He’s paid tribute to his hometown and surprised runners in the street with a surprise concert, now Grammy-winning artist Kendrick Lamar is inciting sneaker-based revolution for Reebok in a new global campaign.
“We can no longer sit idly by while the powers that be tell us how to live, how to think, how to act. All the while ranitng on about so-and-so not caring about usNo anonymous posts or spineless subtweets will do us justice. We, the people, can no longer hide. The time is now. And they know it too. For we hold this truth to be self-evident, a wind of change is blowing in. Inhale. Exhale. And breath.”
Considering the scope and scale of Lamar’s talent on display throughout his chart- and sales-topping new album To Pimp A Butterfly, these could be words waxing on anything from political engagement to the ever-widening income gap. But theses specific winds of change are blowing for Reebok’s new Ventilator shoe (air, breath, ventilate, GET IT?), the model for which Lamar has created signature styles. It’s all very heady as copy for a sneaker ad, and some will find it jarring to hear Lamar’s soul-stirring words applied in this context.
A big part of Lamar’s image and appeal is his image and portrayal–by others and himself–as the underground king of rap, the true lyrical ruler over broader stars like Drake and Kanye. Reebok is hoping that same strategy will help it gain some ground on giants like Nike and Adidas. But what, if anything, will it do for Lamar’s cred?