December 5, 2022
Yara Shahidi; Swae Lee


Yara Shahidi gets creative with Grammy-nominated singer and songwriter Swae Lee. The new generation pioneers create custom kicks and talk success on this week’s Yara Shahidi’s Day Off.

Swae Lee: The Multi-talented designer

Swae Lee invites Yara into his world of sneaker design at Majorwavez Lab; a class that focuses on industrial sewing machines and hands-on expertise. An obvious connoisseur of design, Swae Lee dives in with confidence and knowledge of the makings of an eye-catching shoe. In true Rockstar fashion, he goes directly for the attention; getting platinum glitter fabric.

Yara kicked off the experience by asking Swae, “If you could make anything, like If you could design absolutely anything what’s the first thing?”

I want to design the new body of a car, like a new style.” Swae Lee replied.

As a true innovator, his talents know no end.  He even eluded to designing one of the racer’s outfits.

Watch the full episode below.

Designing for Italian designer Giuseppe Zanotti

In 2020, Swae Lee collaborated with world-renowned Italian shoe designer, Giuseppe Zanotti. This pronounced collection of floral accented loafers, boots, and sneakers

 “When you designed for Giuseppe, what was that like? Did you already know walking in, this is what I want? Is this something that took time,” Yara asked.

“I had a show in Italy or something. So Giuseppe came through. He was just telling me, like, he vibed with all the music and stuff. We were chopping it up. He gave me the base model he wanted me to design. Going back, next time I do it, I’ma really be in tune with it and really change stuff. But he gave me a base model. He just told me [to] go crazy with it. I drew it up on, actually, a notepad.”

Swae Lee and Giuseppe Zanotti shot exclusively for FN in Miami. CREDIT: MARY BETH KOETH

The “Black Beatles” rapper/singer has dominated the music industry since he emerged in the rap duo, Rae Sremmurd. He has shattered the status-quo ceiling in hip hop and the same can be said for his striking take on the modern-day shoe style.

Lee credits his out-of-the-box thinking to his creative success.

Swae Lee, In Beyoncé’s formation

Yara got the scoop on the famous creation of Beyoncé’s single, “Formation. This hit single-handedly sparked a force of women empowerment amongst the ladies. It’s powerful yet fun lyrics had all the women taking their man to Red Lobster. What was Swae Lee’s role in this feministic gem?

“Right. So, okay. Can you tell me the organic story of ‘Formation’? For you to come up with that line,” Shahidi asked.

“Formation… You know, I be on my topics. I’ll be on my turn-up stuff. I’m staying for me, like, okay, lady, let’s get in formation. Like all the ladies, you know what I’m saying? I was working with Mike Will, we cooked that song up, ‘Freestyle.’ Jimmy got on there freestyle, we both did it. Mike Will had a session with Beyoncé. And so he played her that, and she was feeling that. I remember the first time I met her, it was crazy. Her energy is unmatched. She just got in and did her thing, and it ended up being like one the biggest songs in the world. Whole tour,” Lee shared.

Yara Shahidi’s Day Off

Swae maintains that music is his main focus. He shared with Yara that he keeps his center and balances the industry life by not switching. It’s no secret, being a driving force in the industry requires a lot of time and focus. Artists are known to go days on end giving high energy performances amongst other things.

“We machines,” Swae says. “But you stay grounded. You stay aware. You stay observant. And you stay consistent,” he continued.

Swae Lee vs. Khalif

Khalif Malik Ibn Shaman Brown adopted the stage name Swae Lee. As with most celebrity entertainers, adopting an alter-ego gives way to express a persona outside of what is expected. Yara captured the true essence of Swae’s authenticity and probed the contrast between Swae and Khalif.

  “Knowing that your process is based on authenticity and being you, would you feel like there’s a distinction when you’re Khalif or when you’re Swae Lee? Is there a distinction?” –

“There is technically. But, Swae Lee is, he’s so big. It consumed my life. Of course underneath, I’m still Khalif. But, the brand got so big, Khalif is my real life, but–”

Be sure to catch Yara Shahidi’s Day Off every Thursday at 9amPT/12pmET on Facebook Watch and Instagram.

 

Written by Antoinette Ford | Facebook: Antoinette Ford | Instagram: iamtonimonique_ | Twitter: @mizzford9





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