It’s been 30 years since the Beastie Boys’ Michael “Mike D” Diamond, Adam “Ad-Rock” Horovitz, and the late Adam “MCA” Yauch dropped their landmark sophomore album, Paul’s Boutique. Three decades on, its heady mix of madcap samples and bouncing rhymes that still stands tall in the hip-hop catalog.
The album and Boys’ contributions to their genre was the focus of a panel discussion, moderated by their contemporary LL Cool J, at “Beyond the Streets,” the behemoth exhibition in Brooklyn showcasing the work of graffiti artists throughout the decades. The event also served as an unveiling for the Adidas Skateboarding x Beastie Boys Americana, a sneaker that commemorates the group’s legacy in both hip-hop and skateboarding culture.
At the event, Horovitz recounted how Run-DMC was a huge influence; how they transformed angst into poetry; how they made street style covetable. “When Run-DMC came out, it went to a whole different level,” he said. “Everyone needed to have [Adidas] Shell Toes.” They then applied these traits into their own way of life, to a sport and pastime that they loved.
Even with the Beastie Boys’s history with the company—donning different styles on countless tours and giving them a solid shout-out on Paul’s Boutique‘s “Shadrach”—they had never partnered with the footwear label. “It’s shocking that, as much as the guys have shown up wearing Adidas over the decades, this is the first official collaboration,” Poythress says. “The Beastie Boys have been real champions of skateboarding.”
To pay tribute to the group’s longtime fandom, Adidas has reintroduced its classic Americana style (the first time it is doing so for its skateboarding division) with a few tweaks. Instead of the traditional red and white and blue leather, the limited-edition design comes in a grey leather and off-white vegan canvas, mirroring the color scheme and materials of the ’90s skateboarding era. Moreover, the tongue features a Beastie Boys tag created by graffiti artist Eric Haze.
Ever since the German soccer brand penetrated the hip-hop community in the early ’80s, it has embraced limited–edition collaborations, though it never strays too far from its core DNA. Essentially, the marketing is what changes—the design is simply tweaked. Just look at past partnerships with athletes including Lionel Messi, Nakel Smith, and Mark Gonzales, and superstars such as Beyoncé and Alexander Wang.
“There are certain things in design that I think are fucking perfect,” Diamond says. “Stan Smiths are one of them, along with the Shell Toe and the Americana. In terms of our timeline, being kids in New York City, Adidas was part of break dancing and being a b-boy. It was a part of rap culture.”
The Adidas Skateboarding x Beastie Boys Americana sneaker retails for $85, and will be available at the “Beyond the Streets” gift store in Brooklyn, New York.