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High Top Hair Fades

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Back To The Seventies And Eighties

High top hair fades take us back to the 70s and 80s. Whether you are looking into a style that has a certain amount of connection to the past, but was seen recently enough that wearing it will still cause nods of recognition, one of the styles that you can take a look at is the high top fade.

The high top fade, which is also seen as the hi flat top is a style that has bounced in and out of popularity, and it is still possible to see young African American men, especially in the hip hop scene, sporting it. This is a very distinctive style, and it is a look that, for quite a while, was quite common. The basic concept of the high top fade is that the hair on the sides and back of the head are shaved or nearly so, and the hair on the top of the head is grown long.

This creates a very razor sharp appearance, and this, combined with its popularity during the late eighties and early nineties, won it a place as one of the signature hairstyles of the Golden Era of Hip Hop. The high top fade was a large favorite of young men between 1986 until 1993, and even saw a brief revival in 1995 and 1996.

The high top fade was first brought to the public's attention through Schooly D and Doug E. Fresh. Though these examples essentially captured the concept of the high flat top, with the short or shaved sides combined with the long hair on top, when people think of this hair style, they typically refer to the Tramp video by Salt-N-Pepa, which saw circulation around 1987.

High Top Hair Fades The Gumby Hairstyle

mens-high-top-hair-jermaine-jacksonThe style that was popularized by dancers of the Salt-N-Pepa music was a great deal less shaggy than the styles of Schooly D and Doug E. Fresh and it had a very geometric precision to the way that it was cut. Both African American males and Puerto Rican males started following the high top fad trend nearing the end of the eighties, and it this point, the hairstyle was definitely starting to take on a life of its own.

The hair that was worn was growing longer on top and even more precisely sculpted along the bottom. Some young men would even shave symbols into their hair, or give it very definite shape or meaning. The style also spawned a few interesting variations.

For instance, the "gumby" appeared, which was a high top fade that had a definite tilted shape; with one side of the hair definitely taller than the other, this was in direct imitation of the Gumby claymation cartoon character. Similarly, you could see Reagan fades, which would divide the hair up in to segments while maintaining the basic uneven quality of the sides, as found in the gumby.

Many young men wore this hair style as a sign of youth, rebellion and identification with the hip hop culture, but this is a look that is seldom seen today. Whether you want one yourself or simply curious, make sure you take a look at the high top fade that was such an important part of the hip-hop scene. Enjoy, High Top Hair Fades


Cool, before his time, Johnny Unitus in Flat High Top

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Updated June 17, 2011

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