The intersection between sneaker culture and hip-hop runs deep. There are the popular cornerstones of the relationship, Run-D.M.C.’s “My Adidas,” Do The Right Thing, rappers love affair with Jordans, Kanye’s Yeezys. However, what if you push the relationship to its natural conclusion? For the amount of promotion, rappers do for their favorite sneaker brands we’ve rarely seen colorways based on their seminal albums.
To remedy this situation we have decided to see what it would be like to fuse popular rap albums with equally popular shoe models. Here is “Your Favorite Rap Albums As Colorways.”
The Air Jordan III is undoubtedly one of Jay-Z’s favorite models. When you think of the Jordan III it’s hard not to focus on the shoe’s versatility. The combination of sleek elephant print and supple leather provides the shoe with a versatility that can make a crisp suit pop or a jeans and shirt combo soar. This flexibility ties perfectly into Jay-Z’s own trajectory from Marcy projects hustler to international boardrooms.
The timelessness of the Air Jordan III, therefore, should be matched by Jay-Z’s enduring classic, The Blueprint.
In the last two years, Future has been on the type of run most rappers can only dream of. From the ashes of a failed relationship, Future Hendrix rose with a trio of classic mixtapes, Monster, Beast Mode, and 56 Nights, which re-asserted the musician as Atlanta’s reigning champion. The culmination of Future’s dominance came in the form of DS2.
The psychedelic turquoise and purple that adorn the upper of the Air Jordan X contrast nicely with the black base. Add in a light blue inner lining and laces with an icy sole and this Air Jordan X is worthy of the Freebandz Gang General.
Drake has never had the best album art. To some extent Drake’s art is an experiment in how fast the internet can meme-ify his latest punchline or dance move. So while Nothing Was the Same’s cover hasn’t aged well, it still would be interesting to see how it would look translated onto the Air Jordan XI.
Now cloud graphics on patent leather might be a little much, but the gum sole on the bottom is meant to ground the design. Add a black upper to the equation and you have a shoe that is just as controversial and popular as Drake himself.
The Notorious B.I.G. and the Nike Air Force 1 are quintessential New York City culture. So what better way to honor both then seeing what a Ready to Die colorway would look like on one of New York’s favorite silhouettes?
Black, white and red is a deadly combination on any shoe. This belief holds true for the Nike Air Force 1 x Ready to Die colorway. The white base and black upper are subtle while the true beauty of the shoe comes with the dynamic red adorning the Swoosh, laces and inner lining.
The relationship between Eminem and Nike runs deep. Through his collaborations on the Nike Air Force 1 Low, the Air Jordan 4 Retro, and the Air Max “Charity Series,” Eminem has proven his devotion to the Swoosh. Therefore, we decided to take one of Eminem’s best album covers and see what it would look like on the Nike Air Max LTD.
The red, burgundy, orange and black colorway pops amidst the modest and straightforward model. Together the colors impress without taking away from the simplicity of the great Nike design.
Illmatic is hip-hop’s Bible. With his debut, Nas created a masterpiece detailing the effects a young and talented kid trapped in less than ideal circumstances. While the music will always be Illmatic’s lasting legacy, the album’s cover is also a seminal part of hip-hop and pop-culture landscape. The picture of a young, stoic and emotionless Nas amidst a sepia-toned New York City block ranks among the most iconic album covers of all time.
For the Air Max Uptempo we decided to put a nice tan on the upper, which contrasts beautifully with the sepia of the Nike Swoosh and outsole. Round the colorway out with black on the midsole and inner lining for a sneaker to match the legend of Nas’s best album.
What’s more mid-2000s than Bape and Mixtape-era Lil Wayne? The Bape hoodie and coat combo Wayne wore in the “Hustler Musik” video is still iconic. The Best Rapper Alive helped put Bape on the map during his meteoric rise from Hot Boy to Hip-Hop’s heir apparent. That’s why we felt it was fitting to merge what was arguably Wayne’s best mixtape – Da Drought 3 – with a classic shoe of that era.
With a primarily black upper, white Star swoosh and gradient sepia to yellow transition, we can proudly proclaim…Give this colorway to that Mixtape Weezy!
Kendrick Lamar currently ranks as one of the best lyricists in hip-hop. He arguably has a classic album under his belt, which can’t be said for the majority of his generation. However, the kid from Compton has proven that he can get stylish when he wants to. His partnership with Reebok has resulted in two highly coveted shoes that prove you can make “Good Kicks” in a “Mad City.”
For the Reebok Ventilator x Good Kid, m.A.A.d City colorway we decided to go with light blue, muted mint green, and dark blue. While the more popular album cover is one with a young Lamar surrounded by his family, the alternate cover provided more interesting colors for the collab.
808s & Heartbreak is Kanye’s most influential album. It isn’t West’s best project or most critically acclaimed, but its autotuned drenched vocals and overarching themes of sadness, desperation, and loneliness have launched more careers than perhaps any other album this decade (i.e. Drake, Future, Kid Cudi, Travis Scott, etc.).
So while West wasn’t with Adidas when he releases 808s, we still thought the futuristic minimalism of the project’s music and artwork fit perfectly with the design ethos of Kanye’s work at the 3 stripes. The light grey upper and dark green outsole are amazing, but what makes this colorway truly different is the stitched heart near the heel tab and bright red laces.
Do we really need to explain:
- Tupac and his legendary role in the movie “Juice”
- The Reebok Omni Zone Pump that Pac wore is equally legendary
- All Eyez On Me…also legendary