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Was Lil Wayne Wearing BAPE Replicas Worth $300Ms Manufactured By NIGO Himself?

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Lil Wayne may have been caught up in the fake BAPE craze of the early 2000s thanks to NIGO, the brand’s creator.

Well, that could’ve been how it all played out circa 2006-2007, according to entrepreneur and well known jewelry designer Ben Baller. During a recent live stream conversation, Baller appeared to confirm that NIGO himself played a role in the inauthentic BAPE products, such as the infamous camouflage print hoodies that flooded the market over a decade ago.

“There’s things that I can tell you about, BAPE, that I’m not going to tell you,” Baller said. “I mean, I guess f###k it, I don’t know if you know this, but in ’06, ’07, when everyone was wearing the full zip, the hoodies, anyways, there was fakes everywhere.”

As he continued, Baller revealed that not only was Lil Wayne spotted in fake BAPE, but so was Soulja Boy, who also helped popularize the brand with his song “I Got Me Some Bapes.”

“Lil Wayne was wearing stuff,” Baller added. “Soulja Boy, this was like ’06 when it was getting crazy. Everyone was wearing BAPES instead of Air Force.”

Baller then went on to explain how NIGO may have either contributed to the cycle, and or directly fueled it himself in order to corner the lucrative replica market.

“There was fakes that were so good out there and they were coming out and it was nuts,” he said. “Shark Hoodies. So they were coming out. When I found out that Nego owned the factory that was producing the fakes, I was like, wow, you are f###### bro. He was doing $300 million in counterfeit BAPES.”

Lil Wayne’s iconic photo in the camouflage print BAPE hoodie is a defining image in both hip-hop and fashion culture. The photograph, taken by Jonathan Mannion, captures the rapper’s charismatic and rebellious spirit, cementing his status as a style icon.

The image not only highlighted Lil Wayne’s unique sense of fashion but also significantly boosted the popularity of BAPE, a Japanese streetwear brand. Lil Wayne’s endorsement of the brand through his frequent appearances in BAPE attire during the mid-2000s played a pivotal role in elevating its status among Hip-Hop artists and fans alike.

And in 2023, Wayne and his massive influence culminated in a full-circle moment via his UGG x BAPE collection released in honor of the brand’s 25th anniversary.

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Devon Jefferson

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