It’s a Thursday afternoon in Manchester, England, and I’m smoking a cigarette outside of a pub on a side street. Men with Top Dawg Entertainment T-shirts are pushing me away from a black van, concerned about the smoke that’s entering the vehicle and invading the air space of the person inside. That person is Kendrick Lamar.

He’s in the North of England to help Reebok, with which he recently signed an endorsement deal, communicate the story of its Classic Leather shoe. He jumps out of the van in a pair of black-and-gum-soled sneakers, which he’d soon switch out in favor of a pair of white Reebok Classics before talking to a crowd of international media about his style, his hometown, and his sneaker deal.