The podcaster on his favourite kicks + hip-hop culture
Words: Nhlanhla Masemola | Images: Supplied
Will it be another big year for colour-blocking? Will a new silhouette emerge and turn the sneaker industry on its head? To shed some light on these kinds of questions, we reached out to a few industry insiders to predict what’s coming up in sneakerland this year. We’re not saying that what they predict will come to pass, but we’re not not saying that either. Next up in our Sole Predictions series is Kitso Moremi. He, Kabelo Moremi aka Lil Frat and Mokgethwa Machaka host the top-rated podcast The Sobering to unpack their shared passion – hip-hop, and South African hip-hop particularly. Naturally, the more one talks about hip-hop, streetwear and sneakers join the conversation, too. As someone who’s well-acquainted with the ins and outs of hip-hop culture, Kitso shares his insider knowledge.
Please tell us a little about The Sobering podcast. How did it start and what is it about?
The Sobering podcast started four years ago when I kept having conversations about South African hip-hop with one of my co-hosts, Mokgethwa, and we thought, “Why isn’t South African media covering local hip-hop like this?” So we started a podcast. Its primary focus is South African hip-hop. Our aim is to document South African hip-hop culture thoroughly and also help bring raw talent to a wider audience. We pride ourselves on being the bridge between a niche audience and a more mainstream one by bringing different types of guests onto our show.
Why do you think the hip-hop industry has gravitated towards sneakers from the beginning?
I think sneaker culture and hip hop culture are synonymous – all part of street culture. Sneakers are part of streetwear and street fashion. Hip-hop narrates and is the soundtrack for street culture. They go hand in hand.
On kicks, what single sneaker do you own that you’re loving right now?
For some reason, I am loving my Air Jordan 1 Retro High OG “Yin Yang” in white. It just works with anything I wear. Simple, yet effective.
And what do you look for in a sneaker? How many pairs do you own?
At this stage, I’m a comfort person. I still want to look dope, but I will not sacrifice comfort for it. I stopped counting sneakers a while ago and also started streamlining my collection by giving away pairs that I just don’t see myself wearing anymore. It’s also a quality-over-quantity thing for me now.
What do you believe makes a classic sneaker a classic?
It’s always up for debate, but I think a classic sneaker should be simple, versatile and have a story. Look at the design simplicity of the adidas Stan Smith, Nike Air Jordan 1 and Converse Chuck Taylor 70.
And what about the nature of hype? Is it the same as it’s always been?
I don’t think the landscape is the same, so that adds to the change in hype. Nowadays, we have heightened access to everything and sneakers have become mainstream as well. Those two factors alone changed sneaker hype considerably. Couple that with corporations knowing that they can handle the supply to an inflated demand… hype is easily manufactured.
The fashion industry is at a crossroads between streetwear, sneaker culture and luxury fashion. Do you think these spheres will ever separate?
They probably will. Fashion moves in cycles, so if you can remember a time when streetwear, sneaker culture and luxury fashion were completely separate then best believe that an era like that will come back around. I mean, think about it: how much more cross-pollination can we get after Dior x Air Jordan 1 and Shawn Stussy x Dior?
What do you think sneakers will look like for the rest of the year? Do you think there’s a general trend that will dominate?
I think we’re going to continue seeing retro models through collaborations.
Are there any sneaker styles you think people should let go of?
Nope. To each their own.
Finally, what’s one thing you think people get wrong about sneakers?
The more you have, the better your collection. Quality over quantity.