Decoded – Austin Stahl

Like rap and graffiti, fashion is a crucial element of self expression in the Hip Hop movement. In this case, the shoe and clothing mega-brand Adidas was and is one of the largest companies associated with Hip Hop. In the time of Run DMC, Adidas was not a hugely well known name but the style of the shoes were perfectly suited for Hip Hop. The lines brought a fresh new style that in combination with the various colors, allowed artists to express themselves through shoes, something that is difficult to do in a rugged urban environment. Beyond the actual aesthetics of the shoes, were the positive message behind Run DMC’s “My Adidas”. In it they rap how “we like to stomp out pimps with diamond rings/we slay all suckers who perpetrate/and lay down the law from state to state”. Run DMC uses the popular icon of Adidas shoes to spread a positive message against pimping and committing crimes. Some brands immortalize the thug persona, like how JZ describes his his hustlin’ in his book Decoded, but Run DMC uses Adidas in the opposite way by spreading positive influence to their audience.

Similarly to Run DMC, Nicki Minaj uses Adidas as to spread positive influence through her commercial. In it, actors are depicted in colorful bright outfits all sporting the Adidas logo with an upbeat beat behind them. It displays countries all over the world, with their own take on the Adidas brand. Regardless of the country, the individuals use Adidas to express themselves through skateboarding, dancing, and singing rather than through other illegal methods often associated with Hip Hop. In this way, Nicki Minaj is revitalizing the positive influence Adidas can have on the Hip Hop community and contrasting the gangsta way of life. Admittedly, Nicki Minaj’s take is much more mainstream and glamorous than Run DMC’s version, but then again it’s Nicki Minaj after all so who expects anything different?

Decoded – Lauren

After listening to both the adias commercial and the adias “run DMC” song, I saw both of them having fashion and hip-hop aspects to them. The song and the video both represented the hip hop culture while promoting the adias shoe. This was obvious in the lyrics of the “Run DMC” song and in the adias commercial. For the commercial there was a more visual representation of hip hop culture and the sneakers. Whereas the DMC song, the hip hop culture came out through the lyrics.

The Adias commercial was well done in showing both the hip hop culture while promoting the shoe. The commercial was very upbeat and visual appealing as well as appealing toward ones hearing. The obvious representation of hip hop culture in the commercial came from the attire of Nikki and the rest of her crew, and the dancing that went on during the commercial. The clothing and the break dancing represented the hip hop culture very well. The less obvious hip hop representation come from the sounds. There was singing by Nikki, as well as some beat boxing. However, behind all of the music there was a strong beat that was adding to the commercial. This beat came from everyday life things that were happening in the commercial. For example, there was flashing of a camera, and skateboarders landing tricks. All of these aspects added together to create an appropriate representation of the product, Adias, and the culture of hip hop.

In the Run DMC song we see hip hop and fashion represented in the lyrics. The artist talk about how these sneakers will be used in everyday life as a hip hop artist. He talks about the kinds of sneakers used in certain situations related to hip hop.

Both of the advertisements of the Adias shoe both promote the show while expressing a strong hip hop vibe.

Decoded – Karolina

Although the four hip hop aesthetics are graffiti, rap, breakdancing, and DJ-ing, like any other culture, there are certain ways of dress that are associated with it. Sneakers have always been an important feature in the hip hop fashion. In Jay-Z’s Decoded, he mentions spending a lot of time on the streets for cyphers, dealing drugs, etc. Also, break dancers also spent a lot of time dancing on the street. Therefore, sneakers are important in hip hop fashion because they are the most comfortable thing to wear if one is spending a lot if their time on the streets.

In the Nicki Minaj video, there are groups of friends all over the world, wearing sneakers, which are meeting up on the street to hang out, dance, rap, beat box, etc.  In the Run DMC song, “My Adidas”, he talks about the things that he does with his sneakers. For instance, he raps about wearing his sneakers on the street, during concerts, “we like to stomp out pimps with diamond rings/we slay all suckers who perpetrate/and lay down law from state to state/we travel on gravel, dirt road or street/I wear my Adidas when I rock the beat/on stage front page every show I go” (Run DMC). The Nicki Minaj video and Run DMC both use Adidas while performing.

Also, the Nicki Minaj video and Run DMC promote sneakers for aesthetics. The Nicki Minaj video promoted Adidas in all sorts of styles and colors. In the Run DMC song, he talks about having Adidas in different colors for different occasions. Since sneakers are already part of hip hop fashion, the idea is to make them fashionable with many colors and styles so that all sorts of people can wear them. However, since fashion has changed Run DMC and Nicki Minaj present different styles in their works. In the Run DMC song, he raps about wearing Adidas and Lee denim jeans. In the video, people are wearing bright clothing with a range of colors and patterns.

Therefore, both the video and Run DMC use the sneakers to represent hip hop because sneakers are what people wear when they are on the streets, dancing, rapping, etc. Also, both works talked about sneakers for pure aesthetic reasons.


In the beginning of the semester the conversation between Danny Hoch and others was interesting because he said that hip hop continues to grow into something much more. The intro of Nicki Minaj’s video you can clearly see the fashion from the start. The flashy colors as well as the contrast of fashions from different countries. But it is like whatever people are doing, where they’re from or what time zone they’re in, fashion is a common ground for all. One person in the US would think that no one else in the world have the same sense of fashion as they do, but this video shows how people are connected through their clothing.

Fashion is a huge factor in hip hop because, for some, when people out on a certain outfit they obtain a little bit of a new identity as Tricia Rose stated. Fashion gives people that ideal “hip hop” look. Without a certain style some would not consider you to be apart of the “in crowd.” People from Paris, Tokyo and New York are representing their fashions as well as finding a middle ground with their addidas.

Run DMC and Nicki Minaj both share differences and similarities. Nicki Minaj’s song is more broad and the video heps explain that as it travels the world to see everyone with the “Addidas” brand. However,  Run DMC makes the shoes Addidas sound more like a friend than an actual shoe. “We made a mean team, my Addidas and me.”(Run DMC) In the end, they share similarities by adding the fashion element to hip hop because whatever people see in the music videos and commercials they want to mimic. The rappers and other musicans clothing style contributes to the hip hop style.

Decoded- Julie

Although the four components of hip hop are rap, graffiti, breakdancing, and emceeing, fashion plays a major role in the hip hop world. In Run DMC’s “My Adidas,” he raps about how much he loves his adidas sneakers. He personifies his shoes and talks about them as if they were his best friend and they were inseparable,”My Adidas and me, close as can be, we make a mean team, my Adidas and me.” He can wear them anywhere, while performing on stage or just walking down the street. His Adidas sneakers are unique and custom to him and he wears different colors for different occasions.

Nicki Minaj promotes her Adidas sneakers in a commercial. In the commercial she is shown having fun and with a lot of friends who are also in Adidas sneakers and clothing. She is similar to Run DMC in that she also expresses in her song how her Adidas’s are original and unique as she sings “It’s something you create…”. They also both either show or rap about how they wear their Adidas sneakers everywhere and anywhere. In Nicki Minaj’s video, she is shown mainly in the city wearing her sneakers, and in Run DMC’s song he also rapped mostly about wearing them in the city streets.

Run DMC and Nicki Minaj are similar with their love for their Adidas’s, but express it in different ways. Run DMC personifies his sneakers. His song is very personal about him and his Adidas’s, like their his best friends. He doesn’t mention anybody else except for him and his sneakers. Nicki Minaj, on the other hand, shows many people with their Adidas’s. There are many different scenes of different people having fun and loving their shoes, but it’s not all about Nicki. Also, they both express that they can wear their Adidas’s anywhere, but Run DMC seems to limit everywhere to the stage and the streets of the city or parties, while Nicki Minaj shows people wearing them all over the world.

Decoded- Melissa Cooper

Nicki Minaj engages fashion in an avant-garde way, from her brightly colored wigs and crazy neon jumpsuits, right down to her flashy sneakers. Her style is signature, and you can hear it in her rap as well. Her fashion is an extension of her wild and bubbly persona, as well as her music. In his song “My Adidas”, Run-DMC flaunts that his Adidas are his signature as well, and he incorporates them into his music. Jay-Z talks about idolizing Run-DMC in his book Decoded: “Before Run-DMC, rappers dressed like they were headed to supper clubs for after-dinner drinks, or in full costume. Run-DMC looked like the streets in denim, leather, and sneakers.” (10). Fashion was never the meaning behind hip-hop or rap, but many artists take advantage of the combination of style and music to create an image for themselves. Run’s Adidas “are seen on the movie screen, Hollywood knows we’re good if you know what I mean.” He was one of the first rappers to step outside the boundaries of the typical look, and try to get not only his voice, but his face and image into the public eye. Nicki Minaj uses her style as well. Adidas could have put anyone in bright, wild clothes and played Minaj’s music, but because they put her in the commercial, in her style, with her music playing, they create an image and an association for the product that becomes an extension of Nicki’s music and her message. The way artists use their clothing and personal style to connect their physical being to their music helps them expand across more cultures. When people recognize an image and are familiar with it, they usually grow more fond of it, rather than hearing a song and never knowing the voice behind the sound of the lyrics.

My Adidas Margaret

The hip hop culture not only included aesthetics and music but incorporates the fashion industry. Hip hop is a lifestyle that many people grow up in like Jay-Z. Like Jay Z said, it’s not one day people decide to have this lifestyle, it surrounds them their whole life and becomes a part of their culture. Adidas have become a staple in the fashion industry of the hip hop culture and generation.

Adidas speaks to the highly expressive nature of the hip hop generation. Each person has their own style and as in Nicki Minaj’s advertisement the slogan, Adidas are “originals”. In “My Adidas” Run DMC “got blue and black… and yellow and green”, and even separate shoes for playing ball. There is a pair of shoes for all styles which is what makes them appealing to the hip hop generation. The hip hop culture was found on expression for the youth culture and fashion is an outlet for any teen. As seen in Nicki Minaj’s outfit, anyone can have an outrageous or unique style they just have to own it. Adidas are part of the unique style.

Not only are Adidas distinguishing individuality, but they create a common bond between people in the hip hop generation. In Nicki Minaj’s Adidas commercial, people from all over the world were wearing Adidas, from Paris to Tokyo and Chicago. In “My Adidas, Run DMC keeps saying “we” like there is a group that is on the inside that rocks these sneakers.

Adidas are a hallmark of the hip hop culture. Everyone on the inside seems to have them. With the wide variety of designs, they can provide each individual with their own unique style. Just like how each graffiti artist has their own nickname and design style, they have their own fashion sense.

Decoded – Gloria Miller

Both Nicki Minaj’s Adidas Commercial and Run DMC’s song “My Adidas” represent hip hop by giving examples of the different places people can sport Adidas clothing. In Nicki Minaj’s video people are seen walking around on the streets in their Adidas, relaxed and having fun. Similarly, in Run DMC’s song they talk about chilling on the street while wearing their Adidas. They say, “I walk down the street and I bop to the beat with…Adidas on my feet”. The whole idea of being able to hang out on the street with Adidas correlates with the hip hop culture because the non-commercial aspects of hip hop are seen on the streets. Graffiti artists use public property to display their artwork, many rappers and break dancers would perform on the streets and DJs would set up their turntables and stereos outside to serenade the neighborhood and compel people to dance. People involved with the hip hop culture are always socializing on the streets so these songs were created to show them that Adidas are perfect for their lifestyle.

Run DMC’s song is different from Nicki Minaj’s because it seems to be more personal. They talk about how they feel in their Adidas and how they can wear them anywhere but Nicki Minaj is just seen walking around looking fashionable in her Adidas. Although both songs are examples of commercial hip hop, Run DMC’s song seems to be more genuine and reminiscent of what Tricia Rose calls “popular culture” because it is evident that they are not wearing their Adidas simply because they saw others wearing them and they were in style. Their description of these shoes makes it seem as if they have a personal relationship with these sneakers and they wear them for personal reasons. However Run DMC’s song can be placed into the category of ‘mass culture’ as well because I am sure more people purchased Adidas after they heard “My Adidas”.

Both songs can be seen as advertisements for Adidas but I believe the intentions of the artists were different. Nicki Minaj’s goal was to sell a product however Run DMC wanted to talk about their lives and why they choose to wear certain apparel.

Decoded- Mark Downey

When I first listened to Run DMC’s “My Adidas,” and watched Nicki Minaj’s Adidas commercial, there was one difference that stuck out to me.  When analyzing Run DMC’s lyrics, you begin to sense to connection that Run DMC has to their Adidas.  It’s as almost you cannot separate them from their shoes.  They seem to have a personal connection with their shoe because they go through every moment together.  At the end of the song, they note how they have been through the worse and through the best in their shoes, along with noting that they would never want any other kind of shoe.  They say, “We started in the alley, now we chill in Cali, and I wont trade my Adidas for no beat up Bally’s.”  The connection they make with their shoes, is basically describing how you would talk about your best friend.  Thus, denoting that their shoes are like their best friends to them.

The difference between Run DMC’s description of their shoes as their best friends and Nicki Minaj’s commercial is clear.  The commercial gives the shoe a more stylish representation.  It is clear that this video is made just for the sales of the shoe while Run DMC’s song was about their personal connection with their shoes.  One way this video is intended for the sale of the shoe is that they portray the shoe all over the world.  This gives the appearance that everyone has the shoe and it’s the “hot” shoe to own.  This confirms Tricia Rose’s theory that the mainstream hip hop culture is now guided by money.

These two differences show how the hip hop culture has changed in the fashion industry.  Run DMC decided to do a song on their Adidas on their own.  They wanted to show what their shoes meant to them.  In the Adidas commercial featuring Nicki Minaj, Adidas paid her to do the commercial to promote their shoes.  They picked her because she is a huge figure in the music industry today.  So, the hip hop community has an affect on the fashion industry.  However, the way that they affect fashion has changed dramatically over the years.  Before it was just to express their opinions, now it’s the money that drives artists to promote a certain fashion.