7. Wu-Tang Clan x Nike Dunk High
We owe Drew Greer a fair amount with regards to a credible connection between collectors and brands. Why does this get included when Run-DMC’s adidas line didn’t? Because this feels like a blueprint for much of what we see today. Between 1996 and 2000, Drew was Nike footwear Product Director prior to other roles within the company, but his work with the Air Force 1 and Dunk remains pivotal. He was a mastermind behind the decision to take the parallels between Iowa University’s original colorway (gotta love that Goldenrod) and the Wu-Tang’s Killa Bee sting that brought black and yellow to rap way before Wiz. Wu dudes like Raekwon are real sneaker connoisseurs from a time before corny dudes with Rapidshare mixtapes by the ton talked about retro Dunks in their verses. That love was repaid by Drew and his team when they used the Iowa Dunk and some Wu Tang tongue and heel branding to create a pioneering release to create some hype for a post-millennial Dunk push (which we can safely say, proved successful), of which a ‘W’-free Iowa retro was the first sign of an impending swarm at retailers globally a few years down the line. 36 pairs were alleged to have been produced to parallel the Wu’s chambers, spotted at Training Camp and as a promo giveaway. This unassuming, effortless little union of brand and band is a deeply important shoe — to get the extra branding like that was pretty much unseen at this point. Terror Squad, Jeezy CTE, Vibe, Roc-A-Fella and Deftones promo pieces from Nike couldn’t match the originator, which in itself, felt like an extension of the old Elton John, Devo and Frank Zappa SMUs from the late ‘70s and early ‘80s. If you’re still bleating about it being lazy or obvious, then you’re missing the point.