With Sole DXB’s Friday night headliner listed as an adidas Originals “special guest,” rumors circulated throughout the day but these were all put to rest when south London grime artist Stormzy arrived on site as evening approached. His surprise appearance was one of the standouts at Dubai’s annual footwear, culture and lifestyle festival that marked its fifth birthday by putting on its most ambitious event yet. Bringing together an eclectic mix of retailers, artists, talks and pop-up events, Sole DXB celebrated in style with Stormzy featuring alongside fellow UK grime artists Skepta and Little Simz as well as U.S artist BJ The Chicago Kid.
One of the UK grime scene’s brightest lights, Stormzy’s typically dynamic live performance was his last for 2016 and included blockbuster hits “Shut Up,” “Know Me From” and “Standard.” We caught up with him just before sundown for an exclusive shoot ahead of his set, where — beneath the towering Burj Khalifa — he road-tested the latest instalment of the Pharrell Williams x adidas Originals Hu collection, which launched on the same day in the region and features graphic prints inspired by the idea of global diversity. Shop the full collection by visiting the adidas Originals website.