Kendrick Lamar and Reebok Classic have joined forces to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the brand’s classic Ventilator shoe. The rapper took to the streets of Compton, CA to film the announcement video, spitting verses about his hometown while wearing Reebok’s Ventilator OG. In 2015, Lamar will front the global campaign for the OG and design a capsule collection of sneakers, which will drop in June (hopefully a new album release is on the way, too). Lamar chatted with Sharp about this new partnership with Reebok, his personal style and why inspiring others is important to him.
How long have you been a fan of Reebok Classic?
Since middle school, somewhere around 7th grade. The shoe became popular when Cash Money Records hit the scene. Everybody wanted to wear “Tee Bo’s and Ree’s” as the Hot Boys would put it. White Tee, Jabo Jeans and Reebok Classics.
How did the video announcing your collaboration with Reebok come about? Was the concept and message of inspiration your idea?
It was all of us. My initial goal was to do something that had depth and was in my hometown of Compton. Making the video was a smooth creative process where everyone worked together.
During the shoot you wore Reebok’s Classic Ventilator sneakers, which celebrate their 25th birthday in 2015. What is it about the sneaker that you like most?
I like the sneaker first and foremost because of the way it looks, but mostly how it feels on the foot. Because it’s a very light shoe. And let me tell you, when you come from where I come from, you have to do a lot of running (laughs).
How would you describe your personal sense of style?
My personal sense of style is simple, but with an edge. And it’s as classic as that. I like to dress as simple as a pair of high-end jeans and a white t-shirt, so adding a chain is all it takes to give some edge and make it stand out. I feel like this resonates with how people in the industry dressed in the 80s and 90s.
What do you think is behind the surge in popularity of the sneaker?
I think sneakers are popular because they can define a personality. They can be an expression of who you are and how you’re feeling. Depending on how I feel when I wake up in the morning, I could choose a plain white sneaker or go with one with more colour to reflect my mood.
Music and fashion seem to cross over more and more. Do you see a particular connection between these two industries?
I think this started way before I was in the industry, with people like Run-D.M.C. not wearing laces in their sneakers. It’s definitely something that the music community thrives on and is intertwined with what we do.
You have a massive twitter presence, with 4.3 million followers and counting. What role do you see social media playing in inspiring others.
It can definitely influence others, so I am particular about what I put out there. Social media can almost control you and make you more robotic by removing the human element of interacting. So I do it in ways that doesn’t take away how you feel as a person by making sure what I share has purpose and intent behind it.