If You Ever Wondered Why Air Jordans Mean So Much to Certain Demographics, Masta Ace & Marco Polo Explain it in Jordan Theory
A faux FootLocker manager, a parent denying her child a pair of coveted Jordans, the scene has played out for over 40 years. The only guys who could afford them originally drove Blazers with IROC Rims or Big Box Chevys and Cadillacs. One or two hoopers would show up with a pair, and kids with Starter jackets had to fear for the lives when they did get a pair. Things haven’t changed much. Kids in certain schools will get flamed, checked, talked about if they are rocking something other than a check or Jumpman. White kids became so enamored with Jordans in the post Covid years the price of an Air Jordan Mid skyrocketed to ignorant prices causing Nike and Jordan Brand to over index on the model which led to a crash in the Jordan 1 market only one year after the peak in 2022.
The same behavior still happens with Jordans, but the FOMO has slowed. You can find new iterations of the classic sneaker on shelves at retailers, but I began documenting an interesting thing with Jordans at retail. It wasn’t just youth culture or just “urban” communities continuing to drive the love affair. Those kids who could never get a pair when they were younger were showing up on release days and checking their apps for quick strikes. Take a look at the average YouTuber and you’ll notice they aren’t kids.
I know more 40 and 50 something sneakerheads than teen and 20 something sneakerheads. My peers, my ex-college basketball teammates, who in our freshman year had to wear Reeboks and most of the team ripped them intentionally to wear the Jordan 11s when they first dropped, are now fathers and family men. One visit to Facebook (not IG or TikTok) shows these dudes with massive sneaker collections and sporting the “Got Em” screenshot after securing a shock drop. Jordans were always something we couldn’t afford when we were young. In college it was a bit different, but now is the time that we have some disposable income and being from the Golden Era of hoops and Hip-Hop, we stunt today.
If you’ve ever wondered about the fascination with Jordans and why certain demographics have made the sneakers must have items, passing on the collecting gene to their kids even when their kids are more interested in Suede systems, Hip-Hop Legend Masta Ace delivers a track explaining how a grail can provide the feeling of being important and respected. The song Jordan Theory delves into the perceived irrational behavior and irresponsibility often assigned to the pursuit of Jordans. Masta Ace and Marco Polo form a legendary duo of underground artists who are of the generation who experienced the shifting of a nation. The new album Richmond Hill has topics ranging from a near death experience and getting older to explaining the passion for wanting a commodity.
Black kids today are similar to those in the past. They are in a transitory state of learning about how race is shaped by socioeconomic forces. Kids today have more, but they face situations unlike any in the history of maturation. While in the past you could escape a group of kids who might laugh at your Payless sneakers by going home to a neighborhood full of kids who lived like you, the pressure to rock Js follows a kid home and is ever-present through the connectivity provided by technology and social media.
Masta Ace moves the listener through the reality Black folks face in not being able to attain the items associated with success, to the unfortunate attainment and alienation that occurs when buying the one thing they can afford to attain some type of status. Jordan Theory is ultimately about the denial of wants due to poverty and how it shapes the behavior of people later in life. It’s not a ons song and it’s not a celebration, but if you’ve ever wondered why certain populations hold the Air Jordan in high esteem, this is an introduction and a lead in to the discussion.