The move of Reebok signing Future, to an undisclosed contract, comes after the brand scooped up Kendrick Lamar in December 2014. The partnership between Lamar and Reebok has proven to be successful so far, mainly due to the rapper’s star power and sneakers that deliver a message of gang unity between Bloods and Crips. But the collaboration of Future and Reebok doesn’t feel like an organic relationship, rather it’s reminiscent of the brand’s old RBK line, which housed the likes of Jay Z, 50 Cent, Daddy Yankee, Paul Wall, Nelly, and Lupe Fiasco. RBK was disbanded around 10 years ago, but things have changed.
It’s surprising that Reebok has changed its tune when it comes to working with rappers. In 2013, the brand had a public breakup with Rick Ross over lyrics that alluded to date rape. They bounced back with Kendrick Lamar. Cam’ron followed after that. Now the brand is moving onto Future. Rappers are literally the future of Reebok, a brand that’s struggled to find a solid identity over the past few years—juggling between releasing 1,000 collaborations with sneaker boutiques, being rumored to be sold off by parent company adidas, and focusing the brand’s attention on CrossFit. It’s a weird time for the company, to say the least. They’re flooding the market with sneakers for Allen Iverson and giving J.J. Watt his own shoe, and it feels like everything they’re doing is getting lost in the mix.
Don’t get me wrong, Future is one of the biggest rappers in the game right now. But when you see him —his love for high-fashion sneakers, rapping about “Jumpman,” and Gucci flip-flops—do you think, “Man, he’s the perfect candidate to represent Reebok”? Probably not.