You know who Cam'ron is even if you're not a fan of rap or hip hop. In 2002 he showed up to Fashion Week in a blisteringly pink outfit, replete with a pink headband, phone, and mink coat. This was 14 years ago, before a sort of gender neutralizing—or gender-cooperative co-opting?—of the color. It caused a scene. Cam says he did what he did as an attempt to catch eyes. He succeeded.
"It started off with just really wanting to stand out in Fashion Week," he explains. "There are a lot of loud people at Fashion Week, so I wanted to do something to stand out. And then people kind of labeled it towards me. It wasn't something that I said this was going to be my identity…This isn't strategized."
Photos were taken and circulated. One stood out. And that picture became an iconic moment not only for Cam'ron, but for everyone with a sense of humor or a love for subversion. In that moment he owned the color pink, and that photo will live in infamy. "Who knew it would be like the Urban Mona Lisa?" Cam'ron says with a laugh. "It's on coffee mugs and candles and I've made shower curtains of it, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera."
On Cyber Monday Cam'ron will release his second collaborative sneaker with Reebok, a Ventilator Supreme. There's a theme to the shoe, a theme that shouldn't be hard to anticipate. The whole thing is pink. From toe to heel, sole to laces, the whole shoe is pink suede with hits of a custom pink camo for good measure. It's name? "Pink Monday."
He created another sneaker with Reebok earlier this year—also a Ventilator Supreme—called "Purple Haze," after his 2004 album. That shoe featured shades of purple with the portrait of him in the pink mink on the sockliner. But it wasn't the same kind of thematic plunge that he and Reebok are taking with Pink Monday. It should also be noted that when the Purple Haze sneaker dropped, his next album was set to be named "Purple Haze 2." As of June it's been renamed: "Killa Season 2: The Pink Edition."
Going all in on the color pink isn't as much of a risk as it was in 2002, but there's still a courage to it, something that you can only do in a supportive and creative space. For Cam'ron, Reebok has been that kind of a place for him. "It's hard to find good business partners and people who do good business the right way. That's the one thing that makes me happy more than anything else: people doing business the right way," says Cam'ron.
Lots of collaborators bounce from brand to brand, creating whatever projects they're inspired to create at any given moment, building an impressive list of partners. But not Cam'ron. "I'm not one to just jump the fence. Because you gave me a sneaker, now let's go to the next person," he says.
Cam'ron has the opportunity to work with all sorts of people all over the world. He's met them all. Except one. "The only person that I haven't met that I would like to wear the shoe is Larry David," says Cam'ron. "If I had to pick one person I would say him." Us too, Cam. Us too.
That being said, Cam'ron isn't going to slink around NYC with a pair of Reeboks in David's size, hoping to run into the man and squeeze the shoes onto his feet. Just like letting the pink photo usher in a narrative, it's all got to happen naturally. "It's wack if you've got to force somebody to do it. They've got to do it if they want to do it."
Watch for the Cam'ron x Reebok "Pink Monday" Ventilator Supreme to drop on November 28.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com. Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.