Today In Hip Hop History: Nike Dropped Air Yeezys In Retail Stores 14 Years Ago
On this date in 2009, “Yeezy, Yeezy Yeezy just jumped over Jumpman.”
The above line comes from music and fashion mogul Kanye West’s “Facts” track from his The Life Of Pablo LP, which was actually released in 2016. West landed a new deal with Adidas for his Yeezy brand, but the original sneaker was released by Nike seven years prior.
Four years later, West switched brands, With his Yeezy sneaker gaining the lion’s share of its popularity under the Adidas umbrella. Despite the long-promised line of Kanye-Nike collaborative products like the Air Yeezy II Red Octobers, Kanye is severed ties with the company after producing just two shoes in five years.
“I said, ‘Well I need royalties.’ It’s not even like I have a joint venture. At least give me some royalties. Michael Jordan has 5 percent and that business is $2 billion. He makes a $100 million dollars a year off of 5 percent royalties,” West said. “Nike told me, ‘We can’t give you royalties because you’re not a professional athlete.’ I told them, ‘I go to the Garden and play one-on-no one. I’m a performance athlete.’”
Unable to come to a compromise, Yeezus jumped ship and headed over to a competitor, Adidas. “The old me, without a daughter, would have taken the Nike deal because I just love Nikes so much,” Kanye said in his Angie Martinez Hot97 interview. “But the new me, with a daughter, takes the Adidas deal because I have royalties and I have to provide for my family.”