When Darryl “D.M.C.” McDaniels boasted, “We make a good team, my Adidas and me,” on Run-D.M.C.’s seminal third album, Raising Hell, he could have hardly imagined that he was serenading a potential future collaborator.
Unveiled by NYC-based branding agency Neely & Daughters, this pair of customized Mi Adidas sneakers stitches together two of hip-hop’s most important founding documents: the shoe brand that ignited hip-hop sneaker culture and the machine that punted the genre into the limelight.
The firm’s Neely Air Roland TR-808: Disturb the Peace model, designed as a contribution to the Mi Adidas “Just for Kicks” challenge, basks in the iconic drum machine’s vintage design and boasts six different pre-programmed beat settings complete with volume control. (What’s a beat if you can’t it turn up?)
So why aren’t we seeing basement-rapping sneakerheads everywhere strutting proudly in their too-good-to-be-true miraculously techy Adidas kicks and bursting into impromptu freestyle bars?
Alas, because they’re too good to be true indeed. The agency developed the Disturb the Peace sneakers as a prototype, but never advanced the model for mass assembly production. So for those of you with your arm arched back reaching for your credit cards, you’ll have to hang tight for the time being. But on the bright side, Neely & Daughters gave us another opportunity revisit and marvel at the decorated lineage of hip-hop accoutrements that adorn the wardrobe of its vibrant history. Which is, of course, always welcome.
But it’s not totally unrealistic to eventually see a pair of loafers that can recreate breakbeat samples taken from “Give the Drummer Some.” It was just last year that Converse unleashed the All Wah, that reproduces the wah-wah guitar pedal effect. So roaring kick drums and hissing hi-hats emanating from your toes shouldn’t be such an improbable market item.
Until then, it’s worth revisiting the 2005 documentary, Just for Kicks, that chronicles the history of hip-hop sneaker phenomena.