Rahimah Yoba: Custom Designer for USA’s Undercover: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.

Rahimah Yoba: Custom Designer for USA’s Undercover: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.

Rahimah Yoba: Custom Designer for USA’s Undercover: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.

By Darralynn Hutson

On February 27th, USA Network will air a scripted ten-part series of the true hot crime drama Undercover: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G.; starring Bokeem Woodbine as Officer Daryn Dupree, Wavvy Jones, as Notorious BIG, Luke James as Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, Aisha Hinds as Voletta Wallace and Marcc Rose as Tupac Shakur. The woman responsible for clothing these individual characters is Rahimah Yoba. Born and raised in Spanish Harlem and the brother of film and TV veteran Malik Yoba, Rahimah, began her film career as a Production Assistant on the same show that made her brother a household name, New York Undercover, in the mid-90s. “I didn’t start as a designer like most other costume designers, I started as an assistant, but ended up working in the wardrobe department. It was the beginning of my career in wardrobe,” remembers Rahimah. “You want to know the truth about what happened with this project? The truth is that the costume designer couldn't handle the responsibility of the show. She quit and was leaving when an unexpected blessing fell in my lap. It was the biggest challenge I’ve ever had in my life.”

Ramimah, 44, has worked as Costume Designer for such known films as Illegal Tender {starring Rick Gonzalez and Diana Ramirez}, You Got Served {starring Omarion Grandberry and Marques Houston) and of course, “New York Undercover.”

Undercover: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. chronicles the two major police investigations into the separate murders of these prolific rappers and includes showrunner Anthony Hemingway, the director known for his impressive work on American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ and The Wire. Greg Kading, a former LAPD detective who worked on both investigations, wrote the best selling true crime book “Murder Rap” that served as the source material for the series. The series stars Jimmi Simpson as Detective Russell Poole, Jamie McShane as Detective Fred Miller, Brent Sexton as Detective Brian Tyndall, and Letoya Luckett as Suge Knight’s estranged wife Sharitha Golden.

Challenges included but weren’t limited to re-visiting a crime that has still gone unsolved for more than 20+ years, but also working with clothing brands that largely have gone out of business. “To be quite honest, so many of the clothes required clearance. We had to recreate the style because most of the clothes were hard to find,” says Rahimah. “There were no brands really to reach out to because most of them don’t exist anymore. We had to make them from scratch. There were a lot of baggie jeans, FUBU, Ecko Unlimited, Sean John, Pelle Pelle, Phat Farm, Lugz, PNB Nation, and Coogi.” In addition to the styles and swag of the period, Undercover: The Murders of Tupac and Notorious B.I.G. will provide a new perspective to viewers that share the stories of these murders from the viewpoint of the two detectives tasked with solving them. “I like doing period pieces because I love to recreate what was; being able to create from true history. I was blown away with how much information we didn’t know about Tupac and Biggie. The movie is told from the cops who tried to solve the murder over ten years after their murders. It’s a true-crime drama with lots of flashbacks to 1993. There was a tremendous amount of work required for this project.”

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