Rapper Nelly Says He’s Responsible For Nike’s “Air Force One” Increased Sales

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Rapper Nelly has told other rappers that they should be grateful for him leading the way for deals that they may have signed with Nike. This came after he took credit for Nike’s shoe sales, for his 2002 hit single, “Air Force Ones.”

The 47-year-old spoke about the song during an interview this week and stated that it “opened Nike’s eyes to a lot of that.” He was referring to his shoe deal and said that the company wasn’t doing those kind of deals 20 years ago.

“Everybody that got Nike shoe deals should be thanking us right now…they weren’t doing it. They were basically on some ‘they’re goin’ win regardless.'”

The popular song, which was all about the classic Nike shoe, the first shoe to ever make use of Nike’s Air technology, soon became associated with the St. Louis rapper. Eventually, Nike sponsored a portion of his Nellyville Tour, and the rapper received a “limited” brand ambassador deal.

Ultimately, the song rose to No. 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. A few years following the song’s release, Nike documented that 12 million pairs of Air Force Ones were purchased in 2005 alone.

Nelly says that the advertisement from the hit song was the start of Nike partnering up with hip-hop. This lead to the prices of the shoes doubling in less than a year after the song came out.

Nike earns about $300 million a year on just this single sneaker. Last year, Air Force 1 was the best-selling sneaker in the world.

When talking about the matter, Nelly added that, “we ain’t got no residuals either.”



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