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Nelly Says He’s The Reason For The Price Increase of Air Force 1s

Rapper Nelly says that the price of Nike Air Force 1s has increased since the early 2000s because of him.

During an interview with Complex Sneaker Shopping, Nelly shared his favorite shoes, including the Nike Air Force 1s, which he made popular in 2002 with his hit song “Air Force Ones.”

Nelly clarified that Nike contributed to his early career by thanking him for promoting the company but said that others should be thanking him for breaking down doors regarding deals and sponsorships with the apparel brand.

“Let me tell you something … everybody that got Nike shoe deals need to be thanking us right now because we opened Nike’s eyes to a lot of that,” Nelly said. “At that time, they weren’t doing it. They were basically on some, ‘they’re gonna win regardless.’”

“Now, did they donate?” Nelly added. “Yes, they did donate some to the tour. They did sponsor some of the things for the tour because one of our tours we came out, we had a big Air Force 1 that used to go across the stadium and things like that, which was really dope. They did load us. I didn’t know it was a limited time, you know?”

“But when we first started rocking Air Force 1’s, they were $59.99, when we did the song, eight months later they were $100 … Now we ain’t get no residuals, so holla at your boy,” he said.

Nelly has consistently asserted that he is the pop culture icon responsible for popularizing the Nike Air Force 1s, which were first made in 1982.

In 2015, A$AP Rocky refuted this claim and said he made the shoes fashionable. Rocky reiterated his position in a GQ interview in 2021, despite the backlash his statement inevitably received from Nelly’s fans.

“To make it clear, I just want to say when we came out, Air Force 1’s was dead, especially mid-tops,” Rocky said, “but we brought the uptown’s back cause that was just a Harlem thing. I guess we were one of the first to start rocking mid-tops for our era and shit. Alright, fuck that. I was the first motherfucker rocking Air Force 1’s in 2010, 11 and 12, and shit, fuck that modest shit.”

In response, Nelly stopped by The Breakfast Club to push back against Rocky’s comments, making some of the same claims he made on Sneaker Shopping.

“Don’t get it twisted. We weren’t the first to start rocking Air Force 1s. We wasn’t the first ones that discovered Air Force 1s,” he said. “But when you say ‘made em famous,’ you gotta understand that Air Force 1s were more of a New York, east coast thing. We didn’t rock Air Force 1s in the south or the midwest, and they weren’t rocking them on the west coast. Until we did what we did, Air Force 1s went from $59.99 to a hundred dollars in a year.”

He continued: “The same year after, we made our song, shot our video, and had our tour. I don’t know what A$AP is on or whatever he’s talking about, but if he’s in any doubt, all he gotta do is ask Nike. They sponsored our whole tour that year. We had a whole Air Force 1 that flew from the back of the stadium to the front of the stage during every show.”

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