Few sneakers in hip-hop history will hold the same vaunted role as Air Force 1. First introduced in the early 1980s by Nike as a basketball shoe, the AF1 became a beloved fan, and a hard-to-find one at that, welcomed from the onset by some of the boldest personalities of the genre across the East Coast and especially in New York City. (The Roc-A-Fella crew — famous for purchasing bulk sneakers and picking them after one wear — was praised for their dedication with their own AF1 signature first launched in 1999 and now the cornerstone of any real enthusiastic collection.)
The shoe ‘s found a deserving upholder of its reputation in G Herbo, the Chicago-born rapper. The 24-year-old MC may be a little too young to recall the heyday of the sneaker among the Harlem hip-hop crowd in the ’90s, but rest assured their style dedication is secure in his possession. His passion for the style was overwhelming. This is a guy who nonchalantly admitted to having some 80 to 100 all-white AF1s at the moment with the same casualness as you would say a friend you copped, say, a new Tupperware.
And, similar to his lyrically talented contemporaries, Herbo typically subscribes to the standard AF1 type Dame Dash prep, i.e. wear them once and then never wear them again. Except, that is, he’s christened G-Fazos for the custom AF1 styles — a tribute to his late friend Fazon Robinson — and plans to hang on for the long haul.
In his 2002 song of the same name, Nelly’s ode to the style is about as good of an endorsement as you can get, but if G Herbo ‘s collection is any indicator, the sneaker’s infatuation with hip-hop is not dying out anytime soon.
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