You wouldn't go too far to watch most of the UK acts who make recurring appearances at the MOBOs, would you?
We reckon that the fact they generally dress like an explosion in TK Maxx and All Saints doesn't help. Tinie Tempah's a little more careful about his attire though. We don't trust people in bow ties for the most part, but his other sartorial picks give Mr Tempah the edge over his distressed denim contemporaries. He's also quite popular outside the UK — we know this because we heard 'Written in the Stars' being played in Steak 'n Shake in NYC the other week and that's our barometer of success overseas. From his Twitter love for the Blazer to his outlandish bids at the first Air Mag auction in LA last year, Tinie Tempah is a Nike
dude through and through and he's been rewarded with a Blazer of his very own. Handling his own preview promo by taking some cam phone quality pics of his shoe, we don't think he's done justice to his SMU — a project that's part of his Disturbing London brand (who've already collaborated with MHI), because it's a nice exercise in restraint. We also like the fact he, or at least Nike, gave Rita Ora a pair to wear onstage recently.
Now, everyone's expecting a Yeezy 2 style display of opulence in a musician project, but that wouldn't be British enough. Over the years, few British musicians have had the honour of their own Nike — Howie B's Pussyfoot label got a rarely discussed Waffle back in the 2000s, Dizzee got some 180s (shame about the Brooklyn Kid font), a fine Air Max 90 and a shelved Air Force 1 as part of the 1World collection, while UNKLE got their own Dunk SB. Decades prior, Sir Elton John got a few models made and Rod Stewart's crew got matching runners. Nike don't give them out to just anybody, but Tinie seems to have repped long enough to make the grade. His Disturbing London Blazer Mid LR looked a little too much like a lesser version of the red Beautiful Losers variation on first glance, but there's plenty of tweaks - Blazer shapes give us headaches, because that Mid that dropped a decade ago was our idea of a Mid, whereas new VNTG versions bearing that name are highs. Then there's the near Half Cab height SB cutdown to confuse us even more.
Tinie's shoe is one of these new 6.0/SB style LRs that are closer to that 2002 retro in height (but not in swoosh) albeit with more pronounced angles on the collar, with stitching on the toe, a metal top eyelet, gummy toe bumper and some custom tongue labels in right side up and upside down form a tasteful mismatch. Crucially, the LR bears a drop in Lunar midsole/sockliner like the Koston 1, making them comfortable — not something we usually associate with the Blazer.
It's not wild by any means, but there's electronic proof strewn across social media and Tinie's site that he messed with the red and mustard Blazers in a major way, so he's combined them, with a red suede upper and leather mustard colour tongue. We never thought the Blazer would ever be a UK street shoe, but musicians, your average scoop necked lad flipping the JLS urban bellend look, shoe connoisseurs, Joey Essex (whose look is at least 60% urban bellend), girls, gays and anyone who appreciates a design classic seems to be picking them up by the ton in primary colours. After all those wilderness years, as Quickstrikes or sale rack come ups, it somehow became a shoe of the people. Tinie makes music that a lot of those people like and his shoe reflects that. The special packaging in the above image taken from Tinie's Twitter indicates that this comes in a box with a custom label — that gets extra bonus points from us. Salutes to any Brit who gets their own Nike and this effort isn't a Homer Simpson car style calamity by any means. To stamp your own identity on one of Nike's simplest silhouettes is quite a feat, plus crucially, we can see them on the artist's feet. Not a bad collaboration at all and release dates and extra imagery will be appearing online very soon...