At the beginning of its history, hip-hop was a subculture of the urban minorities. In such a way, they created their style that allowed these people to express themselves. The times changed, and this relatively small style became a mainstream, combining old and young people of all nations. Moreover, it had a significant influence on the development of American culture. Everything including music, dance, dress and street talk defined the direction of hip-hop. It entered the world alongside the Air Jordan snickers culture that represents the black youth style. From the very beginning, these shoes depicted the appeal and success of black men and gained high popularity. Today, the hip-hop artists usually wear Air Jordan snickers as an indispensable attribute of their style. Although the street culture is often criticized, it managed to accede to the hip-hop and Air Jordan sneakers cultures, taking the top positions in the modern world.
The history of hip-hop music started in 1970s in New York City. The young citizens looked for ways to reflect their lifestyles and the social realities of their time. As a result, it gave birth to a new cultural product that achieved much since its foundation. However, the foundation does not mean creation as one can trace the roots of the rap in African and African-American music and oral tradition. Thus, there are various versions of the emergence of hip-hop. The most popular one says that the birthplace of hip-hop is a South Bronx and the father of the style is DJ Kool Herc (Swanson, 2010). At the beginning, the hip-hop culture included four elements: “graffiti writing, break dancing, emceeing and DJing” (Scism, 2009). First of all, it gave birth to such hip-hop music styles as rap and beatboxing. Soon, after creation of the hip-hop music, one more essential constituent of this culture appeared. It was a hip-hop dance, rhythmic, moving and strongly connected to the beat of music. These new forms of dancing, as well as styles of clothing, arose due to the fans supporting this developing music style.
In all times, the attitude of a public towards the hip-hop music and culture was controversial. It was a result of the violent lyrics in the songs of many rappers. As the rap auditory became wider, the propagation of violence could cause tremendous consequences. Quite often, people blamed rappers for many negative social and criminal events, saying that they resulted from hip-hop culture. However, rappers continued to use theme about violence in their songs as those critics did not understand their message. Indeed, hip-hop singers want to depict the political and social problems in the country by means of using these images. However, unfortunately, they often meet misunderstanding. Until recently, the hip-hop culture was rather notorious since it was connected with selling drugs, violence or life in the streets. However, now the situation is quite another as currently, this culture relates to the wide range of people who are intelligent, educated, but still like this music style. This new level enhanced the prospering of hip-hop style and led to the creation of new songs.
The hip-hop culture undeniably entered the modern culture and obtained a strong position in it. The words that once used to be slang became so widespread that people even do not mention how often they use them. Furthermore, one can hear them on the radio, television, and other mass media. The clothing style became prominent as well. Today, the traditional rappers’ clothes have a large audience of those who prefer it. People often wear tracksuits, hoodies, and sneakers as they want to express their culture in the look. In addition, many of the world famous hip-hop stars designed their lines of clothes, shoes or fragrance and had success.
The hip-hop culture always had a strong relationship with sneakers. To some extent, those two notions helped each other to get the current prominence and recognition. Among the wide variety of sneakers, the Air Jordan ones were always top popular as they developed alongside the hip-hop culture. The footwear company Nike presented the first line of Air Jordan sneakers in 1985 (Chertoff, 2012). They designed these sneakers for Michael Jordan, who took part in the Olympic Games in Los Angeles and won a gold medal. The introduction of these basketball shoes was a milestone in the development of a sneaker industry. However, in the following decades, the Air Jordan sneaker market radically shifted to black players specifically. Since that time, the Air Jordan sneakers became integrally associated with the black street culture and hip-hop in particular.
The rappers preferred those sneakers as they were inseparably linked with the perfect Jordan’s performance. Moreover, they were comfortable and practical, reflecting the most significant requirements of a hip-hop culture. The Air Jordan sneakers were completely different from any other ones and beneficially highlighted the masculine appeal of their owner. In addition, the main reason for the development of Air Jordan sneaker culture was their black cultural attractiveness since many famous black celebrities owned them. As a result, the Air Jordan sneakers became an integral part of the arising hip-hop culture and remain closely connected with it until today. Today, it is difficult to imagine the black youth culture without a pair of Air Jordan sneakers, and this image is not bad. It helps those people to believe in themselves despite the color of skin, and lets them be proud of their national identity.
The black juvenile culture greatly centers on the basketball, whereas Michael Jordan is like an icon of a successful black man. That is why the culture of Air Jordan sneakers got such a huge appreciation and promotion among black people. Besides, this culture spreads to a wide audience and combines people of all nations nowadays (Cutler, 2014). Rappers include references to Air Jordan sneakers in the lyrics, devote them the entire songs and often wear them at their concerts, inspiring others to follow this growing culture. This fact makes the Air Jordan sneakers culture primary influential among the modern black people and all other supporters of the hip-hop style.
The emergence of hip-hop and Air Jordan sneakers cultures had a sufficient background that helped them to develop. It was a street culture that developed within many years and needed to express itself somehow. The black minorities in the inner cities had their values and styles that were not similar to the general ones. Thus, the development of the hip-hop style let those people open themselves and create a unique culture. Also, the beginning of hip-hop style refers to the Air Jordan sneakers that became a symbol of this culture. They developed together, and it is impossible to imagine one without other. Today, hip-hop is something more than just a music style. Nowadays, it is a lifestyle that reflects many social and cultural aspects of the modern world life. The hip-hop music artists usually take top positions in the various music charts, thus showing that this culture experiences its peak. In fact, hip-hop got much critique since its foundation, but despite that it became a mainstream nowadays. All the means of hip-hop expression including songs, dance, snickers and others carry their message to the world, and those who criticize this culture evidently do not understand it.