"Diamonds & Wood" is an ongoing series in which music critic Shea Serrano breaks down the 5 hip-hop tracks you need to hear this week.
Let us concede this point: Let us concede that the greatest rapper-to-shoe relationship of all-time is Run DMC to the Adidas Superstar (otherwise known as the Adidas Shelltoe). That seems inarguable. The two have managed to become independently iconic in their fields, but have indirectly done so by being co-dependent to one another. (I'm not 100 percent certain that that sentence makes complete sense, but whatever. A lot of times making vaguely complicated statements is like the beginning of sex: if you just get the parts close enough and then act confidently enough, everything eventually just sort of works itself out. Or, rather, should I say 'works itself in'? Eh, eh? In? Get it? Like, IN the vagina? The penis in the vagina? Because sex. Thank you, thank you. I'll see myself out.) That being the case, let's rate some other rapper/shoe pairings between rappers and shoes. A few boundaries:
-This will all be on a sliding scale, obvs.
-Points (which will be arbitrarily assigned and later entirely forgotten) will be tallied cumulatively, based on (1) the inherent coolness of the rapper; and (2) the inherent coolness of the shoe.
-Extra credit if the shoe has/had some sort of undeniable cultural impact.
-Automatic negative 50 points if you're Nelly.
-If a shoe has ties to a region more than it does to a specific rapper, a specific rapper (generally the most famous of the bunch) will be assigned. Example: Nearly half of the boys in my homeroom class from last year wore Vans. They were that year's shoe. It seemed like everybody at the school had them. But still, anytime someone showed up wearing them, someone would inevitably say, "You got [Y.'s] shoes? You copied him." even though Y. was, like, the third person to actually get them. He was just cooler than everyone else, which is why he became the brand's unofficial spokesperson. Same thing here.
-There are a ton of relationships between rappers and shoes to be identified. These are not the five greatest, but they are five that would be definitely in the Top 2,500, easy. As such, we're placing them on the list with that in mind. You can fill in the blanks on your own, because fuck you if you think I'm going to draw 2,495 rapper faces and the shoes that they wore.
And we're off.
Shea Serrano is a writer living in Houston, TX. His work has appeared in the Houston Press, LA Weekly, Village Voice, XXL, The Source, Grantland and more. You can follow him on Twitter here.