For the last 2 years I have not been able to speak about this project. Mainly because it was too hard to believe it was actually happening. The country had gone into lockdown and the world came to a halt as the pandemic first struck. I was put onto furlough. Asked to remain at home to stay safe while the government works on a plan to contain the virus.
Whilst at home I threw myself into my creative work, taking full advantage of the time at home. There came a time when the people in charge of this country put an end to the lockdown and allowed people to return to some sort of normality. Gatherings were limited and people still had to social distance. I was at a BBQ in london. The host of the event came to me and showed me a pair of sneakers that took me by surprise. I was a little offended that I had not had a pair sent to me due to my friendship with the artist. I was pissed off.
Returning home after the BBQ I was still feeling a certain way. I sketched out an Ewing Sneaker and created a sneaker inspired by the Album Funk Your Head Up by the Ultramagnetic M.C’s. I liked the style of how the guys dressed on that LP cover. I like Timberlands. I created a fake advert as if the sneaker was real. I showed my friend Marc Davis who has been a colleague and long time collaborator. Both of us are not only fans of the group but over the years have worked with the group as well. I have real friendships with all members of the group.
I fooled Marc with the advert, he thought it was a real sneaker. We decided to send the advert to whoever was running Ewing Athletics. After some time we discovered David Goldberg is running the brand. We contacted him and within an hour David contacted us setting up a meeting stating he wants to make this sneaker.
I remember thinking, is this for real?. After a discussion with David and Marc we decided to create something to mark 35 years of Critical Beatdown. David graciously asked me to come up with some designs for the sneaker to present. We used the Rouge Sneaker. The reason I went with that was that I was thinking back to the guy’s interest in the Star Wars original movies. Rebel Base comes to mind. After agreeing on the design we discussed the packaging. Again David left it to me to have full creativity on the box design and paper. This led to me and Marc looking at the opportunity to do something very special here and came up with the idea to put an album together to go with the sneaker. A Vinyl LP was too big to fit into the box so together with David we agreed to package the Sneakers with a cassette tape. Marc Reached out to TR Love who presented a live performance recording. Marc got the tape mastered and passed onto me to select and edit the piece to be used. I also got to design the cassette artwork . I chose to put the sneaker on the cover to cement the package and that in years to come anyone that has this cassette, will know it is paired with a sneaker.
We then went into a meeting with Kool Keith which Ced Gee later Joined. Me and Marc presented the project to him which took him by surprise. The story behind how it came about impressed keith. So much so i remember when Ced Joined the meeting he said Ced, Pritt tell him how you made this happen. Ced could not stop laughing. I won’t forget that meeting. Lots of great energy.
We went into a further Zoom meeting, introducing David to both Ced and Keith. David later met them in person. Some months later David sent over the first pictures of the prototype sneaker. It looked awesome. They kindly sent me the first prototype of the shoe. It was not a pair. Only one shoe was made. I can’t explain the feeling when that box arrived and I opened a box containing a show I designed off the back of what was a fake advert. A very proud moment.
We have kept quiet about the project fearing it may not happen. But it is. As you read this, on this day the sneaker is released to the public. Look out for the special limited edition pack with the cassette for all the die-hard Ultra fans. Yesterday. I had a meeting with David where he showed me the box. I have not received my pair yet. I would be lying if I said I am not excited to get my pair. You can order your pair here.
Off the back of these Sneakers me and Marc Davis have formed a partnership under the banner THE BUSY BODIES after one of my favourite Laurel and Hardy Movies. Both of us have a long history in this Hip Hop culture and both have been on our own journeys. We both run record labels and have been friends for what is now about 20 years. We have already completed our second sneaker with Ewing Athletics which will be released at a later date. Working with David is a real pleasure. His heart is in the culture and has a passion and respect for our ideas and creativity. We keep the business very simple and we create something special.