Drake sings on Views, ‘petty bullshit shouldn’t excite you on your birthday’. And while he’s right that it shouldn’t, it does. So, for The Boy’s upcoming album (Certified Lover Boy) and 35th next month, we’re celebrating by recapping one of the pettiest moments in his sneaker journey.
While Drizzy is living out the lyrics to ‘Ratchet Happy Birthday’ somewhere in The 6, we’re looking back at what the hell happened during his Three Stripe saga. From the first word on the street, to him ‘keeping it g’ about Yeezy BOOST 350s, this a timeline of Drake’s fling with adidas.
WORD ON ROAD
It all began with a whisper in February, 2018. Sole Collector cited ‘multiple footwear industry sources’ as delivering the news, and the rumour mill almost spun off its axle. Could the guy who dropped ‘Jumpman’ be dropping the Jumpman? It seemed wild, but it didn’t take long for proof to come in.
A YEEZY TOUCH
The first instance of Drake stepping away from the Swoosh was a calculated one. In an Instagram post on March 7, Drake appeared at OVO Mark’s birthday wearing Yeezy Military Boots. He technically wasn't laced in adidas, but he was still showing support for Team Trefoil.
APRIL'S VERY OWN
By April, Drake’s Nike/adidas relationship was showing all the tropes of a recent break-up. He was proving just how much he didn’t need one by making a flurry of public appearances with the other. He sunk threes in Crazy 2s, performed in ‘Blush’ Yeezy 500s, wore Yeezy Season 4 Boots to basketball games, and attended the Fendi FF launch in Deerupts.
He seemed especially fond of ‘Core White’ UltraBOOSTs, Invincible’s NMD colab and the Climacool, which he wore to numerous Raptors games, dined in at LA’s Tosconova restaurant, and crouched in to race Odell Beckham. By the end of the month, there was no question that Drake was trying to send Nike a message: 'You ain't the only one that's trying to be the only one'.
MARCUS JORDAN TROLLING
Some people took offence to Drake's roundabout Jordan Brand slander, especially MJ’s son Marcus. On May 4, Lil Jordan reposted a troll on Twitter cursing Drake to be ‘stuck in adidas kicks… forever’. This was the first word from anyone close to either adidas or Jordan Brand confirming things were awry. It’s not clear whether Drake saw the tweet, but he seemed to — his IG was suddenly populated with a litany of shots showing him wearing three-striped clothing and the pettiest of grins.
Before the rift grew between Drake and Jordan Brand, the two were working on a few collaborations. Pairs were already in production and dumped versions started to appear online. The first were ‘Splatter’ Air Jordan 4s wearing the OVO owl on the back of their tongue tag, followed by 4s in Raptors colours with Drake’s signature lurking under the Jumpman logo on the tongue. A ‘UNC’ Air Jordan 14 with OVO motifs appeared in June, and the ‘Raptors’ 4s eventually released (sans signature) on August 18.
Here’s where things started to get rough for Drake. After responding to a slight in Pusha T’s new album with ‘Duppy Freestyle’, Drake was surgically dismantled in ‘The Story of Adidon’. The song came in late May and dropped the bombshell that Drake was hiding a child called Adonis. Speculation unfolded that Drake was planning on revealing Adonis to the world with his new album and adidas colab — but Pusha T saying 'he deserves more than an adidas press run’ ended all that.
From this moment, Drake’s fun with adidas was soured. He was warring with Kanye’s camp, who made up most of adidas’ rap endorsements. Just last week Pusha spoke on barring Drake’s entry to adidas, saying that he, Kanye and Pharrell were ‘the gatekeepers’.
During his adidas dalliance, Drake had worn Nike a few times to keep people guessing, but by the time he appeared at Wimbledon in July wearing ‘Triple White’ Air Max 97s, everyone knew it was over. By late July, Drake was posting OVO x Nike singlets, and by August he was disavowing adidas by rapping ‘Checks over stripes’ on Travis Scott’s ‘Sicko Mode’. Days after that, he shared the first fruit of his return to Nike — a pair of unseen TNs he would wear during his ‘Aubrey and the Three Migos’ tour.
Interestingly, this wasn’t the only TN he’d cooked up. After the tour TNs appeared, OG Air Max Plus designer Sean McDowell shared a pair, saying they were ‘Drake’s spin on the OG’. McDowell soon deleted the post, and the release was officially revealed by Playboi Carti.
KEEPING IT G
Though Pusha killed Drizzy’s relationship, Drake was the one to put the last nail in the coffin. Refusing to take an olive branch extended by Kanye after the G.O.O.D. Music beef, Drake featured on French Montana’s ‘No Stylist’ to throw shots at Yeezy brand. ‘If I’m keeping it G, I told her don’t wear no 350s ‘round me.’
The hard stance has turned the Drake/adidas rift into a ravine and cemented his allegiance to Nike. Though, with a Trefoil tryst in their past, and no clear collaborations in their future, it remains to be seen whether the two will get off on the right foot.