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The Week in Hip-Hop Footwear

If you had doubts as to the state of hip-hop’s love affair with athletic footwear, this past week should have put them to rest. Three of the biggest names in the genre—Rick Ross, Meek Mill and Lil Wayne—rolled out new sneaker deals that should add considerably to their collective fortunes.


Artist: Rick Ross; Shoe Brand: Reebok; Who’s getting the better deal?: Reebok

Presenting the corpulent Rick Ross with a cake in honor of his #1 selling God Forgives, I Don’t might border on tone-deafness, but I prefer to imagine that it’s the result of someone at Reebok possessing a sly sense of humor.

Said pastry was presented to Ross this past week at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay Hotel, where Ross, along with Tyga, A.I. and Swizz Beatz, reiterated his commitment to the German athletic-wear line.

Since having its lunch thoroughly eaten by Nike in the late ‘90s, Reebok’s cultural capital has maintained a fluttering pulse, meaning that the brand definitely stands to benefit from its association with Ross, who is more than likely reaching the peak of his popularity.


Artist: Meek Mill; Shoe Brand: Puma; Who’s getting the better deal?: Mill

The brightest jewel in Rick Ross’s Maybach Music Group crown, Meek Mill has earned enough cultural clout to allow him to take on endorsement deals of his own, even before the release of his proper commercial debut.

Mill has paired with Puma to sponsor a Be the Next Dreamchaser contest, which employs one of the Philadelphia MC’s primary lyrical themes as the basis for a hip-hop centric battle of the bands.

Though not as widely recognized as Nike or Adidas, the Puma brand still maintains a dedicated following and a reputation for fashion-forward design.

When Mill’s debut LP sees the commercial light of day, he is likely to become one of hip-hop’s biggest stars. In the meantime, associating his name with one of the world’s highest-profile apparel brands helps to lay the groundwork for that pop culture coup.


Artist: Lil Wayne; Shoe Brand: SUPRA; Who’s getting the better deal?: SUPRA, definitely

Lil Wayne joined Rick Ross this past week in crowding the Las Vegas media landscape with murmurs of footwear adumbrate.

Unlike Ross, whose deal with Reebok consists mostly of promotional duties, Lil Wayne has worked with specialty brand SUPRA to develop a line of sneakers specifically tailored to the tastes of Weezy.

While Lil Wayne’s custom line won’t actually ship until May of next year, the stylish kicks are already earning some deserving attention. Wayne’s profile looms large enough for him to have shouldered his way into a major promotion deal, and the fact that he has signed on with a boutique designer speaks well to both his taste and the possibilities of this collaboration.

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About the Author


Shane Danaher's affection for pop music has peppered his adult life with a variety of aesthetically rewarding and financially disastrous decisions. After moving to Portland, Oregon for college (because that's where he heard Modest Mouse was from) Shane has wound up participating in the music world in roles ranging from 'drummer' to 'promoter' to 'bathroom floor scrubber.' He has toured without money, written about almost every band ever to have come out of the Pacific Northwest, and one time traveled all the way to Los Angeles just to see a catch hip-hop show. He currently resides in Portland, where he writes about hip-hop, pop and rock music for a variety of publications. He still plays drums. He wants to meet Kanye West.

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Posted in: Hip Hop Music


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