Drake’s Jordan Brand Partnership: Coincidence Or Kanye Shade?

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Photo: @champagnepapi’s Instagram

Last night in the motherland of Nike, otherwise known as Portland, Oregon, Drake took a concert breather to let the crowd know he drove 28 hours through a snowstorm to stand there before them. He praised the city’s roaring populace of bicyclists and single women. And then he announced his induction into the Team Jordan family, claiming it was the best day of his life. Not long after, he posted some teaser pics to his Instagram account.

Last week, Kanye West said “OK BAHYE” to Nike after a five-year partnership and signed a reported $10 million deal with Adidas. Three Stripes publicly confirmed their alliance yesterday.

COINCIDENCE? Prooooooooobably not.

It’s no secret that Drake has been a longtime fan of Air Jordans and owns a collection that could make a grown shoe fanatic cry. He probably weeps on a nightly basis just gazing upon their majesty, which might explain the inspiration behind sonic glory such as “Tuscan Leather.” ANYWAY, the partnership makes sense. Drake is on trend right now, artist collaborations are definitely A Thing Desired™, and Kanye just left a gap in Nike’s Rap God inventory. (Nike and Jordan Brand are separate entities these days, but Nike is still Big Papa to the Jumpman.)

ALSO, though, during Ye’s now infamous Sway interview last week, he stated that Jordans are only popular because he wears them. This was on top of public statements that he was under-compensated for his Air Yeezy collaborations and that Nike CEO Mark Parker talked smack about the popular shoe. So the relationship turned sour, Kanye left for more lucrative waters, and Nike countered by teaming up with Kanye’s biggest competitor. Or maybe these were completely unrelated ventures, and only the timing is strategic? IDKIDK.

But hoo-what shall happen to the Air Yeezy 2 Red Octobers?!
Photo: @kimkardashian’s Instagram

While it seemed like Kanye and Drake’s once-frosty relationship had taken a turn for the better (at his Barclays Center tour stop recently, Kanye stated that Drake should have won a VMA over Bruno Mars), I gotta wonder if this chess game is part of something bigger brewing between them. Or maybe it was fueled by the brains at Nike, plotting their greatest counterstrike against a dude who left a bunch of ill will in his wake. BUT those samplers Drake posted on Instagram—were they really designed and produced in less than a week? Isn’t it entirely possible that Drake has been in discussions with Jordan Brand for a while now?

Imagined Scenario A: #TeamJordan contacts Drake weeks or months ago to discuss a possible collaboration, owing to his love for the Jumpman and his astronomical celeb status. His collaboration with Canada Goose in 2011, while limited, proved to be hugely successful. He’s a star—he will sell product. Kanye hears gossip about this possible collab and he no likey, so he starts talking. His move to Adidas proves to be the perfect time for Jordan Brand to confirm an alliance with Drake.

Imagined Scenario B: #TeamJordan creates a few pairs of friends & family Js to present to Drake when he arrives in Portland for his concert. Kanye starts beefing with Nike and announces his new partnership with Adidas. Nike is like “WTF!!!,” and a resourceful employee comes up with a shrewd plan in the shower one morning to use these one-of-a-kind sample shoes to propose a new partnership with Drake when he’s in town.

No matter what the story, we’re excited to see what both parties will cook up with these collaborations, because despite the possibly sinister undertones, potential greatness lies ahead for everyone involved. Also P.S.: Air Yeezy 2 Red Octobers vs. October’s Very Own?

Important Questions: What are the details of this Drake partnership with Jordan Brand? Will we be able to purchase the OVO x Jordan samples he posted on Instagram, or will they drop totally new designs? Will Drake get a cut of sales? (Kanye reportedly did not.) What will Kanye say about this? What will happen to the Red Octobers?!?! WE AIN’T GOT THE ANSWERS, SWAY!!

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Photo: @champagnepapi’s Instagram

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