The Wu Tang Wallabee love affair

The Wu Tang Clan wielded an understanding of style like no other rap crew before them. Their effortless Staten Island steeze consisted of love for brands like Polo Sport and Champion as well as fetishes for footwear like the Timberland 6 inch boot.  The most intimate of all their relationships however came with the Clarks Wallabee which they championed as a staple of hip hop attire. 

The Wu first came in contact with the shoe thanks to an influx of immigrants from the Caribbean arriving in New York. The Yardies were the first culture to adopt the Wallabee as their shoe of choice and it was the badman of the islands in particular which the shoe became synonymous with. The alignment of Clarks with crime reached a point that saw police identify troublemakers by their treds and on one occasion, at a rave held by the esteemed Sir Coxsone Dodd, wearers of Clarks were separated from the ‘nice and decent’ non-wearers.

It was not only the cultural associations that gained the attention of Wu members but the build quality and aesthetic too. According to Ghostface Killah “Once you put ‘em on for the first time it’s like ‘yo you standing on something’. They look right.” 

On the cover of his album Ironman he can be seen alongside Raekwon and Cappadonna in a room full of custom dyed Clarks; they were customised on Canal Street by a Chinese man named Kim to Ghostface’s instructions. In 2019 Wu Tang collaborated with Clarks on a set of Wallabees called the ‘Marble cake’, the blueprints for which are discussed on a skit on Raekwon’s ‘Glaciers of ice’. 

Wallabees and Clarks frequently feature in lyrics by members of the Wu, further cementing their cultural importance.

“Well it was late one night, walking through the park

with my leathered down coat and Wallabee Clarks”  Raekwon – We Will Rob You

“Even Tony Stark knows the tension is thick as Wallabee Clark soles” Method Man – If time is money

“Big Wu Tang trucks roll in your area, Wallabees for life

We too hype, One ring with the ice” Cappadonna – Love is the message

Starks is a veteren (uh-huh)

Clarks, jewelry, bitches, jeans, darts is his medicine” Ghostface Killah on RZA – Fast Cars

A quick search for ‘Wallabees’ on Genius presents lyrics from the likes of Nas, Snoop Dogg, Vybz Kartel, Ice Cube, Griselda, Earl Sweatshirt, Masta Ace, D Double E and Skrapz to name a few. The iconic shoe holds meaning for many, especially in hip hop, but out of them all it was the Wu Tang Clan who embedded the Wallabee into their identity forever.

Check out the great selection of Clarks at Wellgosh here.

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