Hip-hop and Nike Air Force 1s have gone hand-in-hand forever. For the next Archive DNA instalment on the Patta blog, we look in detail at the coveted VIBE Magazine’s Nike Air Force 1 hyperstrike release from 2003.
One shoe that’s forever been synonymous with hip-hop is the Nike Air Force 1. Debuting in 1982 during the genre’s infancy, the timeless designed shoe by Bruce Kilgore — it being his first basketball shoe, followed by other court shoes as well as the Air Jordan 2 — was named after the President of America’s private plane.
Basketball player, Moses Malone, famously wore the AF1 in white and red during his 1983 championship run with the Philadelphia 76ers and from that point forward, the streets took the shoe to new heights. Having always been an affordable sneaker, around $50-70 USD in the 2000s, and there were an absurd amount of style variations available then, it meant you could have a sweet and varied collection of AF1s for any occasion.
The sneaker’s been a long-standing staple for a slew of hip-hop artists. Jay-Z’s cited the shoe in his lyrics. Dr Dre has a shoe closet of only crispy white AF1s approximately 1,000 pairs according to The Game. He’s gone on to say, “If you don't know nothing about Dr Dre, what you need to know is that he wears Air Force 1s to this day, every single day. A fresh white pair, every day. Brand new. A pair of Air Force 1s to Dr. Dre is [like] socks. When he take ’em off, they’re a wrap.”
Stomping in his Air Force 1s from day and always copping two pairs, Nelly dedicated a song to the very shoe. Both Fat Joe and DJ Clark Kent have been documented showcasing their ridiculous collection of the very model, as well as many others. The streets and hip-hop’s co-sign for the shoe gave it its presidential status.
To mark the 10 year anniversary of VIBE Magazine, the original hip-hop print publication founded in September 1993 by legendary black record producer, Quincy Jones and Time Inc. — and their 2003 awards show, Nike produced a limited run of Air Force 1s for the occasion. Being a Hyperstrike release — rumoured to be only 25 pairs in existence — it was given to employees and close friends of the magazine. Not only is this an elusive colourway, but it being a limited release, naturally it became even more desirable.
Designed by the then-Art Director of VIBE, Raul Riveria, he drew inspiration for the shoe’s striking colourway from the magazine’s premier issue’s black and white cover front cover. Referencing the pink type headline of the black and white cover is on the heel which signs off the magazine’s title.
A special touch to the shoe is its double-sided hangtag. One side features VIBE Magazine’s 10 year anniversary cover featuring two of hip-hop’s biggest heavyweights and infamous adversaries, Notorious BIG and Tupac. The other is of the publication’s very first issue cover image, rapper Treach of Naughty by Nature.
Continuing the tradition of collaboration between hip-hop and the AF1 in recent years, we’ve seen Jay-Z’s Roc-A-Fella, Korean rapper G-Dragon and particularly Travis Scott with a string of wildly successful drops since 2017. Who could be next?
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