Sometimes, all it takes is a poorly-sourced quote from a dubious outlet on social media to spark all-out war on the timeline. That’s exactly what happened today when ASAP Rocky and Nelly trended alongside “Air Force 1” as fans debated which of the two rappers was more responsible for helping to make Nike’s summertime staple one of the companies best-selling models of all time.
When the hip-hop blog Kollege Kidd posted an unsourced ASAP Rocky quote claiming responsibility for the trend — likely taken from a town hall that the rapper participated in, in which he calls Air Force 1s “wack sneakers” and says that he wore them just to see if he could spark interest in them. He comments on the number of designers that borrowed looks from him and ASAP Mob around 2011, saying as soon as people “started wearing them again, I stopped wearing them.”
ASAP Rocky Says He’s The Reason Everyone Wears Air Force Ones pic.twitter.com/iafJ7dnJ6E
— Kollege Kidd (@KollegeKidd) April 22, 2020
However, for a certain class of hip-hop head, this contradicts the established history of the sneaker, which was the subject of Nelly and the St. Lunatics’ 2002 single paying homage to the Nike classic. “Air Force Ones” peaked at No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 and very likely sparked a wave of interest in the shoe, which at the time were already one of Nike’s best-selling models.
This discrepancy naturally sparked yet another intergenerational battle on Twitter, as elder members of the millennial generation went to bat against their younger peers and Gen Z-ers to set the record straight, while younger fans backed up Rocky’s assertion. Meanwhile, still others joined in to point out the enduring popularity of the classic silhouette. One thing is for sure, though — the shoes are enough of a cultural linchpin that they are still capable of captivating the attention of fans across multiple generations and regions.
Check out some of the responses below.
Nelly the reason them hoes ain’t $55 no more. https://t.co/I1JiexSQIM
— Jay Boogie 🌊🍁 (@theejayboogie) April 22, 2020
Nelly still gets free Air Force ones from Nike for a song he dropped in 2002 https://t.co/9YjoMwjNSj
— 8 24 (@MikeSceezie) April 22, 2020
NELLY + THE ST LUNATICS DID NOT STOMP IN THEIR AUURR FORCE ONES TO BE DISRESPECTED LIKE THIS https://t.co/mWVstTyw0u
— TheDawn 💜💛 (@RebekaDawn) April 22, 2020
Respectfully, rocky and Nelly are homies.But we have BEEN doing them out here.And I would venture to say that us doing them as far back we did is reason why we got a song about them needing 2 purr in the Midwest. STYLES TRAVEL. Hov didn’t “baby suit, white Nike her”for this.🤦🏽♂️
— Crime Rhyme Houdini (@JustBlaze) April 23, 2020
Y’all was wearing forces BECAUSE of Nelly?
— Thelonious Martin™ (@KingThelonious) April 23, 2020
Today I learned that there are people who seriously believe that it was Nelly who made AF1s a THING.
— Rob Markman 💭 (@RobMarkman) April 23, 2020
Now if we wanna give Nelly credit for something, it’s prolly this lol https://t.co/jP2L25atiW
— Low (@LowKeyUHTN) April 23, 2020
So now everyone was rocking AF1’s before Nelly’s song????? pic.twitter.com/g8BULmMtnO
— BEAN 🏁🏁🏁 (@MGRADS) April 23, 2020
Air Force never really went out, but I’m not go lie Chief keef Put niggas back on forces then Gherbo just put the icing on the cake https://t.co/wndWW8Fl9I
— BMB Ambassador💂🏾♀️💸 (@GovernorOsama) April 23, 2020
He's the reason why wyt girls wear Air Force Ones til they're creased and unrecognizable
Fixed it for you! https://t.co/eDrM4yT7cr
— Ivie Like Poison (@FrenchCreole_) April 23, 2020
I could be wrong, but on a national level, Jadakiss – not Nelly – was the first rapper I heard REALLY rapping about Air Force Ones. He rapped about them a few times on We Are The Streetz (2000) and had people losing it when he showed these in the "Knock Yourself Out" video pic.twitter.com/6ieXeXHQC5
— Andrew Barber (@fakeshoredrive) April 23, 2020
EYE KNOW when AF1’s came out & EYE know SOME OF YALL wore them, but to say they were as popular BEFORE as they were AFTER Nelly’s anthem is a flat out lie. Let’s not do this. No one was asking for 2 pair of crispy’s in 1998.
— BEAN 🏁🏁🏁 (@MGRADS) April 23, 2020
Hold heartily agree with this. I had a pair always.
Nelly did tell me I need two pairs. https://t.co/ildCSVtLOs
— Arturo Torres (@arturodraws) April 23, 2020