely think of tennis headbands as yet another magic error of hip hop fashion. We’re actually facing another of those disasters that, inexplicably (or perhaps not) have become an integral part of urban music, launching questionable styles that have however left their mark.

So far we have talked about the disasters of hip hop fashion that not only have a precise (space) temporal location but in practice have passed. This time, however, we are talking about a “fashion” which, beyond being objectively bad, is still current, in some perverse and inexplicable way.

I’m talking about the use of tennis headbands and ties (always strictly white, a dogma of faith valid in 99.9999999% of cases, apart from MOPs who have safe conduct) which, periodically, return to haunt the dreams of every person of good taste.

Black tennis headbands? MOP only.

Curious because, in a paroxysmal way, on tennis players and dancers the sweatbands are not bad. Even in the fluffy Nineties, an Agassi was certainly not disgusting to see as much as, just to name a name, Necro a few decades later (ok, maybe it’s not the best example, but you know…).

A disgrace, ever since Billy Danze and Fizzy and, on the other side of New York, Erick Sermon, made them famous in their days. Let’s give Caesar what is Caesar’s: on individuals of that type (read: a disaster, even when they were – reasonably – thin), the band didn’t even seem so out of tune (with a few extra points due to the fact that for MOPs it was Fila stuff)…

Same thing for some of the Queens’ aces, like Kool G Rap and Nas. Censurable, but certainly less than the inevitable followers who have made tennis headbands absolutely unbearable. Starting with the members of the G-Unit: probably wearing (badly) the headband was a requirement to join the group, given that all five members of the “classic” formation (use the adjective “classic” for stuff dealing with Young Buck and Tony Yayo always causes me an embarrassed smile, sorry) have cemented their image with the sponge headband.

The worst of all The Game, which between the butterfly (later modified) in the face and the sweat wipe on the forehead was really bad.

Even on the Dirty Jerz front, the Newark aces were certainly not examples of elegance, between the “bohemian” look of the more explosive Tame One and a Redman who, on one occasion, even wore two crossed sweatbands (one black, even!), winning the Oscar for the crudeness of the Millennium (clearly on equal points with Nelly, the other master of cross-wraps).


After the year 2000, things continued to NOT go well, and even today, the sporadic appearances of the band are always a source of cold sweats. See the images of Drake in the Nadal version which, like all Drake iconography, after all, causes the uncontrollable hilarity that only Aubrey can give. A beaten dog dressed as a tennis player is more credible. Ditto for Frank Ocean and his mono or two-tone band.

Sweatbands in hip hop fashion: a disaster or a mistery?

And it does not matter that Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James have cleared the look (he is always very late to me, have patience). Even J-Zone, via Twitter, warned us about the dangers of the tennis headband. FACT: The rapper with the headband sucks.


With one exception: Roc Marciano in the Sacrifice video, which instead manages to make the Polo headband and bathrobe immortal. But the thing, alas, only applies to Marcy. For others, as the American disclaimers say, “DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME”.