Nikes

Album: Blonde (2016)
Charted: 79
  • songfacts ®
  • Artistfacts ®
  • Lyrics
  • This slow and mellow critique of the excesses of modern life makes frequent reference to Nike.

    All you want is Nikes (Yeah)
    But the real ones just like you (Tell these niggas)


    The girl Frank Ocean is singing about here is typically materialistic, wanting the latest trendy footwear.
  • In the video Ocean recreates the uniform worn by the Heaven's Gate cult during their suicide pact, including their Nike Decades sneakers.
  • Ocean gives shout outs to three deceased people during the song:

    A$AP Yams, one of the founders of the A$AP Mob collective, who died in 2015 from a drug overdose.

    Texas hip-hop artist and producer Pimp C, who, along with Bun B, was a founding member of the rap group UGK. He passed away from a reported cough syrup overdose in 2007. Later in the song, Ocean gives a shout out to Houston record label Rap-A-Lot Records for whom Pimp C recorded.

    African-American teenager Trayvon Martin, who was killed in 2012 by mixed-race neighborhood watchman, George Zimmerman. Following Martin's death, rallies, marches and protests were held across the nation. Ocean expressed support for Martin in the aftermath by posting photos in a hoodie similar to the one Trayvon wore the night he was shot.

    The video also pays tribute to Ocean's three fallen comrades. A$AP Rocky holds up a picture of A$AP Yams, an image of Pimp C is applauded in kind, and Ocean himself holds a photo of Trayvon Martin.
  • Chance the Rapper, who was rumored to be on this song, tweeted some of the song's lyrics twice: once in July 2015 and again a year later, a few weeks before the release of Blonde.
  • During the song. a sample from The Mohawks' 1968 single "The Champ" is splashed over the words "met his friends" at the 2:50 minute mark.
  • The song was released as the lead single from Frank Ocean's Blonde album. He explained the record's title in a Tumblr post:

    "Two years ago I found an image of a kid with her hands covering her face. A seatbelt reached across her torso, riding up her neck and a mop of blonde hair stayed swept, for the moment, behind her ears. Her eyes seemed clear and calm but not blank, the road behind her seemed the same. I put myself in her seat then I played it all out in my head."
  • The video was shot in London in April 2015 and directed by Tyrone Lebon. The photographer previously worked with Ocean when he shot the singer for Calvin Klein's Fall 2016 global campaign, alongside Kate Moss and Young Thug. "I interpreted the song as a stream of Frank's consciousness - rich with snippets of stories, emotions and ideas," Lebon told The Fader. "The visuals came immediately when I first heard the song - they all follow from the music and Frank's lyrics."
  • The rapper Trina makes a cameo appearance in the clip. She was in London doing a few shows when Frank Ocean made contact. "Frank advised my road manager that he wanted to speak with me, and I was excited and I told him to set up the call," she told Genius. "Frank told me about a video that he was doing in London, and wanted to know if I would do a cameo appearance. Coincidentally, I was touring during same time in London, so I told him of course, it, would be my honor."
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