2016 has been a phenomenal year for adidas. Having dominated every month on the calendar with an insane list of instant sell-out successes, the Three Stripes have created the greatest impact in the sneaker-sphere through their collaborations with forward-thinking creatives including the likes of Raf Simmons, Pharrell Williams and A Bathing Ape founder NIGO. In 2014, adidas Originals announced that they were signing rapper Pusha T to the brand, serving up his first colab with the brand, a creamy EQT Running Guidance 93, not more than a week after the announcement. In 2015, the GOOD Music president revealed a jet-black Guidance follow-up dubbed the 'Black Market'.
In 2016, Push is cementing himself as the King of EQT, releasing the very first EQT Ultra Boost PK under the name 'Grayscale'. With Push in Miami for the launch of #TLKS, we made the trek out to the Sunshine State to get the low on his latest colab, his EQT obsession and the struggles of making the perfect colourway.
Congratulations on colab number three! You said that this is the best one…
Man, did I say that?
You did! [All laugh] Not to say that the others weren’t good, but you seemed super excited about this one.
This one is special because – being honest – the first two were just my nuances that I put on an OG silhouette. For this one, we stepped out of the box. We added Boost technology, we added Primeknit. It was more of a risk, you know? I felt like people were going to relate to the nostalgia of the first two, but I didn’t necessarily know how they would feel about this one. To me it wasn’t a lay-up, though it could have been perceived as one. So, that’s why I was ecstatic about it. Especially when they finally revealed it. I was sitting here watching everything, thinking ‘Oh shit! They like that!’. The pre-reveal got a lot of great feedback.
Each of your colabs has come out at a time when adidas as a brand has been perceived in a different way. Have you noticed a shift in energy at adi through these times?
The energy in working with my team at adidas is really good. Being that this is the third installment, I feel like everybody is comfortable with everybody. I was just telling somebody that I got shut down so good the other day for a colourway that I wanted to do. Totally machine-gunned me! I don’t know if they’d machine-gun me initially going in. We have like a rapport, you know? We can kick it. It is what it is and I respect it. I respect the fact that we can have those conversations. I respect the honesty and it gives me the comfort in knowing that everybody is trying to put out the best product. Nobody wants to fuck up the legacy of what Pusha T colabs and adidas have done.
How bad was the colourway? It must have been an abomination!
Listen, they choppered… CHOPPERED me down! Mind you it came out on the eve of all this, so they were probably thinking ‘Why are you even talking to us about another anything right now? We’re getting THIS together.’
I don’t want to say what the colourway is, because I’ve got this ‘super’ picture in my mind. My colabs all come from stories. I have a story I want to capture and that story involved a colour, so I would still like to see it through. If it can happen, then it’ll happen. But at the same time, I do take my team’s expertise into account and they were very, VERY adamant that it was bad. [Laughs]
A lot of people think it is easy to create a really amazing colourway, but there’s been so many shoes in the last ten years alone that it gets really hard to make something distinctive that hasn’t been done before – but doesn’t look completely nuts!
The funny thing about it is when the samples arrive. The shade can ruin everything. You can say something as simple as ‘I want this in all grey’ or whatever the case may be, but you’ll get back a dark hue of grey and it’ll ruin everything. It’s been learning things like that and going through the sampling process that have let me know that this is not as easy as everybody thinks. I’ve got a lot of respect for the creators man – the creators who really do it.
So far you’ve stuck to the EQT family for your colabs. Is there another adidas franchise that you want to explore?
Not right now. I feel like with this being the third one – and with everything they’ve put into this presentation – that I am more and more becoming the face of EQT. So, no. I want to own that space and expand on it. This is the first time this hybrid has even been done so let's see where it can go from here, can you keep taking it to the next step? Matter of fact the pressure is on because doing something else and adding whatever Pusha T nuances on it. Now you’re doing something cheaper. You start at one place, you took the one hype and now you're regressing. So, I don’t think I should be exploring that right now.
Would you call yourself a collector?
No, I don’t think I’m a collector. I’ve been getting sneakerhead questions and I’m like ‘damn!’ I had a terrible passion – like every kid where I was from – for having fresh kicks. If you had two pairs of jeans and four shirts then you were cool! If you had a couple pairs of kicks that were fresh, that was it! That’s how it started. That’s how we had to make it happen. The passion for sneakers has been there since day one. I never held on to them or shrink-wrapped them. I just didn’t. It has always been about getting it, buying it, wearing it, showing it and moving on to the next one. I have a tonne of shoes. I have a godson that comes over and he’ll go through my shoes and he’s like ‘those are those and those are those’ and I can’t stand it! [Laughs]
You’re about to perform in an arena to thousands. What sort of energy and emotions goes through your mind?
I flew in yesterday, just to do a walkthrough. A rehearsal of how they had laid it all out and I was super impressed that Adidas has invested so much into both this colab and into me. They haven’t spared any expense and they’ve just let their creativity run wild. It really makes me feel like I’m apart of a family over here. Honestly, makes me feel that they enjoy watching the growth of Pusha T.
The Pusha T x adidas EQT Ultra Boost PK 'Grayscale' will be available December 3 through select adidas Originals stockists globally.