“Bottles and rockin’ J’s, smoking and sippin Spades”
On Games underrated California Republic mixtape the Compton, California hailing rapper invited several A-list fellow rappers to take part in his anthem dedicated to Jordan sneakers. The entire song is filled with Jordan references with each artist highlights their favorite style of the popular sneakers.
“Gold bottles, scold models, spillin’ Ace on my sick J’s”
Jay Z and Kanye West’s collaborative album Watch the Throne was no doubt filled with boasts of fame and wealth. The hit song “Niggas In Paris” was no exception and the two rappers explained to us how they “ball so hard.” In his introductory verse on the track Jay Z references the sought-after sneakers, painting us a picture of a wild night in Paris where a model spills a bottle of the expensive champagne Ace of Spades on his beloved sneakers.
“Put on my J’s and dance the whole night away. I’m naughty by nature like I’m hip-hop hooray”
Producer Mike Will Made took Jordan references in songs to the extreme when he released the first single from his upcoming debut studio album, Est. in 1989 Pt.3. For starters the song is entitled “23” which was the former jersey number of NBA star and father of the Jordan sneaker, Michael Jordan. The track, which features Miley Cyrus as well as rappers Wiz Khalifa and Juicy J, pays homage to everything Jordan in the best way.
“My Jordans high top, snapback fitted cap. The Rolls Royce, its all white. Foamposites, the LeBrons, I’m fuckin wit the Spikes”
It's not a secret, rappers wear Jordans constantly. Therefore, it makes sense that when describing what they’re wearing in their raps at some point the trendy sneaker will be mentioned. In the Rick Ross track, “Fitted Cap” featuring rappers Wale, Meek Mill and Roc Nations J. Cole the Maybach Music Group front man mentions several Nike sneaker styles including, Foamposites, LeBrons and Spizikes which are a Jordan collaboration by Michael Jordan and Spike Lee released in 2006.
Curren$y “Space Shuttle”
“Jordan 3 Cements my secret weapon, dead stock, not bootleg, Nike inspected”
Most name brand, high demand items have at some point been replicated in the form of knockoffs, and Jordan sneakers are no exception. New Orleans rapper and certified lyrical poet Curren$y touched on the bootlegging of Jordans in his Higher then 30000 Feet mixtape cut “Space Shuttle.” He gives recognition to the Jordan 3s and makes sure we all know that his are the real deal.
Kanye West feat. Syleena Johnson “All Falls Down”
“Sophomore three years, ain’t picked a career. She like fuck it I’ll just stay down here and do hair cause that’s enough money to buy her a few pairs of new Airs cause her baby daddy don’t really care”
Kanye’s debut album College Dropout was a major success and is still recognized today as such. When the Chi-Town rapper released the third single from the LP, West solidified his place in rap and made it known that he was here to stay. The single “All Falls Down” became a classic and what would a classic be without an Air Jordan reference.
Wale “Barry Sanders”
“Now Jordan 3 my shoe, double MG my crew, when you do it big as Manute you make it seem minute”
Maybach Music Group rapper Wale has released several mixtapes between his studio albums, one being The Eleven One Eleven Theory. The 2011 mixtape included an extensive tracklisting and one of the standout tracks was, “Barry Sanders” named after the former NFL running back. The song was naturally all about sports so of course a Jordan mention was bound to make its way onto the high-energy track.
2 Pac “Better Dayz”
“I’m solo and so broke, savin’ up for some Jordans cause they dope”
The last of four posthumous albums from the late rapper 2pac, Better Dayz, was released six years following the rapper's death. The two-disc album was recorded by Shakur between 1994 and 1996 and become a great success. The title track featuring Ron Isley of the Isley Brothers features a throwback Jordan reference that was a look into the struggle of “keeping up with the Jonses” while living a tumultuous inner city life.
Nas “Street Dreams”
“The streets raised me up, givin a fuck. I thought Jordans and gold chains was livin it up”
The second single from Nas’ sophomore album It Was Written, “Street Dreams” gave fans a glimpse into New York street life. In “Street Dreams”, Nas paints a vivid picture of drugs and crime for listeners and raps about the infelicitous priorities one develops when being raised by the streets.
“Aw yeah, we put them things in the air. When I drop a single its really like a pair of Air Jordans”
Rapper and actor Common has been a part of the hip hop scene for over two decades. With nine solo studio albums under his belt the rapper has produced a multitude of lucrative records. In his most recent album solo album, released in 2011, The Dreamer/The Believer the rapper pretentiously likens the release of his music to the release of Jordan sneakers, which we all know are always in high demand.
HotNewHipHop gives you a brief history of Jordan references in songs by some of your favorite hip-hop artists.
When NBA star basketball player Michael Jordan teamed up with Nike in 1984 and launched his Air Jordan brand the following year, unbeknownst to former Chicago Bulls shooting guard, he was making history. Consisting of sneakers as well as athletic apparel, the Jordan Brand has grown over the last thirty years into a widely successful brand. The sneakers being at the forefront of the brands sales have lead, to not only a high demand for the stylish kicks, but has allowed the brands popularity to cross over into pop culture as well as mainstream music. The hip-hop world's reception to the sneakers has been favorable, and the majority of hip-hop artists own at least a few pairs of the shoes-- they are enthusiastic to the point where many have included Air Jordan references in their songs, some even going as far as dedicating entire tracks to the trendy sneakers.