J Balvin on Air Jordan 3 Collaboration and Medellin Colombia Themes

new balance

This is your third sneaker collaboration with Jordan. What has it been like being their partner for three projects now?
Man, it’s been a dream because we’re here right now in Medellín, Colombia, so people have a lot of limitations sometimes in their mind, and I always thought that I could do it. And it’s beautiful right here that we met in Colombia, talking about sneakers that are very inspired from my city and the sunset of my city. So it’s beautiful, man. 

It feels great because I’m the only Latino artist that has done this, and we are doing it in order, the 1, the 2s, the 3s. So now you know what’s next, right? So it’s really crazy, man, because as Latino, I love to elevate our culture and we have done a lot of changes. The first one was really loud because I really want to get people’s attention. It was really the intention of it. To be like, “What is this?”

And the second one, the 2s are not easy to—they’re not as commercial as all of them. So it was a hard task, but I enjoyed doing the light, and that it has a mental health story. So just jump into the light.

And the third one, I think that’s what I wanted to do because the 3s, they’re like grails. When I had the opportunity, I was thinking, “What will you do if you have the chance to touch up a little bit, the Mona Lisa?” So you cannot do a lot of things. You have to keep the essence, and basically people see it like, “Oh, that’s the Mona Lisa, there’s something cool and it’s something new,” but it’s a little touch. So that’s why we went super light, clean like the sunset, which just looks gray with the color, it’s called coconut. It’s not white, it’s coconut. We went really clear and more because I’m thinking about my city, how I want to show Medellín, Colombia, to the whole world. So it’s super happy and I think it’s a statement. It’s really cool that you’re talking about a sunset from a city that used to be the most dangerous city in the world, and now one of the safest. So it’s really important, man. I think I enjoyed the whole process. Frank Cooke has always been my right hand when it comes to design. And of course the whole Jordan team. It’s cool, man. It’s amazing that we have this opportunity to show the world a little bit of Medellín sunset and Medellín, Colombia.

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You started to allude to this a little bit, but not only are you working with Jordan, you’re working with Jordan on the Jordan 1, the Jordan 2, the Jordan 3. Like you said, these are grails. How much of an honor is it for you to work on those shoes? I mean, there’s a J Balvin Jordan 1. Can you believe that?
Yeah, it’s still, it’s crazy to me because it’s like, I have mine right now on. They have my name on it, but when I walk around and see people with the 1s, I’m like, “Wow, we did that.” And I knew what was the vision that I wanted, as I told you, go super left and be as loud as possible. So it was like a love and hate situation, which I knew. But I wanted to take people’s attention to get to know the artists also, because there’s a lot of people. I do music, but I also wanted people that don’t know about me to be like, “Okay, who’s this guy?” I think that takes real attention and I feel super, super proud of it, man. To me, it’s still a dream and I think it’ll be a dream forever.

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Everybody used to ask Michael Jordan what his favorite shoe of his was, and he would say it’s like picking between children. Do you have a favorite of your three?
The 1 is too important because it was my first one. But when it comes to the 3, I had it all planned; I knew it was going to go left, less louder, and then classic clean, but cool. So the 1 and the 3s, but definitely right now my energy is on the 3s, 1000%.

How has working on each project been different? What’s been different between working on a Jordan 1 and Jordan 2, Jordan 3?
It’s totally different. First, I do the whole process, like I start wearing them every day. Not my shoes, any Jordan 1, feeling it. But the good thing about my Jordan 1s, it’s like they don’t crack because they’re not leather. It’s kind of like denim. So you don’t feel like, “Oh man, I’m going to crack my … I’m going to destroy them.” Now, that’s one of the coolest things of the 1s that I was wearing all the time. I was like, this is the thing that bothered me the most that they crack. So that’s why we made that material. That was 1 vibe, and I was thinking about my first and second album. My second and third album that I dropped was Oasis and Colores, so it was vibes and colors. So that’s why it’s too loud, because that’s the concept. Then I went to the other stage with the second, the 2s, my album Jose has the sky, clear sky. And I was thinking all about mental health. I’m an advocate for mental health, so I wanted to tell a story. And through the sneaker, I can tell it’s okay not to be okay, and things that normally no one talks about and having the opportunity to speak louder with Jordan in a massive way. I think that was the most meaningful thing, like the awareness of mental health. And that is the reason why they light up, it’s like no matter what, you’re in the darkness, the light will come.

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And now with the third one, my energy was just going into my city and watching. The sunset to me always reminds me, it’s a new opportunity, it’s the next day coming. I’m telling the story of my city, Medellín. It’s like, we were going through the hardest moment and then we switched that energy into positive. So that’s why I’m thinking about sunset. The sunset is the day that is going now, the day is ending now. It’s time for another day. So that’s the inspiration, and also the whole collection, super, super clean. It’s like, I think I had the conversation with them, it’s one of the highest end materials they have used in terms of a collab like this, besides the Dior for example. And that’s what I want. It was like I wanted people to feel that they were wearing Prada, but they were wearing Jordan, a J Balvin Jordan collab, Air Jordan, Air Balvin. So everything is super clean, all black or all khaki, just simple, but strong. Sometimes less is more. And this is the case with this collection.

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