In 1986 Run DMC released the song “My Adidas”. Run DMC had been heavily criticized for wearing shoes with no laces, and for promoting stereotypes. So the rap group wrote a song called “My Adidas”. The wrote this song because as DMC stated “Yeah, we wear Adidas with no laces, we got gold chains, we got Cazals and all of that, but I go to St. John’s University.
The song meant something to them. The song meant something to the masses who followed Run DMC, and rocked the shelltop Adidas to show their connection with the group. It was a way of saying “don’t judge us by what we have on, or by what we look like.” It was a moment when being a rapper, being a b-boy, being poor, being from the streets didn’t mean you had no hope. It meant that you could wear your Adidas on the stage at “Live Aid” and still have people applaud. Run DMC showed that you could be who you are and sign million dollar contracts. “My Adidas” was a song that debunked stereotypes and inspired people. I have never wore Adidas in my life, but in 1986 ‘My Adidas’ meant something to me.
Adidas partnered with Run DMC to form a clothing line of their own. It was this song and Run-DMC’s attitude that showed that Hip Hop was not just a form of music, or some lyrics put on a page. Run DMC showed that Hip Hop was a lifestyle. Since 1986, many artist and entertainers have followed the model set by Run DMC. Adidas was the first company to reap the benefits of hip-hop marketing, and hip hop expanded by a partnership with corporate America.
The entire history of Run DMC is a series of firsts…
- The first rap act to chart in the Top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100 more than once
- The first rap artist with a Top 10 pop charting rap album
- The first with a R & B charting album
- The first rap artist with gold, platinum and multi-platinum albums
- The first rap act to appear on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine
- The first rap act to receive a Grammy Award nomination
- The first rap act to make a video appearance on MTV
- The first rap act to perform at a major arena
Fast forward to 2012 and Adidas now sponsors a hip hop artist called Two Chainz, another average rapper, with a major contract, who has just released his first album. Unfortunately this sponsorship seems more like pissing all over hip hop and it’s history, and the struggle of those that came before. Business are smart to look at a fan base and seek to capitalize off of it. These corporations don’t care if an artist has talent,or what they are saying, they just want access to the fan base and the rappers oblige them. Rappers as unproven commodities with lyrics devoid of meaning proudly hawk perfumes, clothes, liquor, colognes, headphones, ect…because they were never told where they came from, so they have no idea of where they should be going. They turned on the television, or went to youtube and saw other people had done and they copied that and become just another produced rapper.
Hip Hop is something you live
There is no struggle, no heart, no art, it’s a business. That’s all it means to them, that’s all their fans mean to them. Hip Hop means nothing to them, you can hear their passionless voices clinging to a hook. You can see it in their videos and the issues they do not speak on. They have taken the money, in exchange for the meaning. They have taken promotion over the substance and this is why these partnerships, no matter how much capital is put into them, mean absolutely nothing. They are all in such a rush to be just another rapper that history will forget.
Is it the partnership with corporate America that has caused the meaning to leave hip hop?
Was it Run DMC’s promotion of materialism, Hip Hip’s ultimately ruination?
Does Hip Hop simply not have any meaning left in it?
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