Kendrick Lamar came of age on the streets of Compton, California, the violent landscape that has featured prominently in the music created by scores of hip-hop artists. He drew inspiration from his background for an entirely different venture: a 2014 partnership with Reebok to create a signature pair of sneakers–one red, one blue, symbolizing peaceful coexistence of the ?notorious Bloods and Crips gangs.
“Any kind of business outside of art and culture and hip-hop, I have to have full creative control,” says the seven-time Grammy winner. “And having that control, I always wanted to have something that represents more than just a price tag.” He’s earned $78.5 million over the past five years, including a career-best $30 million this year, and inked a new Nike deal this summer.
In the music business, Lamar has grown into a force. He has earned two visits to the White House and grosses more than $1 million a night on the road and even more for big festivals like Coachella. Next up: a slate of international dates from Amsterdam to Stockholm in early 2018. Meanwhile, his songs have clocked over 2 billion spins in the past year, more than Beyonc?’s or Bruno Mars’.