In Part One, we offer you a glimpse into a portion of the upcoming "Keys Open Doors" capsule. Alongside Alpha Industries, Starter and Beats by Dre, we've created a collection that is inspired by a street-wise lifestyle. Having been able to craft these pieces has been an amazing process, and it gave us the opportunity to draw on past experiences we've known all too well.
First, let's paint the picture... the year is 1994 and a young boy suffers the lose of his Father. Then, shortly thereafter, before the age of 12, his Mother's health declines to the point where she could not work and was unable to care for herself or her young son any longer. With no family to turn to, and a Mother to take care of — there just weren't many options.
At a young age this story was my reality. With my back to the wall and with no legitimate ways to provide, I began selling drugs. Typical childhood hobbies and activities weren’t going to be anything I would know of. Even school became secondary. By the time I was 13, I was earning more than the teachers... in my eyes, what exactly could they have possibly taught me? I was a kid supporting a family as the lone source of income. I had gotten my Mother and I to a place financially where we no longer needed the nominal food stamp and welfare benefits we had been receiving.
I was proud of this, and frankly I still am. I’ve never been anyone's charity case, not back then and not ever. By no means am I glorifying my actions, but I challenge anyone who feels differently to look honestly on the situation and claim they'd have gone another route or worse, chosen to allow their family to suffer.
Now, fast forward to today, where I can stand on the other side of all that — having used my own musical abilities to literally open doors that led me into my previous business in the world of audio. I'm able to proudly say that my talents through music was the key to changing my life. That's what makes a project like “Keys Open Doors” so enjoyable. Having the ability to tell the full story, 360 degrees.
And although my actions early on were certainly less than admirable, I see the bigger picture and am able to offer my story as a positive. It shows tremendous growth and proves that with hard work, you can persevere through anything. The streets are a dangerous place for anyone, but it doesn't have to be that way forever. I’m just another kid who comes from less than nothing and I’ve found a way to mature and grow. For me, just being able to tell this story is a blessing. Anyone who might be in that position can say, "if he made it, I can too."
The "Keys Open Doors" collection communicates this harsh reality through conceptual and highly detailed products. Tying in what is (in my opinion) one of the greatest hip-hop records ever produced brought an even more profound dimension to the pieces themselves. We look forward to sharing more information with you and unveiling the footwear element very soon.
Stay tuned for more details and the rest of the “Keys Open Doors” story over the next several days.