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Kicks and Rhymes: 5 Decades of Hip-Hop’s Freshest Sneaker Moments

Kicks and Rhymes: 5 Decades of Hip-Hop’s Freshest Sneaker Moments

Kicks and Rhymes: 5 Decades of Hip-Hop’s Freshest Sneaker Moments

clock-circular-outline Posted August 17, 2023

We take you through our hottest Hip-Hop sneaker moments

50 Years of Hip Hop
Image Courtesy of Gordon Cowie via Unsplash

This year we celebrate 50 Years of Hip-Hop and the indelible mark that it has not only left on the rhythmic demeanour of the streets but its influence on culture and the way we express ourselves. From DJ Kool Herc’s merry-go-round heydays, the flock of B-boys down to the oversized garms, and the kicks you rocked on your feet, this harvesting of a new sound facilitated an identity that was fresh, cool, and understated.

Paying homage to the sound that has shaped 5 decades, we look at Hip-Hop’s freshest sneaker moments, whittling it down to just one legendary moment from each era, so sit back, relax, and grab a coffee as you’re about to embark on a captivating journey through the significance of sneakers in the world of Hip-Hop.


1. 1970s : The B-Boy Epidemic

B-Boys
Image Courtesy of PUMA

A soundscape of the streets and a retreat from socio-economic defeat. Through all the turmoil of Bronx city life, the resurgence of Hip-Hop was the rhythmic escape from those who love and adopted this new sound. The slinkiest of beats became the soundtrack to a community of breakdancers known as B-Boys. The latest breakthrough in dancing (‘Break dancing’) came with a new style and curtaining their feet was a sneaker brand that developed a new line of ‘neighbourhood pride’ shoes - A.K.A The Puma Suedes.

The Puma Suedes didn’t exactly come out in the ‘70s, however, it became a style emblem within the Hip-Hop ‘B-Boy’ scene. This was the first time that the brand used suede on the upper of any silhouette, pairing its traction gum rubber sole for dynamic grip, perfect for any agile movements or oscillating limbs on the dancefloor. Puma reverted the meanings of suede from being a luxury material to now becoming the armour of the streets.



2. 1980s: ‘My adidas’ Run DMC



One of the groups that took the B-Boy and Hip-Hop culture into mainstream consciousness was Run DMC. In 1986, the dynamic trio released their hit soundtrack ‘My adidas’ which featured on their third studio album ‘Raising Hell’. This homage to the German powerhouse was one accompanied by their adidas shell suits with serrated trims and fresh pair of superstars that became the main cop throughout the ‘80s. Run DMC also received an official $1.8 million endorsement from adidas - the first-ever deal between a Hip-Hop group and a leading sportswear label- and secured their very own ‘My adidas’ tour in 1988.

3. 1990s :The Notorious B.I.G Hypnotizes you with his Timberlands

The ‘90s were full of novelties but one boot we never thought would leave the construction sites was the Timberlands. Straying from its blue-collar roots to offer all new styles to the major key players of the New York streets, one being rapper kingpin The Notorious B.I.G. His hard rhymes in 1996 hit ‘Hypnotize’ mentions his admiration for the high-rise delivering spits like:

‘Pink gators, my Detroit players,

Timbs for my hooligans in Brooklyn’.

This subcultural expression spread like wildfire throughout the states, gracing the feet of likes of Aaliyah, Wu-Tang Clan, JAY-Z, Tupac and Nas - just to name a few.


4. 2000s: It’s getting Hot in Herre with Nelly’s, ‘Air Force Ones’



The noughties cued a new millennium and this came with a new style too. The white-on-white Air Force 1s (A.K.A The Uptowns) became a city grail all around the world. Its simple, understated design became the underbelly of the street culture and if you didn’t have a pair you certainly wanted to get your hands on some. Celebrating the icon’s 20th anniversary, Nelly dropped the tune ‘Air Force 1’s’ in 2002 as a homage to one of his favourite shoes of all time. This hit reached number 3 on the US Billboard Charts and even snagged Air Force 1 as an official sponsor for his 2002 Nellyville tour.


5. 2020s: Don’t step on Lil Baby’s Air Jordan 11s



Now you wouldn’t really put Lil Baby and R&B in the same sentence, however, his 2020 hit ‘Live off my Closet’ gives us a small inkling into the lavish life of the trap rapper and his mentioning of the ‘Jordan 11’s’ certainly didn’t go unnoticed. Although his brand list expands longer than the British coastline the specific mentioning ‘Jordan 11’s (leven)’ is enough evidence that we need to know that the music mogul is a fan of this court-inspired design. I mean, they are an MJ favourite too and who wouldn’t wanna follow in his footsteps?



COMPETITION TIME !

Now that you have brushed up on your music-sneaker knowledge it's time to put your listening skills to the test!

To further celebrate 50 years in Hip-Hop, we are giving away a pair of Run DMC Superstars! To be in with a chance of winning, comment on the blog how many sneaker brands that Raekwon mentions in his 1999 hit song ‘Sneakers’ below.


Make sure you include :

1. Your Entry Answer

2. Full Name

3. Instagram Handle ( Our winner will be contacted through Instagram DM)

The winner will be selected on Thursday 31st August 2023 - Good Luck!


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