The worlds of sneakers and hip-hop have been interwoven since the early '80s. Rappers have been the pioneers of looking fresh, showing the rest of the world what cool is and putting brands in a spotlight that they may have never seen otherwise. It wouldn't be until nearly 10 years later that Michael Ray Nguyen-Stevenson, the artist that all of us know as Tyga, would even be born, but it's apparent when talking to him that he gets it. The importance of keeping the two worlds of fashion and music adjacent as he continues to grow are imperative to building his own brand and maintaining his relationship with his fans.
Tyga's understanding of the big picture is that of someone who has spent many years figuring it out, yet at 23, he has a future in front of him that is looking bright and likely filled with more diamonds and gold than his five years in the game have afforded him thus far. And as an artist signed to Young Money, that's saying a lot. The connection that Tyga has with his fans is his most important relationship and they share the snapbacks and upscale skate style that has taken Southern California youth by storm. Now he's taking things to a new level with the first of his sneaker releases with Reebok Classics, the T-Raww.
What was the inspiration on this project with Reebok?
I just knew I didn't want to rush anything. We've been trying to work on the shoe for the last year. I just wanted it to be right because I feel like if I'm gonna step behind something, I want to be 100 percent. I didn't want to do it just for the check. I had to be comfortable and this is something I feel comfortable about.
You seem to have captured quite a following with the younger up-and-coming generation. Do you see that as something you're looking to expand on with Reebok?
Yeah, definitely. That's why I was real adamant about the price. I wasn't thinking of the world when I made the shoe, I was thinking of my fans. You know what I mean? I was bringing my music lifestyle to the fashion lifestyle. I really made the shoe for my fans. I've got my own clothing line, the Last Kings. I wanted my fans to have the whole thing, the brand and everything. I think it just makes sense.
I wanted to start out with some solid colors. A lot of people's fashion sense is different than others. It's always easier to match solid colors. I didn't want to make them too difficult in the beginning but we got a couple other joints, cheetah, leopard and patent leather. It's gonna be crazy.
How was the experience working with Reebok?
It was good, man. We didn't clash too much. And when I say clash, I mean when you're passionate about stuff. I was real passionate about getting my point across because this is my name, my brand, and my image, me attaching myself to you guys and the shoe, as well as their image, their brand and their company attaching themselves to Tyga as an artist. I just wanted it to be right. That’s why it took so long but now it’s here and we’re ready to put it out on the streets.
When it comes to your music, you’ve said you like to just sit down and get it all done. Is that how you approached designing these?
Yeah, I designed all these shoes in one day. Once I am in a certain mode, that’s all I’m thinking about. The same thing with the album. Music changes every three months. There’s always new artists coming out. There’s always new sounds. There is always a new hit coming out. You gotta stay relevant as much as you can and feed your fans as much as you can. I did the album in about a month to a month and a half, mixing and everything. I wanted it to be all one theme and then move on to the next project.
Tyga's Reebok Classics, the T-Raww are available now at Reebok.com and his second studio album, Hotel California, will be available March 19, 2013.
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