According to rumors, Michael Jordan hasn't always been appreciative of rappers, however that hasn't stopped him from understanding the impact of hip-hop over the sneaker culture.
The footwear brand has over the years teamed up with some of the finest hip-hop artists and rappers including Eminem, Drake, Khaled, Travis Scott, J Balvin, and more to help design the 1985-born Jordan silhouettes.
The rappers are considered purveyors of sneaker culture and fans look out to emulate their fashion choices. Jordan, being one of the most popular footwear lines, has gained a lot of attention from rappers and has wished to experiment with their contemporary styles over silhouette.
Turning basketball sneakers into major lifestyle and pop culture sneakers, here are five of the best rapper x Air Jordan collaborations, according to us.
Top 5 Air Jordan x Rapper collaborations
1) Air Jordan 4 X Eminem x Carhatt
Released on November 23, 2015, the Air Jordan 4 x Eminem x Carhatt shoes instantly became popular due to their limited release of only 10 units. While the shoe looks minimalistic on the surface, it is more than just another gray, black and white jumpman model.
Detroit-based rapper Slim Shady aka Eminem released a makeover for AJ4 in collaboration with Carhatt. Dressed in Metallic Silver / Retro Black hues, the sneakers feature a black-based color scheme predominantly over the uppers.
The sneakers are dressed in Retro Black / Metallic Silver colorway and feature a predominantly black-based color scheme. The black upper canvas contrasts with gray overlays over the tongue and laces. The metallic silver is accented over the eyestays.
Carhatt's marking appears on the back of the tongue, while Eminem's branding appears throughout the sneakers. The heel tabs, lateral sides, and insoles all have "E" lettering in the style of Slim Shady's Record XV logo.
Whereas, the Jumpman logo are present in the usual places, including tongues and insoles, and beneath the footbed. Lastly, the shoe sits atop midsole in black and white, with translucent gray outsoles. The pair were released through an auction in only 10 units; all proceeds from the auction went to the Marshall Mathers Foundation.
The shoe's resell value increased its legendary status as part of the Jordan collaboration. The sneaker is now reselling for over $45k on StockX, and is simply every sneakerheads dream. More recently, Eminem donated one of his pairs to StockX to aid in the pandemic emergency.
2) Travis Scott x Air Jordan 4 Cactus Jack
Travis Scott x Nike AJ4 retros were one of the most hyped shoes by La Flame. The Goosebumps singer nicknamed these kicks the Cactus Jack, similar to Travis' nickname and his record label, when released.The pair are somewhat similar to Eminem's infamous pair, however they are dressed in a lighter shade of blue.
Adorned in University Blue / Varsity Red / Black, the pair's upper is constructed in suede. Most of the shoes are dressed in University blue, while the rest detailing such as cages, tongue, heel tabs, linings, and laces are dressed in black and varsity red.
The shoes pay homage to La Flame's favorite team as a child, NFL franchise Houston Oilers, now known as the Tennessee Titans. The shoes also feature a paint splatter detailing over black TPU lace cages. The "Cactus Jack" branding can be seen on the rear of the shoes at the heel counters, while the Jumpman branding is visible at the tongue.
Finishing off the design, the shoe sits atop a white midsole, featuring the signature air bubble detailing at the heel and a contrasting black outsole. These pair were dropped exclusively in men's sizes for $225 on June 9, 2018.
3) Air Jordan 3 retro x DJ Khaled Grateful
The self-proclaimed and hardworking businessman, artist, record producer, and rapper, DJ Khaled is known for his dedication. He has been dreaming of working with Jordan ever since he was 15-years-old, he said in an interview with the Stadium Goods shop.
The Air Jordan 3 Retro Grateful edition was made to commemorate the release of Khaled's Grateful album, who is also one of the brand's ambassadors for the sneaker giant. The sneakers come dressed in Black / University Red/ Cement Gray colorway and as usual, the elephant print detailing appears around the toe boxes and heel counters.
The upper is prominently covered in university red and is constructed in premium leather, and the red base is then accentuated with white and black accents.
More details such as the "We The Best" phrase and Jumpman logos can be found at the rear of the back heel and insoles. The custom hangtags further accompanies the shoe, and are found on the insides of the back flaps.
In an interview with Stadium Goods, he further talked about the collaborative shoe and commented that the shoe design has been sitting on his mobile for the last five or four years and the Jordan 3 silhouette is his favorite. He further told his fans that his goal was to recreate the classic, not modify it.
The shoes' were released on June 23, 2017 in a limited number of pairs. A few fans were fortunate enough to receive a pair as a giveaway with the purchase of the Grateful CD.
4) J Balvin x Air Jordan 1
J Balvin made history when he collaborated with the Jordan brand for a makeover of Air Jordan 1 silhouette, as he became the first Latino to get his own collaboration with AJ1. The pair was officially unveiled during the half-time of the Super Bowl, American Football's biggest stage, as he performed alongside Jennifer Lopez in 2020.
The canvas upper of J Balvin's AJ1 shoe is embellished with a layered tie-dye design with solid black leather patches and jagged edges. The shoe further features an exposed foam tongue which gives off a vintage feel to the shoe.
"This exclusive AJ1 uses an eclectic mix of colours, textures and graphics to re-imagine the classic silhouette in the image of Colombian recording artist J Balvin," reads collaboration decription at Nike.
The sneakers feature velcro patches attached to the heel, which depicts the Jordan brand and J Balvin's insignia.
"Rough-sewn overlays blur the design's typically crisp design lines, while a spectrum of neon hues inject the look with an aggressive burst of energy. Customisable graphics (including Balvin's signature smiley face) put a distinctive twist on the tongue, with similar visuals adorning the shoe's insole and heel. Lace up and march to the beat of your own drum in this long-awaited and colourful collectible," reads the product description at Nike.
The wings are dressed in rounded colors, which represents a cloud-like explosion to express Balvin's source of energy. The usual Jumpman logo, which appears on the left pair's tongue tag is replaced with J Balvin's smiley face logo. Insoles also feature a similar smiley face on the shoes. Finishing off the desig, the light pink sole makes this sneaker a one-of-a-kind AJ1.
The shoes are accompanied by interchangeable pink, white, and black laces, as well as removable patches, giving the enthusiasts a chance to customize their own shoe. In an interview with Highsnobiety, Balvin expressed his thoughts regarding the shoes' design,
“I was thinking about how I could have a disruptive Air Jordan I. I wanted to be the person who really dared to change the shapes and go all out. No one has touched the Air Jordan I like this before," said Balvin.
J Balvin designed the shoes with the Jordan Brand's NRG legend, Franklin Cook, who also congratulated the singer working on the sneaker. The sneakers were released on December 8, 2020 at a retail price of $190.
5) Travis Scott x Fragments x Air Jordan 1
There is yet another Travis Scott collaborative shoe on the list, but sneakerheads shouldn't be surprised, as the reseller prices, hype and demands on these shoes' are still unmatchable. The Travis Scott x Air Jordan 1 X Fragments sneakers were released in high-top cut in 2021.
Dressed in Sail / Military Blue / Shy Pink, colorways, the shoes attracted lots of sneakerheads. The upper of the shoes is made of premium leather in a white base color with Military Blue overlays.
The military blue hue accentuates heel counters, toe boxes, ankle flaps, and rubber outsoles of the shoe. A further twist was added via La Flame with the addition of reverse swooshes dressed in black on the lateral side of the shoe.
The overstuffed tongue of the shoe is branded with Travis' nickname, "Cactus Jack," and a distorted smiley face is embroidered on the left heel of the shoe. Lastly, Fragments' Hiroshi Fujiwara adds a double lightning bold motif on the heel counters of the right pair. The shoes were available through raffle for $200 on June 29, 2021.