As many around the Journal office and Siouxland have noticed, I have quite the sneaker collection.
In fact, this link will showcase evidence of this (for those of you who don’t want to click, it’s a video of me driving a tractor while rocking a pair of Spizike Big Nike’s, which closely resemble the Air Jordan I).
While I don’t spend as much on building up my collection as I did in my 20s, I’ve still managed to amass more than 100 pairs of shoes ranging from brown boat shoes to magenta colored Zebra-print Supra Vaiders.
Because of my abundance of unique footwear, I like to dress from the feet up and will usually choose my attire for the day based on what shoes I want to wear.
Although my love of fresh kicks might seem excessive to some, there is a whole culture of sneakerheads out there including a lot of prominent hip-hop artists.
This inspired me to curate a playlist for those who still go to the mall on Saturday mornings for new sneaker releases (I recommend listening through headphones).
Nelly - “Air Force Ones”
Fun fact about Nelly: I’ve met him twice and seen him live three times including last fall here in Sioux City at the Orpheum Theatre. The man has hits for days and one those hits is “Air Force Ones,” Nelly’s unofficial ode to former NBA star Rasheed Wallace, who constantly rocked a fresh pair of Forces on the court.
“Air Force Ones” is super fun and catchy song and is easy to sing-along to. Mr. Durty ENT caught some heat from people claiming this ditty to a particular sneaker was a corporate shill job, but this song hit No. 3 on Billboard, so “ha” to the haters.
RUN-DMC - “My adidas”
Sixteen years before Nelly had people crooning, “Give me two purrr,” RUN-DMC made shell toed adidas with no laces the thing to sport. This song is considered a hip-hop classic by one of the genre's most legendary acts. Also, it inspired my friends and I to dress up like '80s rappers for Halloween a few years back.
Young Jeezy - “Air Forces”
Yes, another song about the Nike Air Force One sneaker, but it’s different enough it also merits inclusion on the list. While Nelly and company gave us a wonderful light breezy tale about the shoes, Young Jeezy literally asks listeners to walk a mile in his shoes — Air Forces, of course — and let’s just say you don’t want to do that. This song pretty much is a walkthrough of Jeezy’s pre-rap life and it’s not exactly a stroll in the park.
Kanye West - “Facts (Charlie Heat version)”
This might be the first diss track directly aimed at another sneaker brand. Kanye, who has a deal with adidas and previously had a deal with Nike, takes direct aim at his former company and the Jordan brand, Nike’s biggest subsidiary. The song starts out “Yeezy, Yeezy, Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman” and from there Kanye continues to go for Nike’s jugular. Fun fact, at one time Kanye also had a deal with luxury brand Louis Vuitton and you can’t acquire a pair of those shoes for less than four digits!
Nelly - “Stepped on My J’z”
As a reporter, it is my job to tell both sides of a story, so I’m placing this other Nelly ditty about sneakers right after Kanye’s diss track since this song is a love letter to the signature brand of sneakerheads. Retro Jordans will always remain the Holy Grail of shoe collecting and this song captures that feeling. Even better, the video recreates a famous scene from Spike Lee’s “Do the Right Thing” in a which an oblivious character accidentally ruins Buggin Out's new Jordan sneakers, an unforgivable sin in life or film.
3 Deep - “Watch My Shoes
Like the previous song on this mix, “Watch My Shoes” is about respecting another person’s sneakers, a simple request really.
This will date me a bit, but this was the song that played on my MySpace page (remember MySpace?!) whenever a visitor came to check out whatever HTML hellscape I created that week.
Bonus track DJ Mustard featuring 2 Chainz, Young Jeezy and Yo Gotti - “Giuseppe”
Even though sneakers are amazing and a sign that there is still good in the world, sometimes you have to slip on something else and step out on the scene. “Giuseppe” serves as a jam to guys who like fancy Italian shoes as well as sneakers, but it is also a full on bragging anthem since these shoes rarely retail for less than $200.