Wednesday night, Reebok held a Tupperware party of sorts at Marquee, inviting sneaker freaks and us magazine types to look at custom S. Carter III’s, eat crab cakes, and talk shop with Soundscan-certified rap artists! In attendance were Mike Jones, Nelly, Daddy Yankee, and our dude, the inimitable Lupe Fiasco, all premiering their respective footwear projects with Reebok. We took some snaps during the press conference, and chatted it up afterwards with three of the four (Daddy Yankee was MOBBED by Telemundo correspondents) about - what else? - kicks. Read up and check more pics after the jump.
What’s the first pair of sneakers you remember owning?
First pair? Probably some Converse, Chuck Taylors.
Chuck Taylor man.
You do Pumps at all?
I mean I did. The Reebok pumps? I did ‘em but that shit was expensive, Chuck Taylors were fifteen bucks.
Where you grew up, did you get your stuff from places like Foot Locker or something more like a corner store?
Nah we used to have mom and pop stores. We used to have this place called Cook’s. And we used to have this placed called Gus’s. Gus’s, Marty’s, and Cook’s. Those were the three shoe spots in St. Louis at that time.
When’d you first start really getting into shoes?
I grew up poor so I wore what was on my feet. But I probably didn’t get into sneakers seriously until the first time the Jordans came out. Like the first time Mike came out in like ’86, ’87. I was like “Ah man I want some of them,” because I was infatuated with Mike like everybody else.
When your first album dropped, did you pick up a pair to celebrate?
Actually by the time I got into it, they started sending me stuff for free a little bit. I did wear Troops, ice lamb Troops and stuff like that, but those really weren’t my first pair, that’s after I grew a little bit. Troops and BKs, Lottos, the division Nikes. Like we used to wear the Adidas Sambas. See we had different taste in the Midwest.
Yeah what’s big there?
From the beginning, it was just Reebok. I don’t think things really switched over until we came out and made the song [“Air Force Ones”]. But yeah, Reeboks is real good. Club C’s and stuff like that, real nice, tight white. And of course the Jordans, I mean, come on man, he’s Michael.
What where you rocking when you first started skating?
When I first started I just skated in whatever I had. And when I first started buying skate shoes, it was like I-Paths. But after that I skated Vans, which is probably the greatest skate shoe.
Really? Vans over anything else?
It’s a classic!
I mean it’s classic, but how about functionality?
Well as far as durability it’s crap, but they’re cheap so it really don’t matter. You can always switch it up. But there’s just something about it. The feel, touching the street. It’s Vans. I learned a lot of tricks with Vans, like stuff that I couldn’t do in I-Paths. I was like “Oh snap, I can do that now!”
Are you planning on doing shoes with any more-skate-friendly brands? I would have expected you to do something with DC first.
Right, initially I was talking to DC - I’m sponsored by DC - it wasn’t on any level where I could come in and get down and rock. I wasn’t really a full on skater – like how Nike doesn’t really do stuff with artists, it was kinda that same thing. But they were really looking at it – so I still rock wit’em. I might do some projects with them later on, but right now its just Reebok, Reebok’s really opening it up for new stuff.
How hands on were you with the design for your shoe?
Well the kid who designed it is named Kohe Kanada from Japan, he actually designed the shoe. He designed a few other things for Reebok. And I wanted the all white shoe so I could give it to customizers. I’m really linked with a lot of guys in the sneaker community, so I was like “Yo.” All white shoe, it works for regular people cause its all white, you can always have all white shoes. But then on the streetwear/sneaker side, sneaker customizers are gonna love it. I just wanted something plain and regular, but the next one’s gonna be…
Is it gonna be Reebok, the next one?
Yeah, I got three releases. So this was the first one, the second one comes out in October, and then the last shoe of the “OG Campaign” comes out in December. And then inbetween time, I’m gonna have like quick-strikes and stuff like that with different people, limited edition, 25 pair of this. Stuff that’s not really going out to Foot Locker and stuff like that. So I got a lot of designers lined up for that project, I got like fifteen, twenty people that’s gonna come in and really do some crazy, ridiculous things.
What sort of stuff? cause it seems like so much ground has been covered already with customs.
I got like Nathan Cabrera, who designed a lot of toys. I got Ben Drury, who’s famous for doing the Futura cover with UNKLE, that set off that whole Futura craze. I got Maharishi, humongous clothing company. Just regular people. I got RoStarr, who’s an artist, he’s really crazy, RoStarr is gonna do a pair. Just everybody that I know in my crew, in my streetwear crew, that I can reach out to. It’s gonna be fresh. I already got some of the prototypes they sent back.
Alright, I know you’ve already thought this through: favorite sneaker of all time.
John Lennons! The Converse All-Star, Chuck Taylor, but the John Lennon’s, the Peace Chucks, the one’s he designed. That’s my favorite shoe of all time.
You stock-pile them like some people do with Ones?
Yeah, but I’m becoming a minimalist, so I’m actually purging. My closet looks like a damn store-room, some sneaker store room. Everything is just racks and racks. But now I’m giving everything away, I’m gonna start from zero.
Growing up in Houston, what sort of sneakers were hot there?
Jordans. Almost mainly Jordans. That’s all I had.
So that’s the first pair you remember owning?
Oh yeah, Michael Jordan definitely. I was a Jordan fanatic. I mean, he played in the game, scored a lot of points. The shoe came out, he had them on his feet at the game, I had to have those shoes. Sometimes I used to go to school late just to have those shoes. Back then, Foot Action, people had to line up at the door to get the shoe.
When a lot of other players starting getting their own sneakers, did you start wearing those too? Like the classic Hardaways or the Iversons?
Oh yeah I’m a big fan of Iverson. Hardaway too. A lot of those basketball shoes I got. But lately, besides Iverson, a lot of shoes from basketball players I wasn’t really feeling. But Jordan, even though he out the game, he still comes out with the best shoes. I don’t know what he’s doing, but…
The new ones are insane.
So you’re a more a fan of hi-tops?
I’m hi-top, lo-top, it depends on the shoe. Like my shoe’s lo-top, cause you know I wear a lot of shorts sometimes. And I got the hi-tops if I’m whatever, you know.
How’d you decide on the colors for your shoes?
Those are the basic colors. A lot of people like blue, a lot of people like red, a lot of people like white. So I just wanted to pick a color that everyone could relate to and get down with.
You’re doing a song about them too, right?
Yeah, we got D4L, I got a new song called “My Reebok Shoe.” And we got Fabo and the whole D4L on that. It’s gonna be a wonderful thing. It’s gonna be a very very big record. It’s gonna be an anthem, it’s gonna be an epidemic. It’s gonna be like how Nelly did with “Air Force Ones.”
So you’re gonna do the snap sound for that?
Yeah, the snap sound is crazy. I got the snap track.
I’m surprised your first sneaker line doesn’t have diamonds in the side.
That’s coming. Limited edition, everybody ain’t gonna have ‘em.
You get up in the morning, what’s your go-to pair of sneakers?
At first it was Jordans, or Air Force Ones. But since I got the deal, or even before I got the deal, when they showed me these shoes – you know, Reebok been sending me shoes on love. And I love these shoes, they feel so comfortable. And they was like, “You like them so much? They gonna be your shoe.” And I was like, “What? Mike Jones.”