Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Favorite Albums of 2009

Music nowadays might now be what it once was (especially hip hop) but there's still a lot of quality stuff coming out. I mean come on, you know there's still some heat left in the oven when two certifiable bangers, BP3 and OBFCL2, drop on the exact same day.

Raekwon - Only Built For Cuban Links II
Direct sequel to the 1995 classic which was one of the very best Wu-Tang solo efforts. Picks up right were the first left off and the Chef don't miss a step. My favorite hip hop album of 2009.

El Michels Affair - Enter the 37th Chamber
Wu-Tang inspired live instrumental album. I thought it might be stupid at first, but damn I keep playing this one over and over--gonna wear the vinyl out!

Ghostface Killah - Ghostdini, Wizard of Poetry in Emerald City
Pretty Tony gets a little bit RnB on us but doesn't cheese out. Maybe not as good as his last couple albums, but still a very solid effort. Spun this one a lot.

Jay Z - The Blueprint 3
The third installment of the Blueprint trilogy spawned one of the best NYC anthems in years. A bit long, but nowhere near as sprawling as the BP2 mess.

Lee Fields & The Expressions - My World
My favorite album of 2009 hands-down, and one of my favorites of the whole decade. Authentic soul that coulda been lifted straight outta the 1970s. Highly recommended.

Mayer Hawthorne - A Strange Arrangement
White kid from Detroit channeled 60's-style Motown proper. Totally unoriginal, but that makes it even more perfect. I even cop'd the heart-shaped 12" single for my wife.

Mos Def - The Ecstatic
He dropped two classics early in his career--Black Star with Talib Kweli, and Black on Both Sides--and then fell off, seemingly focused on acting. He came back strong on this though, back in true form.

Drake - So Far Gone
This man seemed to come out of nowhere, caught me totally by surprise. This isn't the style of hip hop I typically listen to--it's definitely a softer, pop-ier sound--but I like it.

Wale - Attention Deficit
Another album that's outside my normal preferred style of hip hop. I admit I slept on this at first; glad I woke up tho, it's a solid album that caught me on the first listen.

Honorable Mentions:
These are some more albums and mixtapes I liked this year, but didn't quite make my top-9 list for one reason or another. Good stuff tho, definitely worth checking these out too.
  • Braille & Symbolyc One - CloudNineteen
  • Carlos Niño & Miguel Atwood Ferguson - Suite for Ma Dukes
  • De La Soul - Are You In?: Nike + Original Run
  • Diz Gibran - Soon You'll Understand
  • Doom - Born Like This
  • Exile - Radio
  • Fashawn - Boy Meets World
  • Frank Ramz - Make The Road By Walking
  • Has-Lo - You Can Live Thru Anything If Magic Made It
  • J Dilla - Jay Stay Paid
  • Jabee - Must Be Nice
  • Jazz Liberatorz - Fruit of the Past
  • KiD CuDi - Man On The Moon: The End Of Day
  • Large Professor - The LP (originally recorded in 95/96)
  • Madlib - Beat Konducta Vol. 5-6: A Tribute To...
  • Method Man And Redman - Blackout! 2
  • Panacea - Corkscrew Gaps EP
  • Royce Da 5'9 - Street Hop
  • Saigon - All In A Day's Work
  • ScholarMan - The Pull Forward EP vols. 1 & 2
  • Waxolutionists - We Paint Colors
  • Wu Tang Clan - Chamber Music

Monday, December 28, 2009

December Record Dig

Here's a bunch of mostly junky vinyl records I bought for 50¢ each. Now, I've bought plenty of crappy records before, but most of this stuff here is just flat out unlistenable--but thankfully that's not why I bought em. You see, crappy records like these can provide all sorts of sounds suitable for sampling. One of the fun aspects of creating sample-based music is trying to flip a wack record into something good...and I got plenty to work with here. haha

The one real gem here is the Smokey Robinson album, A Quiet Storm. It's actually one of the great soul albums of the 1970s.

You know, this might sound weird, but I really love buying and playing vinyl records (click the vinyl records category tag to see all my posts about the subject) and even when they're total crap, I still love 'em. I'll hit the "next" button on an iPod or CD player in a heartbeat when a bad song plays, but on vinyl I just let it ride--and it doesn't bother me one bit when the music sucks.

Strange, huh?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Fur Face Boy - Space Fur

Installment four of my official "Space Jams Week" features one of my favorite brands in the world, Fur Face Boy. Anyone who'd been reading this blog for a while no doubt already knows about FFB, but if you don't then go read these posts [one two three four]. This black "Space Fur" shirt was a hyper-limited, web-only run of just 18 shirts, with another 18 available in the Royal Blue colorway [here]. And as you can see, the Space Jam tie-in comes in the form of the black/royal-blue color and of course the sideways alien-esque Jordan type.

It doesn't quite come across in the photos, but the blue ink used on this shirt has a little bit of a shimmer to it. Is that on purpose? Or is it just the nature of the ink? Hell I dunno, but it's really cool in-person.

Now about that sideways type: back in 1995 when the Air Jordan XI first came out, the words on the tongue confused a lot of people (was it supposed to be an alien language?) until they turned the shoe sideways and the words "JUMPMAN - JORDAN" became clear. In the original 2001 Retro of the Space Jam, Jordan Brand modified the words a bit to read "JUMPMAN - JAM". Unfortunately, this new 2009 Retro uses the more pedestrian "JUMPMAN - JORDAN" on the tongue. That's a shame, but at least it does give OG Retro owners something to brag about (besides their more yellowed soles).

The way "Fur Face Boy" is set on the shirt is reminiscent of the sideways tongue type, but it's not quite a straight rip of it--and I think it might be stronger because of that. The design is obvious to anyone in the know, but strengthens the FFB brand better than if it was sideways and completely abstract.

Oh yeah, one more thing...

On the Fur Face Boy website, this shirt was announced with the headline "I believe I can (Fur)..." and no shit ever since then, that freakin' R. Kelly song has been in my head! I can't get it outta there. In fact I'm singing it right now--arrrg, so annoying! It's one of those songs that simultaneously makes me cry AND want to go piss on something.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Space Madness

Installment three of my official "Space Jams Week" is a post that can only be called Space Madness. Yep, that's right, we camped out all night for more Air Jordan XI Retro Space Jams [Read about those in installment one HERE]. Please forgive me if the writing sucks worse than usual because I'm really tired--oh my God is it 8:00am? Crap I've just spent all night camping out for sneakers that I already own! Hahaha!

Alright so here's the story: Terrance, Stan, myself, and Claudia all got to Town East between 11pm and midnight, set up camp chairs, and talked about sneakers. The weather was a nice dry 60º, we ate some burgers and junk from a 2am Jack-In-The-Crack run, Terrance made fun of a couple of scrubs, everything was cool. Then sometime around 3:30, while Terrance and Stan were on a convenience store run, *BOOM* everybody all the sudden bum-rushed the mall entrance!

Goodbye organized line, hello unruly mob.

Now realize, this rush made NO SENSE AT ALL because it was still gonna be well over 2 hours wait, and the mall doors were still locked! People started getting push, people started yelling, and the very irate Mall Cop threatened to send everyone home. After about 15 minutes of crowd hysteria at the front door, the Police showed up and kinda halfway got things settled down.

At 5:00am-ish, the employees from Champs came out and started giving away reserved 'hold' tickets for Space Jams; they had a little over 100 pair to sell and quickly ran out of tickets (almost instantly in the common men's sizes). After much more pushing, shoving, and crowding the front door, it finally hit the magic hour to allow people in to the mall: 6:00am.

Mall employees let four people in at a time, handing them off to waiting employees from Foot Locker/House of Hoops, Foot Action, and Finish Line. Terrance worked his way to the front of the line pretty quickly and got in the mall before the big crowd, hitting up Foot Action for all the pairs he needed. Stan, Claudia, and I were near the back of the mob--because come on, we're not crazy--but a few minutes later we got in. My hook up at Foot Locker/House of Hoops got my size order and ran to the back (totally bypassing the big line by the way) but unfortunately my size was ALREADY SOLD OUT. This was, like 6:20am. I quickly ran next door to Foot Action, where Terrance was at, but they were also out...however they did manage to get me a half-size off shoe (which will honestly be fine).

Length of campout: 6-7 hours
Line-to-Mob conversion casualties: 1 campchair + 100% of the Mall Cop's wits
Number of cans thrown at Mall Cop's head: 1
Length of time spent making fun of Hulen Mall: approx 30 minutes
Number of people in the mob: somewhere between 300-400
Rumored number of SJs available: approx 1000 pair
Total number of Space Jams we cop'd: 8 pair
Success rate for our group: 99.5%
Camping out just for the fun of it: PRICELESS

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Shogun + Space Jam

You read yesterday's epic Space Jams post, right? If so, you already know I've officially declared this "Space Jams Week" (and if not, go read that post) so here's the second installment of the week: a Space Jam themed t-shirt from the best streetwear/sneaker shop in Fort Worth, Texas: Shogun.

As you no doubt already know, Space Jam is the 1996 live action + animation movie starring Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny and pretty much the entire pantheon of Warner Bros. cartoon characters: Elmer Fudd, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Tweety, Sylvester, Tazmanian Devil, Yosemite Sam, Foghorn Leghorn, Road Runner, Wile E. Coyote, Pepe Le Pew, Granny, Charles the Dog, and of course Marvin Martian. Honestly, the movie itself ain't all that great and Michael Jordan is not a very good actor, but it did introduce something monumentally important to the sneaker world: the Air Jordan 11 (XI) Space Jam.

The Space Jam, which is being released this wednesday, is easily one of if not the most highly anticipated retro Jordan releases of the year. Hell to be honest, it's probably one of the most highly anticipated sneakers PERIOD of the year, not just Jordans. Consequently, there are a ton of Space Jam related t-shirts being made up by a wide number of brands and shops out there. I mean, since everybody's gonna buy Space Jams (you ARE gonna cop some for yourself, right? Right?) it makes sense to have some matching tees out there for people to rock with the sneakers.

Of all the Space Jam related tees I've seen, this one is easily my favorite. When I first saw it, I immediately knew it was Space Jam shirt but unlike most it doesn't rely on a black/varsity-royal colorway. Instead, it cleverly apes the movie's Looney Tunes inspired logo. I mean come on just look at how perfectly "Shogun" replaces "Space Jam". That's what's up! And then to top it off, the art on the back does it up even better: Marvin the Martian and two space guns to mimic the Shogun logo? Fire, absolute FIRE! In fact that design was also available on its own [see it here] and both shirts, along with everything else Shogun-related from what I understand, were designed by John Hoang (follow @johnAtShogun on Twitter).

I'll be wearing this shirt and my Space Jams for the campout tonight/tomorrow morning at Town East Mall. If you want to follow the Space Jam campout live, follow me on Twitter @dsicle should be Tweeting starting around midnight tonight.

If you haven't been to Shogun in Fort Worth, go check em out. Easily one of the best streetwear boutiques around and well worth the trip to Funky Town.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Air Jordan XI Retro - Space Jams

I'm officially declaring this "Space Jams Week" so to kick it off, here are the infamous Space Jams that are releasing this coming wednesday Dec 23. So alright, what's the big deal about these sneakers, anyways?

To answer that, you first gotta remember that Michael Jordan shocked the world when he retired from basketball in 1993, right in the prime of his career. By that point, he was already considered the greatest basketball player of all time. He'd won Rookie of the Year, back-to-back Slam Dunk contests, two Olympic Gold Medals, three NBA MVP awards, was an NBA All-Star every year, had the highest scoring average (32.3 PPG) in the history of the NBA, and of course had just lead the Chicago Bulls to a Three-Peat: winning the NBA Championship three years in a row--and then topped it off by winning the Finals MVP each time. As Larry Bird of the Boston Celtics described him, he was "God disguised as Michael Jordan."

Jordan retired from the NBA on October 6, 1993 due to a series of personal issues, including the death of his father, but he didn't exactly disappear out of the limelight. He chased other dreams, including playing baseball. But then on March 18, 1995 Jordan issued a two-word press release: "I'm Back"

The next day, a year-and-a-half since he'd last worn a Chicago Bulls uniform, Jordan scored 19 points in a game against the Indiana Pacers--and apparently, the whole world was watching as it earned the highest Nielsen rating of a regular season NBA game since 1975. Then a few days later, in just his fifth game back, he scored 55 points against the New York Knicks.

"God disguised as Michael Jordan," indeed.

That year, the Bulls didn't have much success--the season was half over by the time Jordan returned--but his return did boost the team to the Playoffs, where on May 7, 1995 Michael Jordan laced up what many in the sneaker world consider the Greatest Sneaker Ever: The Air Jordan 11 (XI).

The whole world was watching as Jordan came out on the court wearing Concords. Sneakers with shiny black patent leather? That'd never been done before. They were classy and sleek and elegant and futuristic all at the same time. They blew everyone's minds. Cue mass hysteria. High school kids wearing Concords with Tuxedos for Homecoming and Prom. Insane. Jordan was even fined by the NBA for wearing them (not respecting the team colors), similar to the fines he received for wearing the Jordan I in his first season.

And then in his first full season back, Jordan wore the 11s as he led the Chicago Bulls in most dominating season in NBA history, a record-setting 72-10 asswhoopin' of the entire league--and of course another NBA title (and the beginning of the second Bulls Three-Peat). People, we're talking about a dominance level never before seen in the NBA; hell sports in general. The accomplishments of the pre-retirement Michael Jordan were legendary; the dominance of the now un-retired Michael Jordan wasn't even fathomable. It was just flat out stupid. How could anyone be that good?

"God disguised as Michael Jordan."

As the next season began, Jordan mania was still in full effect as Warner Bros. released the feature film SPACE JAM starring Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan. Live action actors mixed in with the cartoon world, sorta like Who Framed Roger Rabbit? but with a Basketball twist. Yeah okay, the movie kinda sucked, but every kid in America went and saw it...and saw those shoes. The Space Jams. What were they? An all-new colorway, never seen before? Well that's because there were only five pairs made, just for Jordan to wear in the movie. FIVE PAIRS.

So here you had the greatest player ever wearing the greatest sneaker ever in a brand-new color that no one had ever seen...and you couldn't actually buy em! Talk about pent-up frustration! They weren't available to the public until a Retro release in 2001 (which sold out quick) and haven't been available ever since. Until now, that is.

This wednesday, December 23, Jordan Brand is officially re-releasing the Air Jordan 11 (XI) Space Jam sneaker. As you can see from the pictures, I've already got mine (cop'd em last week) but I'm still gonna go to House of Hoops and stand in line starting tuesday at midnight to snag another pair, but mostly just for the fun of it. I'll post up afterwords about the event, of course, but if you wanna stay up late and catch it live, follow me on Twitter @dsicle or better yet, come out to Town East Mall and freeze your ass off with us as we wait outside Tuesday at midnight.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Uncommon Burners 2

Whoa, check this out: an album cover I designed is actually out there for real, like gracing an actual album! Sweet, huh? Yeah I know, I never really talk about graphic design stuff on my blog--I mean come on, this blog is supposed to be about stuff I like, not my day job. But this is different because I designed this project strictly for the fun of it; to do something other than the typical day-in, day-out corporate work I do .

Oh and guess what? This album is available as a FREE DOWNLOAD from Above Ground magazine (get it here).

About the cover art: Uncommon Burners 2 is the second in a series of compilation albums put out by the label Uncommon Records. When trying to come up with an idea for the artwork, I kept circling around the thought of using fire, but didn't have any concrete way of tying it back to "burners" or "burning". Then I ran across an image of a Chinese Fire Breather and it hit me: hot MCs "spit fire" on the mic. So then I went and found a photo of a Shure SM58 mic and Photoshoped it in there, painted up the background some, and added the dragon line art to represent how the fire comes from inside you. The "Uncommon Burners 2" text I struggled with a bit, finally ended up sitting down with a sketchbook and hand drew a mess of thumbnail pencils to come up with how to work the various elements together, and then finalized the type in Illustrator.

FYI here's the back cover that I also designed:

Notice how I credited myself with my Twitter screen name? I dunno why I did that, guess it's partly because I've been meeting so many people from Twitter in real life recently that I've repeatedly been hearing "Dsicle" said out loud--first time since San Diego really. So I guess it's kinda sticking in my head now. Thanks, Wade. LOL

All said, I had a blast designing the cover art for this album. Big ups to Tyler for thinking of me to design the project, and also to my homie Ross for the advice/critique.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Nike "Spike Lee" Big Nike High

Actor/Director Spike Lee is a well known figure in the sneaker world, no doubt stemming from his 1986 movie She's Gotta Have It and the famous "you scuffed my brand new Jordans!" scene (video). After the film, Spike Lee directed and stared in several Air Jordan commercials in character as Mars Blackmon from the film (video) making the phrase "It's Gotta Be The Shoes" a household catchphrase. Seriously, I don't know if there was a soul alive in the early 90's who watched television and didn't know about Jordans and those black-and-white Spike Lee commercials. They were everywhere, and everyone knew em. Those commercials--along with the introduction of the III--are a big part of why Jordan Brand became the sneaker powerhouse they are today.

Because of the historic relationship between Spike Lee and Jordan Brand, a hybrid Jordan shoe called the Spiz'ike was released in 2006 combining elements of the III, IV, V, VI and XX shoes (the models Lee directed commercials for) but until now, all of Spike Lee's ties to the sneaker world have been through Jordan Brand. This fall, Nike itself finally created some sneakers honoring Spike Lee / Mars Blackmon with a Nike Blazer and this Big Nike High.

Obviously the big kicker here is the Mars Blackmon glasses icon on the tongue, but perhaps more important is the colorway of the shoe, which is done up as an original Air Jordan I. The overall profile of the two sneakers are similar enough that it looks a lot like the Jordan I from just the color blocking alone. While there are a couple of similar models of the same era (Dunk, Terminator) that could have pulled off the same general look, the Big Nike is probably the best choice Nike could have made in creating a Spike Lee shoe without actually using a Jordan Brand product.

Someday I'd like to own a pair of Jordan I highs in the OG colorway--and the black toe version as well--but until then I'll just rock these Spike Lee Big Nikes.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Air Jordan XII Retro - White/Red

Jordan Brand released a slew of Air Jordan XII (12) retros this year, some of which were a slap in the face to collectors (Nubucks) and some that had some lame controversy around them (Rising Suns) and some that radically changed materials (flu games), but after a year of releasing 12s, I think they saved the best for last. This white/varsity-red/black Jordan 12 is a classic and they didn't screw it up one bit.

The Air Jordan 12 (XII) is the signature sneaker Michael Jordan wore in the 1996/1997 season when he led the Chicago Bulls to a 69–11 record, their 5th of 6 NBA Championship titles (the middle year of their second three-peat) and earned his 5th of 6 NBA Finals MVP award. Jordan was so dominating, so crushing during those years--and so were his sneakers. The shoes of the second three-peat era (XI, XII, XIII) are some of the best designed, most loved of the Jordan line.

The Air Jordan 12 was originally released in five colorways. The shoe, designed by legendary Nike/Jordan designer Tinker Hatfield, was inspired by 19th century womans' dress boots and the Japanese Rising Sun flag, which you can see in the style of the ribbed leather stitching. The design is even carried past the leather and into the rubber midsole, making it seem as if the lines reach all the way to the ground. The tongue features the Jumpman logo and the unique "TWO 3" text denoting Michael's jersey number, and the Jumpman is even integrated into the front of the sole. From a technology standpoint, the XII was the first Air Jordan sneaker to feature the Nike Zoom Air unit, a tighter and more responsive air system than the older air technology. Lotsa great details in this shoe, but it still retains a clean and uncluttered overall look.

One important historical note: 1997 is the year Nike launched Jordan Brand as a stand-alone subsidiary, so the XII was the first Air Jordan that didn't have a Nike Swoosh or logo visible anywhere on the shoe, including the insole. Since then, no Jordans have had a Nike Swoosh on them, and JB has even gone so far as to remove them from most older Retros, replacing it with the Jumpman. The only Jordan left with the Swoosh is the Jordan I which, of course has the Swoosh integrated into the design.

The Air Jordan 12 (XII) Retro white/varsity-red/black sneaker has an official release date December 19. Of course, as you can see here since I took these photos, I got mine early thanks to a hook up from a buddy. Thanks, T.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nike Zoom Hustle

Sure, the Nike Zoom Hustle is a new sneaker design for the 2009/2010 basketball season, but the story goes deeper than that: The Zoom Hustle part of the new Nike "Refresh" product line where they take classic Nike sneakers and "refresh" them for modern performance and aesthetic appeal. In this particular case, they refreshed the 2001 Nike Air Hyperflight--you can see it in the overall profile, the shiny patent leather material choice, the shape around the ankles, and on a more subtle note the adhesion to minimalism like the original Hyperflights exhibited.

There are several colorways available, but the yellow was the one I had to cop--these trip people out when they see me out wearing em because they're just CRAZY GAUDY. Are they my most attention-grabbing shoes? Yeah, probably so. Shock value to the max.

By the way, Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs (you know, the guy married to Eva Longoria) has a pair of these in gray/black really, I'm not into P.E.s but come on--who wouldn't wanna be in Tony Parker's shoes?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Nike x DQM Air Max 90 Current Huarache

There's a long story behind these sneakers, but before I get into all that, let me just say that these are without a doubt the most comfortable pair of shoes I own. The neoprene sock is soft and squishy and squeezy, the forefoot has incredible movement thanks to the Nike Free sole, and of course impact is minimized with the Nike Air unit in the heel. Honestly I can't believe how soft and squishy these are; they feel comfy like a pair house slippers more than they do sneakers.

I did buy a half-size larger (11.5) than I normally wear (11), which is actually a full-size larger than my feet really are (10.5) so if you're planning on buying Air Max 90 Current Huaraches, take that into consideration. I purchased these at Adikt Footwear in the West Village shopping district in Uptown Dallas. Darren, the shop owner at Adikt, also tried these on and said they felt like they ran a bit small too, so it's not just me.

Alright, so here's that long story:

About five years ago, Nike released a Air Max 90 sneaker nicknamed the "Bacon" designed by Dave's Quality Meat, a famous Nike Tier 0 sneaker shop in NYC (which I visited/blogged about here). Get it? Bacon...Dave's Quality Meat...bacon colored sneakers....butcher-inspired sneaker shop? Yeah, well the kicks were hot and a whole lotta people slept on em when they first dropped but nowadays they sell on eBay for $500/pair. It's a certified classic sneaker colab.

Now around two years ago, Nike released another Air Max 90 collab called the "HUFquake" designed by HUF out in San Francisco, another one of the rare Nike Tier 0 shops. Get it? Crackly lines....earthquake....San Francisco. Yeah, well these too became a sneaker classic.

So now, fast-forward to today.

Nike has introduced several sets of high-end, out-of-the-ordinary sneakers in what they've dubbed "Rivals Packs", usually focused on some aspect of an EAST-WEST rivalry. Lots of celebrity sneakerheads have been involved in the project like DJ Clark Kent and DJ Premier repin the East Coast, and Eddie Cruz and DJ AM (RIP) repin the West Coast. There have also been a few seemingly random EAST-WEST Rivals that have dropped without much name recognition behind them.

As part of this ongoing EAST-WEST "Rival Packs" series, Nike created a pair of rivals that take their inspiration from the original designs of the famous Bacon and the HUFquake sneakers--perfect "rivals" since both shops are Tier 0 and each rep a different coast. As an update, Nike switched from doing a straight retro of the shoes and instead applied the respective colorways to the new Air Max 90 Current Huarache.

As you can see, the new models are obvious descendants of the originals but don't just straight ape 'em; in both cases, the colors used are the same but they're applied differently and feel a bit darker overall.

As for the new shoes themselves: the new Air Max 90 Current Huarache is hybrid of two shoes: the overall profile and sole of the Air Max 90 Current (which itself is a hybrid of two shoes, the original Tinker Hatfield designed Air Max 90 and the Bruce Kilgore designed Air Current, updated with a Nike Free sole) fused with the neoprene sock, toebox, and rear strap of the 1991 Nike Air Huarache. Nike even went the extra mile and replaced the thick plastic strap of the Huarache with a thin and light Flywire strap. The end result is a supremely comfortable shoe built using modern technology but with a retro profile that's still very reminiscent of the original shoes they're modeled after.

The DQM Bacon-inspired EAST colorway was released as a Quickstrike on November 27th to select Nike retailers. If you're in Dallas, stop by and see Darren at Adikt Footwear to see if they've got any left in your size. Better hurry though, Quickstrikes are always limited in quantity and sell out fast.

The HUFquake-inspired WEST colorway supposedly hasn't hit the streets yet (originally should have dropped in October), although it's rumored to be coming out as a Christmas release, so it could potentially drop any day now. Or later, who knows. Guess I'll try to pick that one up if/when it drops, too.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Wu-Tang Dekline sneakers

If you know anything about my taste in music, then you know I'm a big Wu-Tang clan fan, easily one of my favorite groups of all time. And of course if you know me at all, you know I got this sneaker thing, right? Ha ha. Yeah so here's the best of both worlds: Wu-Tang sneakers! This obviously ain't the first time the Wu have done up a sneaker (Wu Dunks, anyone?) but it's the first ones I've been able to put my hands on. Truth be told, I actually almost missed out on these. When they dropped a month ago, I decided not to chase them but then when my buddy Tom mentioned he cop'd em, my jealously kicked up to high gear and I had to go chase down a pair. Ended up snaggin 'em from Active Ride Shop outta So Cal.

These Dekline Belmonts are a limited collab of just 500 pairs between Dekline sneakers, Rival Skate Shop in NYC, and the Wu-Tang (through Oli "Power" Grant, one of the Wu-Tang managers). Oddly enough, I found out about these sneakers from following the RZA on Twitter--don't ever say Twitter is pointless, LOL. Dekline is known pretty heavily in the skate scene, but they don't really make sneakers just for skaters; that's just who they seem to be the most popular with. Guess that's why I didn't know anything about them till these were announced since I ain't connected to the skate scene at all.

The colorway of these sneakers is called "Killa Beez, Black and Yellow" which, come on, could they be any other color? The detail work on these are incredible; black leather with yellow accents, including inside the perfs which is just sick as hell; the Wu-tang logo on the tongue and on the gold lace locks; the Wu-Tang name on the heel; the Ws on the insole; even the gold embossed Dekline logo adds to the look. They even threw in a Dekline keychain.

All in all, these sneakers kill, and they'll go great with one of my favorite tees, that Wu-Tang Manifest shirt that I blogged about way back when. Seriously, I get more comments from random people on that shirt than any other tee I own.

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