Rhythm and Shoes
From classic rock to its own brand of skate rock, music’s been central to defining skateboarding’s aesthetic. During the advent of video in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the soundtrack to skateboarding became even more essential, often turning a video part into a watershed moment by stitching the right tricks with the right songs together. For Nike SB it was another avenue to explore and more dots to connect. Spanning genres, artists, and influences it’s been 20 years of celebrating the sounds of skateboarding.
De La Soul Dunk
Like skateboarding, hip-hop was moving from its raw roots into something even more fluid, refined, and colorful. Along with their Native Tongue contemporaries, no group signaled the sea change louder than De La Soul. At the peak of the sampling era, everything was fair game, and the Daisy Age leveraged psychedelic artwork, deep cuts, and plenty of humor to transform hip-hop, much like the subsequent Dunks and unreleased samples bearing their image.
In 1984, skateboarder and musician Chuck Treece made history by becoming the first African American skater featured on the cover of Thrasher Magazine. Synonymous with skate rock, his band McRad also released their debut 12” EP that same year and whose cover art featured the four members mugging for the camera, surrounded by a green border, bearing the name in title in yellow and red, respectfully. Released in 2013 to celebrate Black HistoryMonth, the McRad threw it back to ‘84 with a colorway inspired by the 12”, complete with McRad logo art on each shoe’s tongue.
Humidity Trumpet Dunk High
Brick-and-mortar skate shops are the pulse of skateboarding. They’re enclaves and protector’s of a history that’s highly undocumented and taught by the opinionated. To commemorate New Orleans-based Humidity Skate Shop’s 22nd year in business and continuation of their run as the oldest shop in the city, Nike SB gave the Big Easy a premium treatment that screamed “celebration.” Owner Philly Santosuosso was instrumental in making sure the details of the metallic gold high sung the praise of the city by incorporating musical iconography native to New Orleans, complete with a removable bow tie.
NikeSB’s second hip-hop collaboration indirectly calls back to its first with De La Soul, as MF Doom’s former outfit KMD, which he performed in under the name Zev Love X, was inspired by the sights and sounds of the Native Tongues movement. After dawning the mask, the themes became darker and that ominous presentation carries over to the MF Doom Dunk High Pro SB, set in a midnight fog leather with faux ostrich skin toe wrap, and Doom-themed illustrations on the insole and under the translucent sole.
20 Years of Nike SB continued its Euro trip across the continent as it headed south to Barcelona for a weekend of video premieres, exhibit openings, shop hangs, wear tests, and, of course, skateboarding.
Working with artists central to skateboarding’s graphic identity to not only use shoes as a canvas, but to recreate iconic ideas in completely new and unexpected ways