Hip-hop and fashion have always shared an unbreakable bond: even in the genre’s early days of the 1980s, a rapper wouldn’t be caught dead without the latest streetwear on. It’s only natural that this symbiotic relationship blossomed into lucrative collaborations with clothing brands.
Now, you have a chance to own a piece of this rap-fashion history. If you’re a Wu-Tang Clan fan with a love of kicks, and a fat enough wallet, you could be the new owner of a pair of 1-of-36 1999 Wu-Tang x Nike Dunk Highs: all for the low, low price of $50,000 USD.
The significance of this shoe cannot be understated: its 1999 release saw Wu-Tang Clan and Nike become pioneers of the rap-fashion collaboration movement. Two years after dropping their most successful album, Wu-Tang Forever, and four years after starting their own clothing brand, ‘Wu Wear’, the iconic rap collective celebrated their prestige by teaming up with Nike to release the Wu-Tang x Nike Dunk High.
The collaboration came as part of a re-release of Nike’s 1998 ‘Be True’ collection, with a Wu-Tang twist. Made from premium leather with a classic ‘Black/Goldenrod’ palette that matched the yellow and black colour scheme of Wu-Tang iconography, the Dunk Highs also sported the group’s logo on the tongues and lateral-rear quarters.
It is reported that only 36 were ever produced: a fitting number, considering it matches the Wu-Tang’s 1993 debut album, Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers). Today, a size US 9 can be found on e-commerce merchant Justin Reed’s website for that staggering $50k price tag.
It’s not the first time that Wu-Tang have kept their products scarce: in 2015, the seventh Wu studio album, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin had only a single CD copy produced, which was auctioned and sold to Martin Shkreli, the CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals.
After Shkreli was convicted in 2018 for securities fraud, the album was seized by the U.S Department of Justice, and sold in 2021 to NFT collectors PleasrDAO for $4 million.
Compared to $4 million, paying $50,000 for the Dunk Highs seems a lot more achievable. For rap fans, it’s a small price to pay for the opportunity to strut around with an antique of Wu-Tang history on.
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