Fila – Hip Hop Sneakers 101

Fila – Hip Hop Sneakers 101

In the mid-late 1980’s, sneakers where all the rage especially in Hip Hop.  Run DMC had Superstar Adidas, LL Cool J had Troops and Heavy D had Nikes.  There was another shoe in the game that also gained popularity amongst Hip Hop Heads and that shoe was Fila.  Fila is an Italian born brand of shoe that started back in 1911.  It started as a company designing clothing for people in the Alps, until 1970 when they started designing sportswear.  But it was until the mid-late 1980’s where the shoe really made some noise.  Rappers like LL Cool J, Arabian Prince, Big Daddy Kane, 2Pac, and Nas can be seen wearing the brand in either hats, track suits and/or shoes.  On the NWA “The Posse” EP, Arabian Prince can be seen wearing a Fila jacket on the cover and high top Original Fitness Filas on the back cover.  On Just Ice’s first LP “Back To The Old School”, the cartoon characters are wearing Fila hats.  On the back cover of 2Pacs “All Eyes On Me” LP, you can see the “F” on the bottom of 2Pac’s Filas.  Rapper Fresh Gordon not only used the capital “F” design of the Fila brand for his name, but also made a response track to Run DMC’s “My Adidas” called “My Filas”.  Schooly D also made a song called “Put Your Filas On” while Steady B recorded the dance track “Do The Fila”.  The DOC is one of the greatest westcoast rappers and helped build the NWA legacy, once started a group called The Fila Fresh Crew.  Filas were everywhere!

As for lyrics, rappers loved to mention the brand:

Fresh Prince – Just One Of Those Days

“Threw on my Fila suit and my Fila sneaks
Threw on my Fila underwear and my Fila hat
Then I ran downstairs and kicked the Fila cat”

ATQC – Midnight

“At least he didn’t plan on buildin for the evenin’
Threw the Fila on the dome and said ‘Come on yo, we leavin'”

TLC – No Scrubs

“T-Boz and all my señoritas
Is steppin’ on your Filas but you don’t hear me though”

Raekwon – Canal Street

“All we wear is Filas, Guess, suede fronts, beehives
Bally sneakers, big jewels, Levi’s”

Beastie Boys – The Scoop

“Step Into The Party With The Fila Fresh Gear
People Looking At Me Like I Was David Koresh Here”

Nas – My Way

“Word to Will, buried in his Fila suit and heavy chain
I wanna be iced-up nigga, bury me the same”

Salt N Pepa – Ill Take Your Man

“But I really don’t want him, the guy ain’t fly, shoot
He can’t afford to buy a Fila suit”

King Sun – Hey Love

“As I take your hand and we proceed to dance
The dancefloor is really packed
Although we both look cute wearin Fila suits”


As you can see, Filas made a mark in Hip Hop and till this day, sneakerheads still rock these kicks.  In fact Nas signed an endorsement deal back in 2008, which means we just might see these kicks for even a little longer time!

  • Al E.

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