ComplexCon returns to Long Beach Nov. 6 - 7 with hosts J. Balvin and Kristen Noel Crawley, performances by A$AP Rocky and Turnstile, and more shopping and drops.
Secure your spot while tickets last!
Everyone has a bad day, no matter how rich or cool they are, including Drake. He’s had girls break up with him, been called out for being a fairweather sports fan, and people have criticized his latest album. There was also a moment in 2009 where he wore a purple pair of custom Air Jordan Vs, and the Internet had a field day with his sneakers. A lot of people called them fake (they weren’t), and it brought into question if Drake was actually a sneakerhead.
That was seven years ago. This weekend Drake is set to release his third official collaboration with Jordan Brand, a pair of OVO-branded Air Jordan XIIs. It’s funny how times change, how a man who was accused of wearing fake shoes can come back, shake it off as if it never happened, and become arguably the most important person associated with Air Jordans other than Michael Jordan himself.
How the hell did Drake pull this off? Do people simply not care about celebrities wearing sketchy sneakers anymore? This could be the case. Fabolous, Big Boi, and Swae Lee from Rae Sremmurd have all worn fake shoes. Fabolous is now connected with nearly every sneaker brand, Big Boi bounced back just fine, and Swae Lee had his face plastered all over New York City subways for a Puma campaign.
But Drake hasn’t just moved on from wearing a pair of laughed-at shoes, he’s become one of the most-talked-about people in the sneaker world. He’s getting NBA players to wear his shoes, performing in Jordan jumpsuits, and has his name behind a few of the Air Jordans that instantly sell out and command high resale prices.
Drake isn’t just one of the most popular rappers out right now, he’s one of the most culturally relevant celebrities. He has the whole city of Toronto following every step he makes and supporting all of the endeavors he’s involved in. Wearing a pair of OVO Air Jordans -- or anything from the record label/brand, for that matter -- feels like an affirmation that you’re down with the movement that he’s built, rather than saying you simply like Drake’s music.
But a few years ago, opinion was mixed if Drake was as an authentic “sneakerhead.” We even wrote two articles: 10 Reasons Why Drake Is a Sneakerhead and 10 Reasons Drake Is Not a Sneakerhead, and the main complaint was that he wore the purple Air Jordan Vs, which most people thought were fakes.
So how was he able to change the public’s perception of him in regards to his sneakers? People have short attention spans. I’d be willing to be that a large percentage of people buying OVO Air Jordans this weekend don’t even know about the purple Vs. Also, who cares? Does wearing a pair of suspect sneakers forever label you as a non-sneakerhead or as indefinitely corny? I’ve never gotten got on a pair of fake shoes, but I know people who have. It happens, but it doesn’t make me think less of them. It’s a learning experience, rather than all-time condemning action. You won’t be sentenced to sneaker Hell for wearing a pair of suspect sneakers once.
Drake’s grown since that moment, both as an artist and sneaker connoisseur. He, almost single-handedly, convinced everyone that the Air Jordan XVII needed to be brought back and has since worn “Oregon” and “Mocha” Air Jordan IIIs. He’s legit. Hell, he even made a song called “Jumpman” and has the biggest rap album of 2016. People are going to buy his shoes and want to dress like him, even if he once made a faux-pas that lives on in the annals of the Internet.