I have been part of the sneaker community since I was in middle school. Back then, my hobbies included sitting on my computer on 23isback.com or designing my own pair of Air Maxes on Nike ID. Of course, back then I could not afford to actually buy those sneakers. All I could do was admire them and promise myself: once I started making real money I can buy myself whatever shoes I want. I am still working on that “making real money” thing, but here I stand in 2018 with more sneakers than there are days in a month. We all have our own vices, right?
I remember first hearing about Travis Scott in 2012 when he was all over Cruel Summer, the compilation album by Kanye’s GOOD Music. The following year, he dropped Owl Pharaoh and began seriously leaving his imprint in rap music. Fast forward to 2018, Travis has established himself as one of the top artists in Hip Hop and one of the biggest celebrities in Houston.
Last Wednesday, Travis Scott took to twitter to announce his Cactus Jack Block Party, presented by Jordan Brand. I was fortunate enough to attend the event that converged several of my favorite things: Sneakers, Hip Hop, and, of course, Sports.
The Party took place at Root Memorial Square Park, right outside of Toyota Center. By the time I arrived to the event the line wrapped around the park. Us millennials do not play when it comes to supporting our favorite artist. There was another line at the park, though. This line was for those who lucked out on the Nike SNKRS app and were waiting for their chance to get Travis’ collaboration with Jordan Brand, the Cactus Jack. Travis’ shoe is an Air Jordan Four covered in blue suede, with white, red and black accents. They are a fitting tribute to the long gone Houston Oilers.
Once into the park, fans were given a chance to enjoy a party that was as Houston as it could be. 97.9 The Box played the music. Frenchy’s Chicken fed the fans. Deshaun Watson watched on as the basketball tournament took place. Of course, there cannot be a Houston party without the presence of Bun B, who made his way through the Social Status line and purchased his own pair of Cactus Jack’s. To put a bow on it, fans jumped the rails when Travis arrived and got the party shut down by the Fire Marshal. How’s that for a Houston party?
As I took in the event it dawned on me, this is the first time Houston has done something like this. Collaborations between Nike and artists are not uncommon. They’ve done it with Kanye West, they’ve done it with Drake, and they are doing it right now with Kendrick Lamar. Travis granted the Houstonian sneaker head the chance to feel that special feeling with this release. He grabbed one of the best Jordan silhouettes and created a shoe that resonates with everyone in the city of Houston. When I look at the Cactus Jack Fours I see Paul Wall hanging out in a Warren Moon throwback. I see Johnny Dang giving Lance McCullers his World Series Grill. I see PJ Tucker hustling for a rebound wearing his pair in the NBA playoffs. I see the encapsulation of this unapologetically Hip Hop city.
Travis has taken his music around the world, never letting people forget where he is from. The fact he has released one of the most talked about sneakers of the year gives me as much pride as him rapping about Houston at festivals around the world.
At one point in his life, Travis was much like me. A young sneaker head who could only dream about one day having his own shoe. Now, he has them and, with another color way possibly on the way, the dream collaboration with Jordan is only getting started. If Travis Scott was not already respected by Houstonians for his music, I think he has done himself many favors this year. Whether it was sitting court side throughout the Rockets’ historic season or putting on an exclusive event like this one, Travis shows us why we should be proud to be Houstonians.
From the 713 to the 281, Houston is proud to call Travis Scott their own, and, boy, were they happy to get their hands on the Cactus Jacks’ a day before their official launch.