His Own Perspective - the Kendrick Lamar Interview | Grailify
His Own Perspective - the Kendrick Lamar Interview

His Own Perspective - the Kendrick Lamar Interview

Aside from being the saviour of real rap music for many, Kendrick Lamar has also made an impressive mark in streetwear. Last year, his Reebok "Red and Blue" Classic Leather were not only a work of elegant simplicity, but also conveyed an instantly understandable message of unity. A theme that resonated not only with the Crips and Bloods in the streets of Compton, but throughout the world. So expectations were high for the next step in the collaboration between Reebok and Lamar. And they were not disappointed. The new Classic Leather feature thick longitudinal stitching on the split upper, representing the "Red" and "Blue" theme on both sneakers - a nod to Lamar's message of neutrality as well as a nod to the "third man" of this project: Garbstore founder and personal friend of Kendrick Lamar, Ian Paley.
To celebrate the iconic Classic Leather model, Reebok invited a number of international media representatives to meet Kendrick Lamar in Manchester. In between attending a rap workshop for local youth and performing for an exclusive audience at a Reebok Classic Leather party at the famous old Granada Studios, the artist took time out to answer our questions. Speaking in a soft voice, Lamar took time to give concise answers, commenting on creativity, style - and daddy hats.

There are many connections between fashion and music today. What do you think about that?
Fashion and music both come from the street. And the kids on the street invent what's cool. And what's cool is always fashion. They come from these urban communities and determine what we do, what we like to do. That's the way it's always been.

Right now, most rappers don't wear bling-bling, they just wear designer clothes. What do you think about that?
Whatever they like, they like! But I don't see it that way. Whether you wear bling-bling or designer clothes, it's cool. We're like us, we stick to the classics. You know, we want to keep the original. Everyone has their own perspective.

You guys travel a lot. How would you say that has influenced your style?
My style has evolved simply by understanding other people's culture. Long before high-end fashion came to the United States, we were in the UK, we were in London. And I saw a lot because I understood where and how things can be in different cultures.

You've already talked about your long association with Reebok. What is your earliest memory of the brand?
My first memory is probably when I was a kid, I really wanted the shoes and I would dirty them up as fast as I could. And then I tried to persuade my mother to buy me another pair. She did, but she got clever: this time she bought me the black Classics instead of the white Classics!

What do you think makes a classic? Is it possible to produce a classic, or is that something you can only aspire to?
It depends on who you are, whether you are a classicist or an originalist. It depends on one's perspective. You have to have a taste that not only stands for you, but also for everyone else who feels the same way.
You can definitely make a classic, but it depends on what's in here (points in the heart). And are you doing it for the accolade, for the money or for the freedom of creativity? Usually it starts with the heart, with creativity.

Your style and music appeal to a lot of young people. What do you hope for the coming generations?
Just to carry on the idea of creativity, freedom of creativity. To express yourself. That's what music is all about. To make something that other people can feel and that they can't express themselves. A lot of them turn to drugs and violence and things like that. So I hope that all the creative people out there can express themselves and make art that children can look up to.

The red and blue shoes you presented with Reebok are a typical "L.A. thing", but Reebok is a British brand. Did you draw inspiration from British subculture or style in any way?
My idea of a British shoe has always been this complex simplicity. And that was also the case with the Red and Blues. It wasn't a shoe that had a thousand colours. I just wanted to keep it organic, like the British brands did in their early days.

Is there a certain style that you have kept since your youth?
Yes, definitely! It's this thing called "dad hats" now - we wore them in school, and now it's become a trend!

What do you wear when you're in the studio?
I like a certain comfort in the studio, I move around there, I sleep there, I can't be in button-ups. I don't go in there for two hours, more like 16 hours.

How has the reaction been to your collaboration with Reebok in the US?
It's been great! When we launched the Reds and Blues, there was a lot of hype. It wasn't just a shoe, it was something that represented the culture of my home country. That was a great thing for me, and everyone at Reebok felt the same way: let's do something with a backstory.

It definitely felt like a very positive story. How important is positivity for you?
Definitely very important! When I'm in the studio, I have to have that energy to start working, otherwise I have to go out again. It's the same with making a shoe or with other things. You always need people with an open mind, who don't limit themselves to what they think they know or what they've been told. You have to be open to create something. With that positive energy, you can go very far.

In your music and your words, you seem to be driven by a certain sense of purpose. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?
I think my drive is pure curiosity. In my music, people don't get the idea that I know everything. You will get the impression that I want to share my knowledge, my wisdom, but at the same time I am still asking questions. And this intention, this curiosity has led me on all these great journeys. Where will I be in ten years - or what will I learn on my travels to Manchester (laughs)?

Do you have any personal fashion or style icons?
Well, in this day and age, you have to lead Pharrell and Kanye. You can't run away from that. Pharrell is the Godfather, and Kanye is the extension of that for today. That's for my generation - you know, these guys are ten, twelve years older than me, so these are the people we look to. Kanye comes with the backpacks and Pharrell with his crazy sense of style.

Kanye West is very "articulate" on his social media channels - you're not. Do you just not have time for that kind of thing?
Everyone has their own perspective, their own idea. It's not bad to be open, and Kanye is just a very open person, that's the beauty of him. And about social media: I'm just not very good at it. (smiles) I tend to use my own ways to get my point across.

Has designing clothes or shoes always been something you wanted to tackle and get into?
I just like the idea of creating something. As I said before, music and fashion go hand in hand. So you sit at lunch and write some raps, and on the next page you might sketch a shoe. That's what kids do, that's what we've all done.

You've now done the Classic Leather with Reebok - can we expect you to work on other Reebok silhouettes?
Oh, we'll see. The Club C is one of my favourites, maybe my absolute favourite next to the CL. I have a lot of ideas and I just need to sketch them out.

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