By Bones Lawley
Late last year, Drake, pop-rap’s soup du jour, signed a partnership deal with Air Jordan. After years of seeding their product with influential entertainers on the downlow, Jordan Brand proudly announced their first contracted non-athlete. They quickly fired up the hype machine with a couple of Jordan 10 and 12 stingray-skinned renditions that Drizzy dished out to his closest compadres. The only non-Drake-fam civilians to touch a pair were a couple of folks at a basketball game that he gifted pairs to. Both grateful chosen ones tried to cash in on their priceless sneaks immediately, and their eBay auctions comically surpassed $100K in bidding. Though we hope no money changed hands on those transactions, it was pretty clear sneakerheads were hot for anything the rapster put his name to.
We didn’t see further fruits from the colab deal for months, and by April 1st, people were well primed for some Drake x Jordan gossip. I’d noticed sneaker blogs always seemed to avoid April Fool’s, but it made no sense to me – there’s a large captive audience and the blog is the font of wisdom, the source of all knowledge. Where there is trust there is room to abuse it – that’s what April Fool’s Day is all about.
We considered colouring up an adidas Y-3 Qasa in all-red and pretending it was legitimately Kanye’s first release for adidas. Then it turned out another website had already done it in a hypothetical piece on what that colab could result in. Damn. Were people tired of all the Kanye talk anyway though? We were, and we knew most people were at least sick of the sound of his voice. But who could cause a similar ruckus with a sham story involving sneakers? Maybe the dude who was outselling him at the tour box office at the time – the OVO Don Dada himself.
Drake’s fledgling record label/secret society known as ‘October’s Very Own’ is partial to black and gold as a colour palette. Members are often seen mobbing out in dark sweaters with a gilded Owl hieroglyph blown up on the chest. The colours of the sham sneaker had to be black and gold, obviously, and that owl had to be on there too. I continued the most feasible line of thinking by picking the Air Jordan 6 as the base model. Drizzy already had his own AJ10 and 12, and the 6 was celebrating its 23rd anniversary with a stack of releases in 2014 – it made sense that a big name would give it their golden touch. Our gifted intern, Bolaji Teniola, was given the top-secret assignment. ‘Render me a black and gold Jordan 6, splice a couple of colourways together if you have to. Get that midsole slash nice and shiny, 1 million karats, same goes for the laces and the accents up top. Then whack the OVO owl on the side. There’s two dim sims in this for you if you nail it.’
After a few setbacks, I suggested that he should probably just give up, but he refused – he’d heard far too many Michael Jordan quotes on overcoming adversity for that. He turned out his finest Photoshop creation of all time and we posted the story. I wrote a ridiculous blurb about there being 1.5 million pairs manufactured (can you really ever see Jordan Brand, prophets of the limited release profit, doing that?), included an exclusive quote from Drake about what he likes on his cheese platter, and even linked the source of the photo to the Wikipedia entry on April Fool’s Day.
I wanted to make a joke and have a laugh with our audience. However, in this age of picture peeking and scanning content – not reading it and thinking about it – we made fools out of thousands of people. The Facebook post for the story rapidly racked up a record of likes and comments, and several reputable blogs re-posted the piece with their own commentary, not even blinking at the idea that so many pairs would be made. Many people even put aside their personal distaste for Drake and acknowledged he had created a dope sneaker and they wanted it.
A day later we confessed to the scam. A few of our followers were blushingly angry at us for getting their hopes up, but most took it in good fun. In our reveal, we jokingly challenged Jordan to make the shoe, because there was clearly a demand for it.
A few months later, on our usual daily e-trawl for news, we spotted our Drake Jordan in the fabric flesh. The hype machine’s fuse was ignited again! A sample bearing unmistakable similarities to our design, right down to the owl logo, showed up on an established Chinese website that regularly posts pre-release Jordans direct from the factories.
The sneaker blogosphere got a hold of it, and a few sites even claimed a release date was set – Drake’s birthday in October – the same novelty date we had used in our April Fool’s post. Could Jordan Brand have actually thought, ‘Well, Sneaker Freaker, that’s actually a kickass idea. Thanks for doing our job for us. Let’s make ‘em.’
Surely not? We haven’t heard anything since. If it was a counterfieit, we’ll still take that as a dodgy compliment – someone still made our April Fool’s Joke into a reality. But if it is you Jordan Brand, and you’ve still got time, pull that owl graphic around to the lateral side and switch up the suede for some smooth black leather.
#Thank Me Later.