The relationship goes beyond business, though. Having the right kicks became a symbol of status, an extension of the artist, and even a key exertion of dominance (see Rick Ross). Classics like the Jordans and Uptowns had their iconic status further solidified as hip-hop artists continued living on these tropes. The fact that European brands were also brought into the fold made picking The 50 Greatest Sneaker References in Rap History that much harder. But rest assured, the following quotables and songs hold some sort of importance in their own way. Yes, even that Nelly song.
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Hip-hop and sneakers have always had a symbiotic relationship. It can even be said that one wouldn't have been able to achieve the level of mainstream prominence it has today without the aid of the other. The prime example, of course, is when adidas signed the legendary Run-D.M.C. to a million-dollar endorsement deal-a first for hip-hop. When that adidas representative saw the thousands of fans waving their gear in the air when Run-D.M.C. performed at Madison Square Garden, it must've occurred to him that hip-hop may actually still be a thing for quite a while. Of course, he was right.