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Rap fashion grows quickly

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Livin’ large! These days, rap fashion is growing quicker than Chubb Rock’s waistline. Many of the rhymers are creating clothing — not just for themselves but for their fans, too. A grinning Marky Mark premiered his line of logo-ized cotton boxer shorts ($26 for sale at concerts) backstage at the American Music Awards by ceremoniously dropping his trousers. In his two-year-old store, IV PLAI (pronounced ”foreplay”) in Queens, N.Y., Play of Kid ‘N Play features a line of oversize denim and leather with lots of bright color blocking, like the best-selling $750 purple, green, red, and blue ”Whatever!” jacket. ”I think clothing is part of foreplay,” says Play, who went from drawing on jeans to designing garb for everyone from Salt-N-Pepa to Michael Jordan.

Public Enemy’s Chuck D is the mastermind behind Rapp Style, recession- priced, mail-order wear like the $55 official Jack Move windbreaker and ”jamm” shorts. And R&B’s Bell Biv DeVoe will soon launch BBDwear, a casual line including sweatshirts, pants, and bomber jackets.

Why the rap fashion explosion now? Explains Play, ”Like rap (music), it represents an important era in time.” And not a bad way to make a buck.