Turns out superproducer Pharrell Williams’ hat wasn’t just a fashion faux pas but was actually a nod to hip-hop history. While the rest of us were on Twitter laughing at the images of his oversized real-life re-creation of the Arby’s insignia, photoshopped atop the heads of some of our favorite celebrities, the folks over at The Cut were doing their fashion due diligence. Looks like the oversized Vivienne Westwood hat was a nod to the 1982 hip-hop video “Buffalo Girls,” by Malcolm McLaren and the World’s Famous Supreme Team.
According to the site, the original version dates back to 1844 as “Buffalo Gals” and was traditionally performed by blackface minstrel singer John “Cool White” Hodges. McLaren’s hip-hop adaptation later became an even more heavily scratched mix that was sampled for Swedish rapper and singer Neneh Cherry’s 1988 hit “Buffalo Stance,” The Cut reports.
The fashion site notes that the hat was originally made as a part of Westwood 1982-1983 collections, called “Nostalgia of Mud” and “Buffalo,” and was made and sold especially for her first store, World’s End. Like several rappers who have gone through name changes during their careers, the hat has donned several monikers, including the Buffalo Hat, the Mountain Hat and the Jelly Mould Hat.
While the singer-producer confessed to the Hollywood Reporter that the hat wasn’t vintage, he did note that “I would’ve been really stylin’ if I had one from the ’80s.”