Arguably the most influential music genre in the world, hip-hop is huge. And, like other genres, it spawns its own legion of hoarders, obsessives and completists. Meet two of them. In Promo Only, a pair of very experienced, well-connected and utterly addicted hip-hop journalists reveal the items that drive collectors crazy.
It tells the story of the music's rich heritage through a range of rare items in a beautifully curated cornucopia of the authors' (and their peers') huge collections of hip-hop ephemera, clothing, press photos, rare promo posters, T-shirts, hats, toys, sneakers and more, gathered over 30 years. From Run DMC sweatshirts to Eminem sneakers, unreleased records to Public Enemy dolls, genuine Wu-Tang 'killer' bees to Def Jam jackets, they're all here. Andrew and Dan have opened their own cupboards, boxes and storage units, but have also reached out to a legion of international rap nerds to ensure that this is the cream of rap collectibles. With items photographed exclusively for this collection and complete with notes that shed even more light on these covetable artefacts, Promo Only is the fruit of a combined 60 years of being in love with hip-hop.
Nike Air Max Burst ‘Air Slim Shady’ - 2003
Eminem has a long history of collaboration with Nike, with over a dozen different sneaker launches between 2003 and 2008 alone. Some of the ‘Charity Series’ shoes are of a hen’s teeth rarity (there are all of 8 pairs of the Air Max 95’s designed by his manager, Paul Rosenberg) but this was the very first pair he worked on. A simple grey colourway in mesh and suede, with the Eminem ‘E’ logo on the sockliner and outsole. As Rosenberg recalls, “We were on tour when the opportunity arose, and the Nike reps met with us in L.A. backstage to start the design process.
Nike show up with several models of Air Max shoes, and Marshall zeroed in on the Burst immediately because it was one of his favourites. But all of the samples they brought were this monochrome grey colour, like showing you the shoe in a neutral tone so that you could envision designs with a blank slate. This was before NikeID and all that, remember. So Em is like, “What’s wrong with it being all grey like that? I love it”. So, the Nike folks were like “um, yeah!” and they let him pick out the materials and encouraged a few white accents and there you have it - Air Slim Shady, Eminem’s first official Nike collaboration.”
These people are helping to fund Promo Only: A Visual History of Hip-Hop Memorabilia.