Combs Enterprise wouldn’t be the empire it is today without the big dreams and boss moves made by mogul Sean “Puff Daddy” Combs, also known as Diddy. Keeping that mantra in mind, the Harlem rep’s menswear line Sean John has tapped two rappers, Wale and Messiah, as the fresh faces of its fall/holiday 2016 campaign.
“The ‘Dream Big’ campaign is all about dreaming and understanding you can do it,” explains Sean John President Jeff Tweedy. “So we want to take on artists who always dreamed about the position they are in and actually do it, [artists] the consumer can see and aspire to be.”
Wale, whose 2015 studio effort The Album About Nothing hit No. 1 on the Billboard 200, tells Billboard he feels “blessed” to be a part of the iconic brand. “It was a blessing to be a part of something classic as this,” he said. “I’m grateful. It’s like another notch on the accolades… something that’s been around before my career started.”
Speaking on his personal style, the D.C. rapper says he lives in anything “comfortable” but when it comes to his kicks, he sports whatever Jordans correspond to his discography. “I love sneakers. Normally [my favorite] is whatever album I’m on – Jordan 5’s [because] I’m on my fifth album [Shine] right now.”
Reflecting on the Bad Boy era circa the ’90s (Bad Boy was founded by then-Uptown Records A&R Puff in 1993), Folarin recalls the impression the music video for The Notorious B.I.G.’s “Mo Money, Mo Problems” featuring Diddy and Ma$e had on him. “Everything fit the time. “Mo Money, Mo Problems,” aesthetically, is probably one of my favorite videos — just the colors and the suits and all that,” he recalls. “It was a very important moment.”
Dominican newcomer Messiah, who hit No. 4 on Latin Rhythm chart with his album Made in Europe, agreed, adding, “When they did the red patent leather, that was definitely dope!” Although Messiah personally favors V-necks and a nice tux, he says his quintessential Bad Boy look is a velour suit. “Not just ‘cause I’m wearing one, this was the wave back in the day,” laughs Messiah, clad in a rust-colored suit.
The New York native says he has been a loyal Sean John fan, sporting the menswear line long before being asked to take part in the “Dream Big” campaign. “I posted a T-B-T the other day of me rockin’ Sean John 10 years ago,” he said. “And now to be part of the campaign and be the Latin face is definitely a dream come true.”
Wale and Messiah follow Quincy Brown, Jussie Smollett, Terrence J and DJ Mustard, who have lent their star power to the Sean John “Dream Big” campaign in the past. The fall/holiday ’16 collection will be available in Macy’s later this year.