So few brands boast the staying power to withstand the passage of time, to remain a go-to staple from adolescence to adulthood. For YFN Lucci and Jacquees, two of the next generation of artists poised to shape the landscape of hip-hop, that brand to them is Sean John. Because unlike similar streetwear labels, Sean John is unique for its permanent tie to entertainment (the perk of having Sean Combs as its founder), its mainstream accessibility (with retail giant Macy’s as its sole distributor) without compromising street cred, and its ability to resonate with consumers across all age groups.
YFN Lucci and Jacquees grew up wearing Sean John—and have continued to wear the label to this day, which makes it all the more meaningful for them when they were approached to star in the brand’s holiday 2017 and spring 2018 campaigns, a first for both of them. The reason why they were selected, too, is rather significant—they exemplify the brand’s overall message of “Dream Big,” and more specifically Combs’s personal mantra: “Dream it. Wake up. Do it.”
And make no mistake, YFN Lucci and Jacquees are dreamers through and through. At 26 and 23 years old, respectively, they’ve chased their dreams of becoming musicians from day one, and now, they both have hits that have ranked on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart (“Everyday We Lit” and “Key To The Streets” for Lucci; “B.E.D.” for Jacquees).
“Sean John always seeks to inspire the next generation to dream beyond barriers and we felt that YFN Lucci and Jacquees truly embody these qualities,” says Jeff Tweedy, President of Sean John in a statement. “Each campaign is a celebration of innovative and new talents that are really making an impact on the culture and these fresh faces epitomize the Sean John brand.”
We got both on the phone and chatted with them about what it was like to front Sean John’s latest campaign, their first memory of Sean John, and how they’ve dreamed big to achieve career milestones.
How did you react when Sean John picked you to star in its campaign?
YFN Lucci: When I got the news, I was very excited. Sean John, that’s something big where I come from. Sean John plays a big role in hip-hop and in fashion a lot. Them choosing me, I was amazed.
Jacquees: When Sean John told me I could be on the campaign, I was really excited because I grew up rocking Sean John. Back in the day, I know Sean John would always use different artists for their campaigns, to bring it to the streets and collab with music, and it was dope that they were doing that. So when they told me they liked my music and they wanted to use me, I was really excited. Sean John’s my first clothing campaign ever, which is why I’m really excited about it. It’s my first time in partnering with anyone and something major like this, it feels good, too. I love Sean John. I got Sean John on right now.
What was your first memory of Sean John?
YFN Lucci: I was nine years old when I had my first Sean John piece. It was a jean tracksuit, with Sean John on the back, and then I had a burgundy velour suit.
Jacquees: I think I was six and I went to take some pictures at the mall, when you used to take pictures at the mall, and I had on some Sean Johnjeans, Timberlands, and a PhatFarm shirt, that’s what I remember. And then in sixth grade I had a blue Sean John shirt. In seventh grade, I had a black Sean John shirt. This was on the first day of school. I always had a Sean John shirt for the first day. It definitely has [played a major role in my life]. I was definitely rocking it.
How does Sean John reflect your style?
YFN Lucci: I like how the clothes fit. The style is my style—it’s what I like. My style is clean, classic, mixed with streetwear.
Jacquees: My style is classic and streetwear, but I think Sean John is really dope because Sean John brings it out and makes me more fly. They take my style and take it to another level, you feel me? It’s fly, and it takes my fly to another level. Sean John is so classic, it doesn’t really have to change. It’s still the same with the same cursive handwriting, the same everything. It’s timeless, so you can always throw it on. It’s one of those clothes where you got to be fly to wear it. You can’t just put it on—well, you can, but it might not be fly on you. The clothes’ fly, but you got to be fly too.
The campaign is all about dreaming big—how have you dreamed big?
YFN Lucci: It didn’t come overnight. I’ve been dreaming since I was a kid and I was always meant to be a rapper. I wanted to entertain, I wanted people to listen to me, I wanted to inspire people. When I was nine years old, I had a taper recorder I always used to record myself on. And when I turned 12 or 13, my big brother was rapping, and he used to come home with his songs and they were dope. It inspired me and I wanted to be a rapper, too. I grew up listening to a lot of hip hop artists, like Puff, Jay Z, Lil Wayne, and I was inspired so I kept dreaming and dreaming and went for it. And now my dream came true.
Jacquees: I have to say I definitely dreamed big because everything I got in my life to this point, I dreamed it. When I was six or seven, I knew I wanted to do music. Now, I’m doing what I always dreamed of. I did everything it took to make it. I just believed in myself, and I’m a living testimony of someone that had dreams, a real dreamer. There are still a lot of things I haven’t accomplished, but as far as dreams and what I wanted to accomplish, I’ve accomplished. [Side note: Jacquees’ debut album is about to drop, too.] And Sean John was one of them. When I wanted to partner up with a clothing brand and do something dope, Sean John was one of the clothing lines I wore growing up, so it was dope that it all aligned, that it’s the first campaign I’m doing. I used to wear those shirts on the first day of school, and it’s the first campaign I’m doing with clothes.
Who inspired you growing up?
Jacquees: Musically, it was Michael Jackson. He made me want to do music and do everything I’m doing. Today, my mama is a big inspiration to me. She inspires me to go get everything I want to get. She’s always believed in me. She inspires me to do more. She’s definitely my number one fan.
What’s your advice for aspiring musicians?
Jacquees: For any aspiring rappers and singers, I think you just got to believe in yourself and push yourself to the limit. If you got any CDs, put it on the street, get on the Internet, do anything you can do to promote yourself. I got signed in front of Kroger, the grocery store. I used to ride there and sing, so take my advice: Go somewhere and sing, record it, put it on a tape—make it look good, make it sound good. And you got to pray, too. Pray first and then do all that.