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Lexicon – Nikehead
For as long as any of us can remember, sneakers have been synonymous with hip-hop. It’s a perfect marriage and to this day both use one another for inspiration. Whether it was RUN-D.M.C. telling us about their Adidas or Nas’ confessions on his addiction or favorite brand, sneakers have always been prevalent within the hip-hop community. Today it’s common to hear cats like Fat Joe, Jadakiss, Rick Ross, Kanye West, Jay-Z, Bun B and T.I. to commonly reference sneakers. (Click all hyperlinks)
But out of all the sneakers, there is only one staple of the hip-hop community and that has to be the Air Jordans.
A few years back there was this preeminent documentary titled Just For Kicks. It was about the sneaker phenomena and the marriage of hip-hop. It featured the likes of Grandmaster Caz, D.M.C., Damon Dash, Bobbito Garcia & King Ad Rock spittin’ their favorite stores or dropping science on the birth of kicks like Nike Air Force Ones aka Uptowns.
It’s no secret that emcees influence many of us. It’s also no secret that those very emcees are influenced by their environment, so in essence we all play a role in this. A lot of stand in line for hours (some days) at places like Alife Rivington Club, Flight Club, Shoe Gallery or Ubiq just for the latest limited release, retro or exclusive colorway.
While sneaker companies go to great lengths at befriending rappers like Bun B, Kanye West, Fat Joe or Nelly in hopes of promoting their brands to millions, it’s ultimately us the consumers who dedicate what becomes the hot item. Because after all if it don’t make dollars it don’t make sense, right?
So next time you’re in line at Foot Locker and you happen to do a double take because you think you just saw your favorite album appear on a sneaker shirt, rest assure you’re the reason why. Jordan Brand is not run by Michael Jordan. It’s not even run by the HDIC, Gentry Humphrey, who after all is just a Jordan stan. No, It’s run by young guns scrambling to reconnect with you and take your dollars. The great MJ couldn’t name 5 A Tribe Called Quest tracks if his life depended on it. It’s the recent 20-something grad who his trying to appeal to the 30-something recovering addict. It’s not a coincidence that Jordan Brand just released 3 hip-hop related themed shirts that all happen to feature 3 bona fide classic albums covers.
So next time you pop in that Midnight Marauders album will you be rockin’ your Jordans to make the cipher complete? –Philaflava
Charles Barkley Limited Tees