For Jordan Brand, there are few releases quite like the Air Jordan 4 “Raptors.” Many of their sneakers come with stories already attached, embedded in historical context tracing back to the brand mothership — Michael Jordan. Uniquely, the “Raptors” are rich in a narrative of the now.
Steeped in rap beef and brand affiliation via a story that’s yet to completely unfold, the shoe was originally revealed months ago with promise of it being Drake‘s latest Jordan Brand collaboration. Yet soon thereafter rumors of the Toronto native leaving Jordan for adidas began to run rampant, and the early images of the shoe with Drake’s signature at the tongue quickly began to feel antiquated. And they were. In turn, new images of the shoe would soon circulate without said signature, only the apparent “Raptors” visualized through the color makeup likened to the NBA expansion team of the ’90s.
While that story alone is enough for a stellar Hollywood ending, the waters proved even murkier when Drake’s looming adidas partnership was apparently debunked when Pusha T and Kanye West, adidas brand partners, both shared in a rap beef exposing plans of Drake’s new adidas deal and its subsequent rollout. It all demonstrated too much to overcome, reportedly landing Drake back where he began, with Jordan Brand.
As for the Air Jordan 4 “Raptors” release this weekend, a duality remains between the sneaker and Drake. Although his signature won’t grace the shoe’s tongue as it once did, its very essence is entrenched in the Toronto culture that he lived and famously helped popularize. His name need not adorn the general release shoe for his inspiration to be both felt and seen.
“Raptors” 4s will be available this Saturday, August 18, on Nike SNKRS at 10am EDT. They’re priced just slightly above traditional retro Jordan retail at $200 USD.
Air Jordan 4 “Raptors”
Colorway: Black/University Red-Court Purple
Style #: AQ3816-056
Release Date: August 18, 2018