Make America Crip Again - A look at the L.A. gangsta fashion styles of the 80s & 90s

Today we are going to take a deeper delve into the fashion styles of 1980s and 90s Los Angeles gang culture. A fascinating topic for fans of gangsta rap and hip-hop fashion. Like Snoop Dogg's new album says 'Let's Make America Crip Again'.

Different L.A. gang styles from the 80s

This is off the LAPD's own website: "The County and City of Los Angeles are the “gang capital” of the nation.  There are more than 450 active gangs in the City of Los Angeles. Many of these gangs have been in existence for over 50 years. These gangs have a combined membership of over 45,000 individuals."

"The County and City of Los Angeles are the “gang capital” of the nation"

Mainly there are 3 gangs known in mainstream culture the Bloods, the Crips and chicano or 'cholo' gangs. We're going to take a look at these three now. They each have their signature color. Check it out! 


The crips are a mostly african-american gang who wear the color blue to show their affiliation. They were founded in Los Angeles and have an estimated 30,000 - 35,000 members.

The set of Michael Jackson's "How You Make Me Feel" video (1987)

Michael Jackson once hung out with some crips on the set of his "How You Make Me Feel" video shoot in 1987. The hand gestures they are doing are known as 'throwing up your set' which is meant to signal their individual gang affiliation and what turf they lay claim to. In the video you can see Michael and the crip gang members chasing girls on graffiti covered streets in the inner city. 

"Michael Jackson once hung out with some crips in a video shoot"

Snoop Dogg and the Dogg Pound, also known as D.P.G.C. - Dogg Pound Gangsta Crip, will often rock gang related fashion in the color blue such as bandanas or hankerchiefs, blue Chuck's (Converse All-Stars), khaki pants and plaid shirts. 

"Snoop Dogg and the Dogg Pound will often rock gang related fashion"

Snoop Dogg and the Dogg Pound showing their colors


The Bloods also known as (OBF) original blood family are another primarily african-american Los Angeles gang. They have a estimated 20,000 to 25,000 gang members.

Some real Bloods riding in a Ford pointing a gun

"The bloods love to wear red and they like to wear apparel from sports teams that have a lot of red in their logos such as the Chicago Bulls, the San Francisco 49'ers and the Philadelphia Phillies"

Death Row CEO Suge Knight and the legendary Tupac Shakur


The infamous Death Row Records CEO Suge Knight is known for reppin his neighborhood colors on many occasions. He is from Compton and was seen in one TMZ video wearing a sweatshirt that says 'BOMPTON' a combination of the words Compton and blood. Other times Suge would wear red suits and dress shoes back in the Death Row days with his homies 2Pac and Snoop Dogg when they used to hang out in casinos and night clubs.

"Suge would wear red suits back in the Death Row days"

 Chicano Gangs

This December 11, 1988 Los Angeles Times piece claims that chicano gang members outnumber the crips and bloods combined. Wether or not that is true one thing is for sure and that is that they have a unique style of dressing. They use bandanas, plaid shirts with only the top button buttoned, khaki shorts, white knee socks. These signature chicano or 'cholo' styles are prominently featured in the 1988 L.A. gang movie 'Colors' starring Sean Penn and Robert Duvall. 

"Cholos wear plaid shirts with only the top button buttoned, khaki shorts, white knee socks"

Cholos showing their unique chicano style




  • Pigford

    As a old head (born in 71) I never thought I’d see the day Bloods & Crips would be mainstream entertainment ….back in the day rappers from LA didn’t mention their gangs (until Snoop) & now I’m seeing there’s Crips in Savannah GA. 🤷🏼‍♂️ Never say never

  • Pigford

    Well….I learned absolutely nothing from reading that.My 6 year old could’ve written that just as well & he lives in Boston,never been to LA a day in his life…keep up the goo….well keep up the work 😳

  • Normandie Kent

    The Crips and Bloods used to wear Afros and tight polyester bell bottoms with large labeled polyester shirts. They only started to dress in the style of the Cholos, in the the mid to late 90’s. There is no doubt that they got their thug culture from the Mexican American Cholo Street Gangs who had dressed like that since the 40’s to the present. To the people who say that rap culture is black culture, and that Cholos who rap are appropriating it, well the thug culture and Gangsta fashion was appropriated by black rappers from the Cholos. So get over it! Low riders and Blue and Black bandanas for North and South were worn by Mexican Americans gangsters first.

  • DP.doughboy

    lax rules!

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