The most talked about subject in sneakers this year so far has been Kanye West's bold, anti-Nike song, "Facts." But before he jumped ship from the sportswear brand recognized for its Swoosh to adidas, West was a diehard Nike supporter, previously to when his first Nike Air Yeezy was released in 2009. At the end of 2006, West was chosen by Nike to collaborate with Rakim, Nas, KRS-One, Rick Rubin, and DJ Premier to record "Classic," a song that paid tribute to the 25th anniversary of the Air Force 1, which would take place in 2007.
With Kanye showing such disdain for Nike these days, like a lover scorned, it's interesting to see how much he once was head over heels about the brand.
Nike decided to hold an event for the Air Force 1, which took place on December 10, 2006, at Gotham Hall in New York City, where the company had over 1,000 pairs of Air Force 1s on display, according to AllHipHop. Kanye performed "Touch the Sky," while wearing his signature backpack, AllHipHop reported, "West then took time to stress that he was on stage with legends, drawing cheers from the crowd as all the artists came on stage to perform."
The event was attended by the likes of DJ Clark Kent, Bobbito Garcia, Patrick Ewing, Spike Lee, and Chi McBride, to name a few names.
Beyond that evening, the song "Classic" had serious resonance, earning a Grammy nomination at the 50th Grammy Awards in 2008 for Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group, losing to Kanye's collaboration with fellow Chicago rapper Common on "Southside."
In the song, oddly enough, West doesn't actually rap about the sneakers themselves, but uses it as a metaphor for timeless items. He says, "If it's classic, it's gon' last forever then," which contradicts his own statement of dethroning the Air Jordan —"The Yeezy jumped over the Jumpman— a certainly "classic" line of footwear.
While people are debating whether the adidas Yeezy Boost 350 is better than the Nike Air Yeezy II, or if West has made adidas more relevant than Nike or Jordan Brand, take a moment to remember that he once had a strong love for his former collaborator.