My playlist is called Rap with Sole, which may be one of the most obvious titles. I wasn’t quite sure what kind of theme I would create my playlist around until Nelly’s “Air Force Ones” came up in my iTunes shuffle. As we’ve talked about briefly in class, hip hop and fashion sometimes go hand in hand. I also remembered the Run-DMC track, “My Adidas.” I thought that if Nelly and Run-DMC wrote songs about their flashy footwear, maybe other rappers did too. I struck a goldmine.
There are dozens and dozens of raps simply about shoes. Air Force Ones, Air Jordans, Adidas, Vans, and Chucks, there was a variety of shoe-obsessed songs to choose from.
There were so many different songs about shoes I decided to keep the playlist to the minimum of 11 songs, as well as set some parameters. For my parameters I decided that the song had to actually be about footgear, instead of just being a brief mention, like in Scarface’s “Sleepin’ in My Nikes.” However, I did have exception to that rule with “Nike Boots” because it had such an intriguing metaphor within it. I also wanted some diversity, so I choose songs about as many different types of shoes as I could.
Most of the rappers made sure their listeners knew what kind of shoes they were wearing, what they looked like, and how they wore them. Some even rapped about where their shoes were going or what they were doing in their shoes. Each rap was a different
walk in someone else’s moccasins and, though this playlist may be amusing, it definitely says something about both the genre and the culture of hip hop.
1. Air Force Ones- Nelly
2. My Adidas- Run-DMC
3. Nike Boots- Wale
4. Rockin Stilettos- Joan of Arc
5. Converse- Busy Bee
6. Nike Aurrs and Crispy Tees- Chingy
7. Vans- The Pack
8. Nike- Heavy D & The Boyz
9. A.D.I.D.A.S.- Twista
10. My Chucks- Mack 10
11. Sneakers- Raekwon
Air Force Ones- Nelly
This is the epitome of “shoe rap,” a genre similar to “shoe gaze” in that the singer just can’t stop looking at their shoes. Nelly, Murphy Lee, Ali, and Kyjuan all rap about the different colors they like and how they wear them, “I leave ’em strapped and laced and come up out ’em.” For the song that inspired the playlist, “Air Force Ones” needed to have top-billing.
My Adidas- Run-DMC
“My Adidas” is not only a classic, but also a good representation of rapping about shoes. Run and DMC rap about what their shoes look like, but also where they go and what they do. According to DMC, “We make a mean team, my Adidas and me/We get around together, we down forever.”
Nike Boots- Wale
I choose “Nike Boots” for a few reasons. First, because I recognized the hook and second, because when he sang, “Southside, what up?/Uptown, what up?” I thought he was representing Chicago and my neighbourhood, Uptown. But after reading about him (he’s from D.C.) and the song, I saw that Nike Boots is actually a metaphor. It takes a closer look to see that this song is not really about shoes.
Rockin Stilettos- Joan of Arc
The reason I choose this song is because it was the one the only ones I could find by a female rapper. Though fashion is stereotypically a woman’s obsession, “shoe rap” is dominated by men.
Converse- Busy Bee
“Converse” was chosen for this playlist because I’m a big fan of Converse and I was excited to see them represented in rap.
Nike Aurrs and Crispy Tees- Chingy
This song describes, not only the shoes, but expands to the whole outfit. It’s a good representation of how fashion is important to contributing to the baller image that most rappers strive for. You got to have the right shoes first and work your way up.
Vans- The Pack
This was one of my favourite songs that I found. Firstly, because I really liked the hook and the beat (even though it took my awhile to realize it wasn’t my phone buzzing). Secondly, because I wasn’t expecting to find a rap song about Vans. I also liked the elaborate descriptions they used as well as linking them to punk, “They some punk rock shoes, so they get real dirty.”
Nike- Heavy D & The Boyz
This song displays a simple love of shoes as well as the need to have the coolest pair and to be the first to get them. I also liked the part near the end, “We didn’t do this cause we had to/We did this cause we wanted to.” Shoe love.
I like “A.D.I.D.A.S.” because it mentions Run-DMC at the beginning. I also liked the hook. This song also displays the need to have an outfit that’s just as “poppin’.” Because Twista has the right shoes he’s also got women, cars, and recognition.
My Chucks- Mack 10
As I said before, I’m a big Converse/Chuck Taylors fan so I had to include this. I also love that he says, “It’s so gangster I had to do it.” It goes to show that rappers don’t only go for Nikes and Adidas. It also displays a theme that runs throughout the playlist, the use of ‘my’ in almost every song. It’s all about the connection between the rapper and the shoe.
I decided to close out the playlist with Raekwon’s “Sneakers,” which mentions a variety of shoes. He says he’s an “addict for sneakers” and appears he’s not the only one. Raekwon speaks for them all when he says, “So many phat styles.”