A new Jay Electronica video is making its circulation around the hip-hop blogosphere. No, it’s not a new track off of the New Orleans Emcees’s often delayed album Act II, in fact the video doesn’t even feature Electronica rapping at all (although he does share some interesting insight into the creative process). The video actually comes as a part of New Balance’s new “Excellent Makers” ad campaign, which features a number of innovators within the fields of art , sports, fashion and music.
While the relationship between rappers and their footwear has been chronicled, exploited and celebrated since the days of suede Puma’s and Adidas track jackets this recent coupling introduces a new dynamic to an old formula.
New Balance for its’ part should be commended for finally taking the leap into the realm of progressive, cultural trendsetters. Prior to this ambitious campaign the company could be characterized as the red-headed stepchild of the sneaker industry. Now the company is redefining what it means to wear New Balance shoes. By tracking down one of hip-hop’s most elusive and and talented enigma’s the company is able to finally establish some major credibility in the eyes of it’s targeted market. After seeing Electronica sporting slick pair of orange New Balance’s hip-hop heads may be trading in Air Force 1’s for 574’s.
While New Balance achieves new heights of street credibility the man responsible may suffer a backlash affecting his own. How is it that an emcee who releases new material roughly twice a year has time to lend his face to an advertising campaign? Hip-hop fans found themselves asking that same question just last year when Electronica stood as a different corporate mascot, this time for Mountain Dew. Is Electronica using these platforms simply for a paycheck or to maintain visibility while he works on album that has now become the Southern hip-hop’s answer to Detox? Either way Mr. Jay Elec has some explaining to do but something tells me we wont be getting that explanation anytime soon.