Kendrick Lamar season is fast approaching.
The Grammy Award-winning rapper sent the music world into excitement recently with the announcement of his next album, “Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers,” which will be released on May 13. But ahead of the release of his fifth album, PgLang, Lamar’s multidisciplinary service company with his business partner Dave Free, is launching collaboration sneakers with Converse exclusively on Pg-Lang.com and Converse.com.
Dave Free, Lamar’s longtime collaborator, said he and Lamar partnered on the design with Converse, but the entire PgLang team eventually put their touches on the design. Free regards Converse sneakers as a staple element to Los Angeles street culture and a style that stands the test of time.
“We’ve designed shoes together in the past,” Free said about working with Lamar on the sneakers. “The Chuck 70 and Pro Leather still has elements from those shoes. We learned a lot from that process of what not to do and took a stab at a new take.”
The Chuck 70 pair sports an off-white upper, neutral logo patch and PgLang branding, while the Pro Leather has a white and neutral color pattern on the upper and logo and the company’s branding alongside Converse’s Star Chevron and the sneaker’s heel. Free teased the Chuck 70 and Pro Leather sneakers on his Instagram in April.
The duo went for subtle details on these styles, like the hiking-style eyelets that Free said will patina over time and give character to them, cryptic text graphics and asymmetric rubber varnish. Also, the white colorway lends itself to customization. “You can’t reinvent the wheel but you can refine it,” Free said.
He added about the partnership: “We have this thing now where we cold-call companies and tell them what we want to do and Converse was down. We were wearing Chucks all the time so we thought we might as well do a PgLang take on it.”
Lamar and Free founded PgLang in March 2020 to tell stories that connect people through shared experiences. They unveiled the venture with a visual mission statement starring Lamar, music artists Jorja Smith and Baby Keem, and actress Yara Shahidi.
Free in April 2022 revealed on Twitter that PgLang stands for “program language” and added “Pg is the operating system; bring your files, let’s work codevelopers.”
Since its establishment, PgLang has collaborated with Calvin Klein, producing a series of seven short films for the brand written and directed by Free, and signed artists Baby Keem and Tanna Leone, the latter of whom released a new album, “Sleepy Soldier,” on April 28. Leone stars alongside model Seleh Marley in the Savannah Setten-directed content piece supporting the PgLang for Converse launch
As for more collaborations in the future, Free said, “I don’t see why not collab. We always get opportunities to work with really dope brands that understand the vision and we want to keep that going. Any partner or artist we consider alumni.”