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Hot takes. Everyone has one. It’s the grist for the social media mill. Sometimes they kind of make sense, while at other times, saying them aloud leaves most onlookers confused, offended, and glaring in your direction (or worse).

Often, though (but not always, of course), even the hottest of takes have an element of validity about them. After all, where there’s heat, there’s usually fire. That’s how that saying goes, right? Right.

So, to end the year on a, uh, note of some description, we at Highsnobiety put our heads together to come up with our scorching hot takes on just about anything that was on our minds in 2018. Some are critical, others are defensive, a few might draw gasps of “What the fuck, man?” but all come from a place of lightheartedness (somewhat).

Nothing was off limits, resulting in opinions spanning everything from hyped sneakers, fashion, music, movies, and social media. Basically what we do, but with a frisson of controversy.

Here’s what we just had to get off our chests before 2018’s out. Feel free to let us know how much you disagree with us in the comments.

Jake Boyer, music editor

Instagram Stories are useless

I have never once looked at or used an Instagram story, weird flex but true. I don’t see the point. Why aren’t you just posting something as a normal pic? Who has time to decide what goes where? Why would I care to look at something that will vanish and I’ll forget by tomorrow anyway?

Anders Schans, affiliate partnerships intern

“Tints” was nothing but underwhelming shade

Given their crazy respective talents, the news of an Anderson. Paak and Kendrick Lamar track had me pretty excited. The delivery? Not so much. Okay, “Tints” isn’t a straight-up bad track, but it still remains the most unambitious and disappointing release of 2018, relative to hype and potential.

Chris Danforth, footwear editor

If you’re only here for collabs, you don’t really like sneakers

If you only wear collaborations, you’re not a sneakerhead, you’re just into hype. To use a time-tested analogy, brand x brand sneakers are merely the tip of the hype iceberg (hypeberg?) — the bulk of truly interesting shoes are to be found below the surface.

Hyped collaborations are often the biggest status symbols, but if you’re only rocking collabs for the clout, that means you’re missing some of the best kicks out there — and also kind of missing the point. Shout out to all the general releases that most high-fashion designers would have no chance of actually improving: the Reebok Revenge Plus, the Converse One Star, and the adidas Gazelle. And also shout out to Adrian Bianco, who already gave his thoughts on this matter earlier in the year.

Solebox

Sanzhar Toxanbayev, editorial assistant

Some of the best rap releases were slept on in 2018

This year saw some incredible releases from rap veterans that I think didn’t get enough recognition. Among them were Dime Bag by Styles P and Elephants on Acid by Cypress Hill, both of which went pretty much unnoticed, yet are quality material for devoted rap aficionados. Spotify-generated-playlist rap fans can’t be expected to have known about those albums, but my fellow hip-hop heads will know what I’m talking about.

Robbie Russell, brand assistant

Black Panther the movie was overrated, its soundtrack was underrated

As undeniably prescient and socially important as Black Panther was as a film, its enormous hype caused us to overlook two key points: 1. the movie should have been better, and 2. the soundtrack should have been more widely celebrated.

It’s a good superhero film, but it will mostly be remembered for the hype rather than its quality. Black Panther: The Album, however, curated by Kendrick Lamar and Top Dawg, and featuring a squad of hip-hop superheroes that make the Avengers look average, reaches highs the movie couldn’t match at any point. SZA, Vince Staples, Swae Lee, The Weeknd, Future, Travis Scott, and James Blake rallied behind Captain Kendrick and were elevated by the inclusion of African talent, including Babes Wodumo, Saudi and Yugen Blakrok.

Fabian Gorsler, footwear staff writer

The YEEZY Boost 350 V2 is a great sneaker and doesn’t deserve the hate

The Boost 350 V2 gets a lot of hate for being the go-to for hypebeasts and “fuccbois,” but the thing is, there’s a reason it’s so popular and (almost) always sells out. It improved on the design of the 350 V1, which was our 2015 sneaker of the year, it’s super-comfortable, uses some of adidas’ best tech in Boost and Primeknit, and comes in a number of dope colorways. The YEEZY Boost 350 V2 is a long way from becoming the “next Roshe,” which is what a lot of people seem to think.

Jian DeLeon, editorial director

The “scumbro” is a bad fashion icon

Jonah Hill, Pete Davidson, Shia LaBeouf, and Justin Bieber have been hailed as the new style gods for their devil-may-care approach to dressing. And there’s nothing wrong with how they look — we just need to raise our fashion aspirations. What these guys do is make streetwear and certain fashion pieces more palatable to the average guy, but what self-respecting style enthusiast is okay with looking average?

These celebrities have a distinct sense of what makes them comfortable and what they’re okay with wearing in public, but none would describe themselves as a “fashion fan” in the vein of guys like A$AP Rocky, Kanye West, or John Mayer. Those three are true heads who’ve regularly expressed their appreciation and admiration for the designers they rock, and it shows in the way they make luxury drip look like a bodega run uniform. There’s a nuanced nonchalance to how they rock expensive garments, making them even more covetable.

Too many, of our accessible style gods are the walking embodiment of “premium economy.” But our style icons should be first class — the exemplary drip god with so much sauce that every outfit makes you re-examine your life choices. Think of whenever Rihanna or Beyoncé walk into a room. Imagine Ralph Lauren getting his morning coffee clad in an Italian cashmere double-breasted sportcoat, immaculately washed brown jeans, and cap-toe Oxfords made of a cognac cordovan so pure you’d think those horses willingly gave their hides to the cause.

To a certain degree, sure, it might be humanizing to see the “celebrities: they’re just like us!” trope play out in paparazzi street style, but we should strive for better. Show me Tilda Swinton murdering the game in head-to-toe Haider Ackermann. Show me Frank Ocean and Tyler, the Creator shining on the dance floor in floral suits and sparkly COMME des GARÇONS coordinates. When I think inspiration, I think of the kind of fashion sense that tells everyone around you, “I dare you to even try to afford my taste level.”

Getty Images / James Devaney

Viktor Kacunic, affiliate partnerships

Drake’s Scorpion is a good album

Many were disappointed by this year’s Drizzy release, but I wasn’t. I enjoy R&B Drake and there was enough of him to be found on Scorpion. Major club bangers such as “Nice for What” and “God’s Plan” aside, Drake also brought Micheal Jackson and Dr. Dre samples into the fold, which I thought was great. I wouldn’t say Scorpion was better than previous releases, but it was still good.

Next, check out the winners of this year’s Highsnobiety Crowns here.

Footwear Staff Writer

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