Lil Wayne is standing on top of a white 2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Drophead Coupé, rapping along to his verse on Nicki Minaj’s “Good Form (Remix),” which dropped earlier that morning. The scene—expensive cars, oceanfront mansion in Miami—looks like something out of a music video, but today Wayne’s here to shoot the campaign for the new Bape x UGG collaboration. “It’s an honor ’cause Bape is one of the clothing lines that I still remember saving my money to buy,” he says. “I still remember making sure nobody else I seen in my city got my hoodie. Now, they got me involved with it?”
An early supporter of both brands, Wayne was Bape and UGG’s first choice to front the ads. The New Orleans rapper first got into Bape because of Pharrell. “Currensy was into Bape. He rocked it for real,” says Wayne. “But as far as what got me into it, I think just seeing it on Pharrell and being like, ‘What is that colorful camouflage? I need that.’” By the early to mid-2000s, he was heavy into the Japanese streetwear brand—he had an entire section in his closet dedicated to Bape, he was wearing it in music videos (“Hustler Muzik”) and on the cover of Vibe magazine, and was name-dropping Bape in his music (“Bathing Ape, Yves St., Evisu what I say in”). Back in 2006, he even had beef with Clipse, who were also big fans of Bape, over the brand. Many saw a line in "Mr. Me Too" as a subliminal directed at Wayne. "N***as bite the style, from the shoes to the watches," No Malice rapped. Shortly after, Wayne addressed claims made by Clipse and their fans that he copied their style in an interview with Complex. “Talk to me like you’re talking to the best,” he said. “I don’t see no fuckin’ Clipse… They had to do a song with us to get hot.”
As for UGG, he also co-signed the footwear when it wasn’t popular, especially in hip-hop. “I was one of them who’d set out in them when they were saying it was only for girls,” says Wayne. “I’d step out in them and kick your day in your face with ’em.”
Bape and UGG first unveiled their collaboration at Bape’s 25th anniversary exhibition late last year. A merging of both brands’ signature pieces and motifs, the line includes three UGG footwear styles—the Classic Mini ($350), Neumel ($350), and Tasman ($275)—a sheepskin Mouton Coat ($3,500), and a pair of mittens ($180), all of which have been remixed with Bape’s camo print.
“Partnering with an iconic streetwear brand like Bape allowed us to show UGG Men’s in a fresh new way and environment,” Andrea O’Donnell, president, fashion lifestyle, Deckers Brands, said in a statement. “Bape took its world-renowned print and applied it to several of our top-performing men’s silhouettes, creating a street-style-ready capsule.”
The collection will be available at the end of February at select Bape stores worldwide, including New York and Los Angeles. In April, Bape and UGG will release a second capsule, which will include a sheepskin slide and sneaker. “This collab is next-level,” says Wayne.