German-based lifestyle and footwear brand PUMA has never been synonymous with hip-hop culture, but after the company signed Meek Mill to an endorsement deal in 2012, everything started to change. In the five years since PUMA inked the Philly native to be a "lifestyle ambassador" for the brand, artists like Vic Mensa, Swae Lee and Slim Jxmmi of Rae Sremmurd, and Casey Veggies have all signed similar deals.
In a new interview with Ebro Darden on Hot 97, Meek, fresh off the release of his Wins & Losses album, revealed that, while the company's initial offer was a nice chunk of change, it took some serious convincing from a colleague before he agreed to take the bag from a company that wasn't seen as cool on the corner.
"Nobody wasn't wearin' PUMA," said Meek. "Before PUMA had Kylie Jenner and Rihanna and all that. Somebody had to beg me to take the PUMA deal. They was offering me, like, a million dollars. My guy, James, he's like, 'Take it, invest it, they got more marketing money for you. It don't matter nobody don't wear no PUMA.' I wanted Nike, I wanted to wear Reebok, something I could wear. Few years later... everybody got that now. I know what I offer to the game."
Hip-hop has long had a rocky relationship with brands and products that are not rooted in hip-hop culture, but the marriage between Meek and PUMA is still going strong five years later.
It looks like Meek's guy James knew what he was talking about.