Continuing to explore hip-hop's adoption of sneakers we return to the early 1980's and in doing so turn our attention to the Footwear brand Troop. Conceived and owned by a Korean man named Hyosung, his approach to business would change the sneaker landscape forever. Troops success was in its marketing to the inner cities. They were the first company to identify with hip-hop culture so much so that at one point in the early 1980's, sporting the footwear brand Troop was the height of rap status. The likes of Stetsasonic wore them and their spokes person at that time was a fresh faced L.L. Cool J. Unlike any of the the major footwear companies to date, Troop wouldn't buy into the sport specific mentality for training shoes. Of greater impact still, they acknowledged and catered for potentially the largest market for footwear, the overlooked inner city business.
Disaster struck for Troop when rumors started to percolate that the brand was owned by the Ku Klux Klan. A claim like this during a time like that of the late 80's would hit Troop where is hurt the hardest. Their newly adopted hip-hop culture would renounce them and their credibility within the underground scene. From once being the face of hip-hop culture, Troop were slanted in word and rhyme. Prominent MC's as Kool Keith of the Untramagnetic MC's would turn the screws in "Give the Drummer Some": 'For any rapper, who attempts to wear Troop, and step in my path, I'm willing as an A-1 General". Most famously of all would be the far from watertight claim of Queensbridge legend MC Shan: 'And Puma's the brand cause the Klan make Troop'. Then again with tunes like "I Pioneered This" one can't disagree with MC Shan. From these rhymes though we can take note of what was going to fill the void.