Hip-hop and sneakers seem to be the match made in heaven. No other culture seems to revere or love the sneaker game to the degree at which the hip-hop movement does. Sneaker brands have always been aware of the union between the two, but more recently shoe companies have taken to signing and partnering with artists. And not just to feed off of them, they’re actually helping artists with resources and giving them more and more creative control. Puma is one of those brands. They’ve linked with several artists ranging from big, small, and on the come up. Recently we caught up with MMG rapper, and Puma signee, Rockie Fresh shopping at the VILLA in Philadelphia. He sat down with us and spoke on his tour and life with Puma:
How’s your tour going?
Man it’s been awesome. Some of the best shows I’ve had in my life. I’m just learning a lot…and it’s just given me a lot of energy to go back into the studio once it’s over. Like I’ve got more of a broader view about what I really need to do as an artist, and how I need to service my fans. It’s been a good time.
True. So how did the partnership between you and Puma come about? What’s your evolvement with Puma?
The blessed situation that I’ve had is to always have had options. So after I signed to MMG…it was like Reebok was hitting me up, Supra was hitting me, and then Puma came into play. I really had respect for the way they did business…you know with their situation with Meek [Mill]. Also I’ve always been a fan of Puma. As a kid I always used to rock them….there’s a few different pair of [Puma] Suedes that my parents used to always buy me and things like that. So I already had huge respect for their brand. It was just the situation overall was better than what everybody else was hitting me with.
Cool. Well you hit on my have you always been a fan of Puma question…but you and Casey Veggies recently dropped the “Fresh Veggies” mixtape, which was crazy dope by the way…
…the mixtape was sponsored by Puma. How does Puma come into play with your musical endeavors?
I think that’s one of the many reasons I tried to do a partnership with Puma. Because they’re just really about seeing young people win you know. And they’re down to get behind anything that makes sense. You know they have a partnership with Casey as well, but they also were aware that me and him had a relationship way before they had reached out to either of us, and way before we had record deals. And that’s always somebody I’ve been working on music with, and we had always discussed doing a mixtape. Then we just really had gotten the time to do it and Puma really gave us the resources to do what we needed to do musically. They really put a lot of energy behind it. We were able to do three free shows for the fans out in New York, LA, and Chicago that were a huge success. So they just really supported a good idea and I respect them for that 100%.
With artists like you, Meek Mill, and Solange on the Puma team, Puma definitely understands the marriage between music and sneakers. How do you feel they help you and the hip-hop movement?
I think they’ve been a huge part of hip-hop for a long time. You know like even if you look at some of these older movies whether its certain Spike Lee joints, or…I forgot the name of the movie but I just watched it recently and spotted like tons of Puma Suedes. But they always have been apart of things in hip-hop. Now I just feel like they’re taking it to another level by really officially getting behind artists…and I think it’s a good thing for the game. It’s allowing artists to get into more business situations and to have more of an influence on things that we really have an influence on already.So I’m glad that they’re really willing to put the money behind influencers to keep their reign going and also to keep hip-hop moving in a positive direction.
How’s life on the #PumaTourVan? What’s the van about?
It’s a lot of [NBA] 2K ass whoopins given out! [laughs]
But yea, we play beats on the van a lot just to keep our minds stimulated on what we really need to be working, which is writing music. And then when we not doing that we playing 2K and I’m handing out L’s to my team.
So you ride it to your various tour dates around the country?
Yea man we’ve been going everywhere in that thing. And you know it’s been getting a good response. People been showing love…we get a few people that see it on the highway and post pictures and let people know we’re in their area. So it’s been cool.
Favorite pair of Pumas to rock…
I really like the Suedes, you know. I like to keep it simple. I just got these all black leather joints. I also like the all gold joints from Undefeated. I got like all of the Undefeated joints. Puma hooked me up with them. So I’m a huge fan of the Suedes…also the Puma Disc Blaze are pretty cool too. I like the colorways they have in them. Actually my homie Casey got a pretty dope colorway that he just sent me like a month ago. And I’m a huge fan of those. But they really have a lot of dope stuff. I can’t wait to release my own you know.
What do you and Puma have in store for the future? You with Puma, then you musically?
Me and Puma have a bunch of things on the table. Anybody that knows me will tell you I really like to execute at a high level. I don’t want to rush and put out anything that’s not going to be classic. So they’ve [Puma] been real patient with me as I come up with different ideas that I want to give to the people. And it’s definitely something I’m going to be running alongside with my album.
So to answer your other question…musically I’m working on my first album. With that the records are coming along real smooth. I’m really proud of the content that’s been coming out. And you know just me being able to look inside myself more than ever and be inspired, more so by the experiences that I had growing up versus the things that I have now as a rapper. And so with that I want my Puma campaign to run along side. It’s going to be real cool man. Be looking forward to it.