When Drake proclaimed ,“Checks over stripes,” over the haunting 808s of “Sicko Mode”, it served as both an affirmation that Nike had retained one of its most successful collaborators following a summer of whispers that he may be leaving for the competition (thanks to Pusha T).

Kanye West—the rapper at the forefront of the sneaker world for the better part of the last decade and the target of many subliminal jabs in that aforementioned “Sicko Mode” verse—effectively fired the first shot of the “Sneaker Wars” between Nike and adidas back in 2014, when he signed with adidas after his unceremonious exit from the Swoosh due to creative differences and Nike’s unwillingness to give West the resources and exposure he craved. By the end of 2015, his Yeezy line was the hottest thing in fashion. Coupled with adidas’ Boost technology dominating across the board, it became fair to wonder if Yeezy and adidas had indeed “jumped over the Jumpman.” The relationship between rap and sneakers, a fruitful one for decades, reached a fever pitch this past decade thanks in large part to West’s dominance and his obsession with besting the folks in Beaverton.

However over the past three years, as the Yeezy empire continued to grow (despite difficult times for West personally and a few head-scratching moments in the public eye), Nike continued to invest in up-and-coming talent like Scott and designer Virgil Abloh, both former West disciples who are now both arguably “hotter” in the sneaker space. Drake, one of the biggest artists in the world, was another big part of that Nike push, with his OVO imprint crafting four different Jordan silhouettes over the span of the last four years—all of which drew numbers. One of his best collaborations with Jordan Brand kicks off this week’s list.

Battles between brands is nothing new. With renewed excitement for adidas already brewing as 2020 kicks off, one can’t help but be excited to see how the next decade between these mega-brands–and their superstar collaborators–will play out.

Never forget: No online retailer has the same breadth and depth of selection as Grailed. From Dunks inspired by Argentinian artwork to adidas Trainers from your favorite unpredictable British rockstar (and everything in between), in no particular order, these are our picks for the Rarest Sneakers on Grailed This Week.

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