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Could it all be so simple? The latest fad in hip-hop fashion is the photo tee.

From Tupac to John Gotti to Al Pacino from his role in Scarface, photo tees are hard to miss across someone’s chest. Even top-notch emcees are wearing them. T.I. sports a photo tee of Jay-Z in his latest video “Bring Em Out” while Jay-Z has been seen sporting a photo tee of Biggie Smalls in his current Jay-Z and Friends tour.

These stylish tees let you speak without talking. It can be as simple as telling everyone who your favorite emcee is to paying tribute to a fallen soldier. Crystal Streets, the stylist responsible for putting Jay-Z in a Che Guevara shirt in his MTV Unplugged performance, believes artists use clothes to deliver a message. “Artists have always used their wardrobes to express themselves. For them, it’s a way to put their personal stamps on a powerful statement,” says Streets.

So where can you pick up a tee of your favorite celebrity? Not at a department store. Websites like www.rapshirts.com or stand-alone urban apparel stores like
New York’s Da Restricted Underground keep these in stock.

Will the photos wash off? No. Photos are affixed to tees using a heat transfer machine. They are generally priced around $25-$35 dollars.

So why the craze? The owner of Da Restricted Underground, believes it’s all in the photo. “The images speak to people. They capture a moment in time.”



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