Reebok has tapped Kendrick Lamar, one of the biggest lyricist and socially conscious rappers of the new school era, to help tell the story of its kicks.
Reebok announced Wednesday that it has inked a deal with Lamar to become the voice of its Ventilator OG sneaker, set to hit stores in March 2015. The partnership will culminate with the release of Lamar’s own limited edition collection of sneakers for the Fall ’15 season. The collection will embody Lamar’s personal style, which he described as “simple but with an edge.”
To introduce the partnership, the company released a captivating short film titled, “Reebok Classic Presents Kendrick Lamar – I Am,” as an ode to his hometown of Compton. Acclaimed director Anthony Mandler directed the short film, which depicts Lamar wearing the Reebok Ventilators in front of Tam’s Burger, a place where he would hang out with friends during his younger days. The three-minute film also features top student artists and athletes from his alma mater, Centennial High School.
Lamar, who admitted to being a fan of Reebok’s Classics since the seventh grade, said he wanted to work with Reebok because of the brands’ commitment to helping children. He said, “Reebok has a history of helping kids in the community realize their potential is limitless. I saw what the brand was doing, and I wanted to be a part of it and make it even stronger. It’s as simple as that. Kids that listen to my music are looking for inspiration. It’s important that I continue that message in anything I represent.”
The company also has a tradition of working with influential hip-hop artists. Hip-hop record producer Swizz Beatz serves as the creative director for Reebok Classics and has designed his own styles in the past. On collaborating with another hip-hop powerhouse, global vice president of Reebok Classics and entertainment, Todd Krinsky, said “Reebok has a long history of working with trail-blazing music artists, but we knew a partnership with a lyricist like Kendrick had to mean something bigger for our brand. With Kendrick, Reebok truly finds a new voice, and together we look forward to launching ground-breaking projects over the coming months.”