Beef between the laces: When Drake chose checks over stripes

The Toronto native made the choice to represent Nike and has not looked back since.

Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors - Game Three
Philadelphia 76ers v Toronto Raptors - Game Three / Cole Burston/GettyImages

By September 2013, Drake had already taken the music world by storm. With the releases of records like Thank Me Later and Take Care under his belt already and huge tracks on those records such as "Over", "Headlines", and "Marvin's Room", to name a few, Drake was no stranger to hitmaking. Some artists would dream of a career peak with just those accolades in their catalog, but the Toronto native was operating with one of his biggest hits still in the unreleased folder. Nothing Was The Same was released on September 24th, 2013 and that title might have predicted things because it was on that project that featured "Hold On, We're Going Home", a song that elevated Drake to the next level in terms of mainstream success.

Just two months later, Drake officially partnered with the Nike brand and had no thoughts of looking back. The beginning of the partnership featured Drake heavily advertised under the Jordan brand, a subsidiary of Nike named after Micheal Jordan. A series of releases would begin to roll out featuring the October's Very Own (OVO) branding that Drake had made so known as his. Collaborations such as the OVO X Air Jordan 8, 10, and 12 would be released respectively. The sneakers would feature the original model but often with a distinct colorway as well as the gold OVO logo.

The partnership between the two giants looked to be in good standing until 2018. It had been rumored that Drake was looking for a departure to Adidas with a fashion line in the cards. Fans were eager to see what would happen until a public beef ensued between fellow rapper Pusha T which halted the Adidas press run and canceled it indefinitely. Ultimately, the relationship with Nike would be restored for the foreseeable future.

A moment comes full circle for Drake in 2020 - the introduction of NOCTA.

In 2020, the partnership would become as official as possible and full circle as well. Drake and Nike would officially launch NOCTA, a sub label under Nike, similar to Jordan brand, but in full collaboration with Drake and with his creative vision included. The collab would feature a full on line including uniquely designed jackets, tracksuits, and eventually sneakers. The NOCTA Hot Step would be released, a very 90s feeling shoe that included Drake's vision of a unique design but still had the nostalgic inspiration to it.

Following NOCTA and other celebrity collaborations such as Kendrick Lamar linked to Reebok and Ye with Adidas, the door had now been opened up for other artists to come and eventually get their sub-brands and not just small collabs with some design input as we saw most recently with Travis Scott who is next in line to get his signature sneaker with Nike in April.

As for future drops, April is a stacked month. The NOCTA Hot Step 2 officially releases on April 4th in the "Total Orange" colorway. They drop at select retailers with a $200 price tag.