LL Cool J is launching the Chain Collection inspired by hip-hop culture.
The 52-year-old rapper-and-actor and designer Alexander-John – who he created a limited edition T-shirt and hoodie with in June, with some of the profits going to the Black Lives Matter movement, following the death of unarmed black man George Floyd in police custody – have teamed up once again on the new collection.
The Rock the Bells franchise is expanding once again, with the launch of the new apparel line to celebrate the importance of the chain as a mode of expression throughout hip-hop’s history.
Alexander-John told WWD.com: “LL has been my idol since I was a kid and an inspiration to me as a young Black guy. This guy is everything you need to be as a guy. When I saw she was connected, we started having conversations and she said, ‘We’ve got to get you to do something for LL.’ The feeling was mutual. She made it happen.”
LL gushed: “He had his ear to the street and I thought the design was unique and special — adventurous but still disciplined — and I said, ‘I would love to have him work on a collection for us, something people are going to love.’”
The line – which includes hoodies, jogging bottoms and a duffle bag – was made in “homage” to the custom jewellery and graffiti which is “synonymous” to hip-hop culture
The sneaker designer said: “LL said we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, hip-hop is a classic, timeless thing and this is meant to bring homage to the culture.
“I said, ‘How do we bridge the gap between this generation and what LL was inspired by,’ and the chains are that synonymous thing — everybody understands getting their own custom jewellery made. I attacked it as an art form coming off graffiti and hip-hop with the chain representing that thing that a lot of rappers used to express their personal style and logos and what they stood for.”
And ‘NCIS: Los Angeles’ star LL – whose wife Simone Smith has her own Simone I. Smith fine jewellery business – has teased the “natural progression” would be to actually create their own line of chains.
He said: “I don’t see any reason we can’t take it to that next step and do something real dope that is really nuanced and speaks to the culture and the audience we’re speaking to: fans of hip-hop who really love the culture.
“It’s not really an ethnic thing, it’s more of a psychographic thing about what people love. There are so many people who love hip-hop culture, so for me, eating it, sleeping it, breathing it every day, chains do seem like a natural progression.”
The Chain Collection will be available later today (09.12.20) and prices range between $75 to $495.