• 16-JUN-2015

Big Sean and adidas Originals: Past, Present, and Paradise

The Sean Anderson Studio of Infinite Possibilities is the culmination of a creative partnership between Big Sean and adidas Originals that begged the question how far can we go? The origins began in the adidas Originals ZX Flux, a shoe so imaginatively unbounded that it can transform one musician's dream into a reality to give back to the very school, Cass Technical High School, that fueled him to never give up on his dreams of becoming a worldwide hip-hop sensation.

"adidas Originals has always been at the forefront of hip-hop culture in America and (abroad)," said Brandon Beaty, Director of Brand Communications for adidas Originals. Now they have taken it even further than anyone else so when they asked Sean to dream bigger than ever before he reached towards the heavens to find the inspiration for the Sean Anderson Studio of Infinite Possibilities.

Since 2012, Big Sean and adidas Originals have been an unstoppable synergy, ever since their first joint the adidas Original Pro Model II, everyone knew the two collaborators were onto something special. After that the two would go onto design the ultra-sleek adidas Metro Attitude Hi, a shoe so hot it cooled down anyone who wore them. Then, in 2014 adidas provided the gear to film the now infamous "IDFWU" music video. Now with the introduction of the ZX Flux, a shoe that can be customized by smartphone applied photography, they have proven that adidas Originals and Big Sean are more than just two brands teaming up: They are re-imagining the entire geography of hip-hop branded sportswear.

Big Sean steps out onto the streets of the historic Palmer Park, his old neighborhood in Detroit where he reached adolescence, to view his father's house when alarm sirens begin to blare. His smile brightens the gloomy day, "that's what I'm talking about." Detroit. Today is one of the most defining in a life filled with memorable moments. He's taking us on a tour of his old stomping grounds before unveiling the Sean Anderson Studio of Infinite Possibilities to the students of Cass Technical High School, his alma mater.

"This is where it all went down: Northlawn between Thatcher and Curtis" he says, gesturing at his mother's home. Myra Anderson looks on with pride as her son waxes poetic about scraped knees, Thanksgiving dinners, fresh adidas Originals gear, and Snoop Dogg records. He even shot his first music video on the front lawn when he was 12 year old, his first rap he had written down the street before coming home introducing it to his mom. Nostalgia. "I wasn't allowed to go off this block, I couldn't go further than my mom yelling out the window so if I went down the street to play basketball as soon as I heard 'Sean!' I would be like "Oh I gotta go.' Remember that Mom?" She laughs, "You were supposed to be in when the streetlights were on." "It is that real out here," he adds. While Detroit has experienced turbulent tides, the water smooths with each wade Sean makes into the city.

"Hey! Detroit loves you Big Sean!" a passerby screams out of the window of his sedan. "Hey I love you," he replies with a grace and gravitas so few people seem to possess but practically sparkles off of his glimmering smile. And why wouldn't it? We're standing in front of his grandmother's house now on Outer Drive near Marvin Gaye's old home. She was one of the most inspirational figures in his life, a proud grandmother to not only Sean but also to the Detroit Public School system. Mildred V. Leonard grew up from poverty in West Virginia to become one of the first female African-American captains in World War II to a police officer to a school teacher. She was an astronaut. Sean begins to wince and tear up as the emotional impact of a thousand memories wash over him at once. The sea foam green door of her home welcomes him back into a life he will never leave behind. Last winter she passed away at the age of 93, leaving a ravine in Sean's life that he knew must be filled.

Once again adidas Originals was there for Sean by igniting the torch that would become The Sean Anderson Studio of Infinite Possibilities. After his grandmother's passing they knew they wanted to create something in her honor so they drew from her years in Detroit as a teacher and Sean's want to give back to his alma mater. But adidas Originals didn't just want to bring a studio to Big Sean, he had already built his own in his home, they wanted to provide a studio for the children of Cass Tech that would offer them the imagination incubator to change their lives with the click of a record button. Through Sean's guidance and armed with the concept adidas Originals reached out to local businesses and technicians to build the studio and supply the equipment. The response was tremendous with an all hands on deck Detroit spirit they were able to accomplish this feat in a mere two weeks because of adidas Originals' unrelenting goal to create their most unprecedented work yet.

The kids at Cass Tech are anxious, squirmy, and loud. The auditorium can't contain the excitement as a cavalcade of students descends, claiming spots for an assembly they presumably know nothing about, although murmurs and rumors are leaking through the student body like a sieve. Brian Wilson, a 16-year-old staff writer for the Cass Tech newspaper says, "I think everyone knows of the 'Big Surprise'" he was told of earlier. School principal Lisa Phillips calms the electrical energy running through the air by wrangling her students to settle before the announcement. "This is a once in a lifetime opportunity," she says to quell the chatter.

And then, suddenly, He steps out from behind the curtain. Think the Second Coming and you're still nowhere near it. Total rapture. The kids hoot and holler with an eardrum shattering elation that makes Beatlemania sound like a bore. "I love CT baby!" he shouts. The madness persists and smartphones abound flash as Sean stands before them grinning from ear to ear. This is the culmination of a challenge he put forth to students last year to increase their ACT scores promising he would return, and lo and behold they passed with flying colors. Little did they know he would not only return with adidas Originals but also bring along a music recording studio to offer the teenagers a chance to explore a world that will offer them infinite possibilities, a theme that runs through the halls of Cass Tech. "There are jobs for everyone (out there)," he cheers, "not just in recording, there is so much to learn in music from the poetry to the rappers." He cheers once more with "It means so much to me to show love to the city" before taking off to the studio. There he will listen to the best the school has to offer, from the music program to the drama department. Each chosen student will have the opportunity to sit in with Sean, record their music, and receive feedback from Cass Tech's native son. Chants of "WE GOT SEAN!" thunder across the crowd as he heads to the studio.

Later, on the rooftop of Cass Tech, Sean recounts the moments at his school that led him to greatness and the teachers who pushed him to never give up. The clouds have finally parted for the day, and the sun bursts through, illuminating the skyline of a city destined for greatness once again. Sean sees the sun reappearing, and he winces once more, this time smiling, "It all paid off how much those times (I) spent free-styling in the cafeteria, making beats on the tables, selling my CDs around the school and getting in trouble for it. Fast forward ten years later, and I'm opening a studio. It's just a testament to your hopes and dreams."