Sneakers and hip-hop go hand-in-hand. So it’s only natural that heavy hitting sneaker companies would want to produce shoes in collab with their favorite wordsmiths. The opposite is true too — rappers are renowned for their sneaker collections and they leap at the chance to work with Nike, Adidas, Reebok, or Asics. It’s a no brainer.
Earlier this week, UK grime MC Skepta unveiled a new Air Max 97 collaboration with Nike, inspired by his travels to Morocco, and it got me to thinking: What are some of the best rapper/sneaker collaborations ever? I sat down to brainstorm a bit, and with the help of a sneakerhead buddy of mine, came up with a list of ten of the best rapper-inspired sneakers to hit the streets. Hopefully, your feet have been blessed with a pair, but if not, maybe this primer will put you up on game, so you too can “walk this way.”
Big Sean x Adidas — Metro Attitude
Big Sean first came on the scene in colorful, high-end luxury gear, so of course his Adidas-designed kicks feature bright floral accents, leather lining, gold detailing, and a snakeskin pattern paying homage to his home of Detroit (where they only rock the finest reptiles on their feet). This 2014 collaboration is hard to find now, but well worth the hunt if you can get them. In fact, the insole bears the inscription, “My dreams stopped being dreams when I turned ‘em into goals,” — which might be the only way to get your mitts on a pair of these in 2017.
Drake x Jordan Brand — Air Jordan X “OVO”
These dropped very early last year, but let’s be honest: If you don’t have a pair already, you probably aren’t getting one. Hitting with two colorways, one white and one black, the mania to scoop these reached truly unreal proportions. They launched accompanied by an apparel collection with a hooded sweatshirt, sweatpants, and more, all branded with the signature October’s Very Own owl logo and featuring The Boy’s trademark black-and-gold (or white-and-gold) aesthetic.
These were a fine example of brand synergy at its finest; Drake and Future didn’t release a song called “Jumpman” for nothing.
MF Doom x Nike — Nike Dunk SB High
You would think that the mysterious, masked MC known as MF Doom would fly under the radar of a multinational conglomerate like Nike, but back in 2007, the Swoosh’s design team was scouring the ‘net for interesting collaboration partners to give their kicks street cred. They got that in spades with these ostrich leather and 3M versions of one of their most popular silhouettes. Designed by graphic artist Frenel and featuring MF Doom’s old graffiti logo, these are a strong get for any hip-hop and/or sneaker head’s collection.