Kendrick Lamar's Reebok range represents street struggles

By Drum Digital
17 March 2016

Rapper Kendrick Lamar is grateful to Reebok bosses for letting him incorporate the significance of gang culture into his range of shoes.

The 28-year-old grew up in the notorious Compton neighbourhood of California, where gang culture is prominent.

While Kendrick has achieved great success with his music, his early years remain a great source of inspiration to him, not just in his music but in his collaboration with the sports brand.

The musician has worked with Reebok since 2014, and last year (Jul15) he unveiled a pair of sneakers inspired by the Californian gang culture with a view to promote peace and unity, instead of violence.

"I don't think a lot of brands will let you put anything that has some type of gang significance on the back of a shoe," he told Fashionista at the launch of his latest collection. "They granted our wish, which is a blessing that's bigger than just me; it's bigger than the shoe. It actually represents the struggle inside the community."

Kendrick is all too aware of how big a part streetwear plays in his neighbourhood, and explained to the outlet how the connection between hip hop and fashion goes all the way back to the 1980s and Run DMC.

But he also knows price is a key factor for his peers, and so he wanted to make his collaboration with Reebok as accessible as possible.

"You always have to come back to the streets," he explained. "You always got to look at what the next 13-year-old is wearing because these are the people who make the culture. We can't run from the kids, period - and that's something that we always try to do in our own way. We throw the high cost on shoes and clothes and try to distract it from the kids, but they make the culture."

As for his own style, Kendrick likes to look good, but tries to keep his wardrobe simple and not overly expensive.

"A lot of artists approach high fashion, but for me personally, I just like a more classic, comfortable feel," he added. "Not to exclude any of these artists' tastes, but I feel you should always do what represents you, so I'm glad I was able to find a brand that complements not only what I do, but where I'm from." © Cover Media

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