As we reported exclusively earlier this week, Lil Wayne is in the midst of creating his own signature sneaker. Although he wouldn't tell us any details about it, we did find out that it's not going to be released through Nike or Reebok but that it will be put out by a major sneaker company (we'll leave the guessing to you!). What we do know about the sneaker, though, is that it's going to get plenty of attention when it comes out. And that can either be a very good thing for Wayne—or a very, very bad thing.
You see, in the past, there have been a number of different rappers who have created their own sneakers. Some of been well-received by the hip-hop community. For example, Jay-Z got some props for his Reebok S.Carters, while Kanye West had kids lining up outside of sneaker spots for Nike Air Yeezys. But, there have also been a number of rappers who have put out sneakers that have been—what's the word we're looking for here?—well, wack. And we think Weezy F. Baby could learn a thing or two (or 10!) from each of them. So we decided to take a look back at 10 rappers who had their own less-than-impressive signature sneakers to find out some of the things Wayne should keep in mind while creating his sneaker. This is the history, Wayne. Please don't repeat it!—Chris Yuscavage
The Rapper: Fat Joe
The Sneaker: Protege They Sick
Why Fans Didn't Love It: They looked like they were inspired a little too much by the Nike Air Yeezys. Plus, they were "recession-friendly." It was a nice sentiment by Joe. But, truth be told, it amounted to a sneaker that was produced with cheap-looking materials, so it never really caught on.
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: Don't copy another sneaker—and don't create something that looks like it belongs on the shoe racks at Kmart. That's a surefire way for your sneak to end up in the bargain bin.
The Rapper: Game
The Sneaker: 310 Motoring Hurricane
Why Fans Didn't Love It: First off, Game couldn't have picked a worse name for these sneakers. Especially since they dropped just months after Hurricane Katrina. And, secondly, they suffered from the same fatal flaw that a lot of rapper sneakers do: They looked like a cross between Jay-Z's S. Carter sneaker and an Air Force 1. Who wants to pay 90 bucks for that?
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: Don't create something that looks overly generic. It's the safe way to go—and it'll probably help sell a few pairs of sneakers—but no one is camping outside of Foot Locker to get their hands on a pair of sneakers that look like this.
The Rapper: Snoop Dogg
The Sneaker: adidas Originals x Snoop Dogg Freemont
Why Fans Didn't Love It: The Lakers colorway was a nice touch (these were created for 2011 All-Star Weekend). And the eyes on the tongue paid homage to Snoop's Doggystyle album. But it looked like adidas could have altered these just slightly and they could have been designed for anyone. And, we also couldn't help but think: Shouldn't Snoop have done a one-off with Converse instead of adidas?
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: Go crazy! Design something that's uniquely yours and make sure we can tell that you were involved in designing the sneaker. We didn't really get that from Snoop's shoe.
The Rapper: Nelly
The Sneaker: Reebok Derrty II
Why Fans Didn't Love It: Didn't Nelly have an entire song where he professed his love for Nike Air Force 1s? It just seemed strange to see him perform that—and then release this.
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: Stay true to who you are. In VIBE's interview, we asked Wayne if Supra might be the company he collaborates with on a sneaker. He didn't say yes—but he also didn't say no. We figure that's a good sign, because: A) He's worn Supra a lot in the past, and B) They've done some dope collabos with folks in the hip-hop community (see: Just Blaze's recent sneaker) already.
The Rapper: Rick Ross
The Sneaker: Rick Ross x Pony Slip 'N Slide
Why Fans Didn't Love It: At the time, Rick Ross wasn't anywhere near as popular as he is today. And there were also huge photos of Ross on these. What guy out there wants Rick Ross on his sneakers?
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: Don't put your face on your sneaker. We love you, Weezy. But we don't want to be a walking billboard for you every time we slip your signature sneaks on.
The Rapper: Nas
The Sneaker: 310 Motoring The Disciple
Why Fans Didn't Love It: Where do we begin? From the cheesy imitation LV pattern to the brown colorway, there was nothing about this sneaker that made us want to step out and buy it.
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: Don't include anything on your sneaker that might make it look bootleg. Otherwise, you're just begging for kids out there to get clowned for wearing your sneakers.
The Rapper: Soulja Boy
The Sneaker: Yums x Soulja Boy
Why Fans Didn't Love It: Yo, Soulja, you did realize that these looked exactly like shiny Air Force 1s, right? And you realize that BAPE kinda already went down that road and did it way better than this, right? Okay, cool. Just so we know we're all on the same page.
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: Please, Wayne. Don't design sneakers that look exactly like AF1s. If you remember nothing else from this list, remember that.
The Rapper: Birdman
The Sneaker: Lugz Birdman
Why Fans Didn't Love It: They didn't know it yet, but fans were actually looking at the prototype of the SKECHERS Shape Ups every time they looked at this sneaker. So, it was certainly innovative! But, it also looked like something grandma would rock to the gym.
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: If your sneaker starts to look like a Shape Up, tear up the blueprint and go back to square one. We'd rather wear a pair of signature Weezy sandals than rock sneakers that look like this.
The Rapper: 50 Cent
The Sneaker: Reebok G Unit G-6
Why Fans Didn't Love It: Some fans actually did love this sneaker. But that was a testament to how hot Fif was back in 2003. When's the last time you saw someone voluntarily rock a pair of these, though?
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: If you're gonna create a sneaker, create a sneaker. Don't just pick the most basic design and stick your name on it. It'll work for a month or two. But we can guarantee no one will be rocking it ten years from now.
The Rapper: Master P
The Sneaker: P. Miller
Why Fans Didn't Love It: Do we really have to explain? P tried to make some futuristic-looking basketball sneakers. But, he failed. He failed miserably.
What Lil Wayne Can Learn From It: Don't do whatever Master P was trying to do here. We're not exactly sure what it was. But, yeah. Don't do it!