In what appears to be a partnership of destiny, KJ and sneaker designer Matt Hill got together when he pledged to do a “studio hang” for the Jonah campaign. The pair weren’t able to make the studio session happen, so instead, KJ invited Hill to join him, along with Canon and Derek Minor to shoot the “Nah Bruh” and “Know About It” videos.
As the two began talking, KJ realized the uncanny connection they had. Hill was from Fort Myers High School, the rival school to KJ’s Mariner’s High School. The two have also been involved with the same churches over the years but at different times.
Not only that, but Hill was one of the extras playing basketball in KJ’s music video for “He Did That,” eight years prior.
From there, Hill started telling KJ about his shoe company MHill.
Hill has designed sneakers for Christian Hip-Hop legends GRITS. He made them a shoe with a Golden Sole to celebrate “Ooh Ahh” going Gold.
The Michael Jordan of his brand is professional bodybuilder Phil Heath. He is the No. 1 ranked bodybuilder in the world and has won six straight Mr. Olympia titles. Two more wins will see him surpass Arnold Schwarzenegger for most wins of all-time. He even wore the shoes on the cover of Flex Magazine.
Another client is Robert “50” Martin. He is one of the top streetball players in the world and known for a show on ESPN and And1 basketball mixtapes. This summer he’ll be playing one-on-one with Penny Hardaway, and MHill will be providing all his shoes.
MHill has also partnered for charity work with Henry Cavill (Superman) and Tim Tebow.
Another important aspect to Hill is that he’s a believer that is just looking to put out a quality product.
“That’s part of my motivation. Seeing Kanye West outsell Lebron and Wade and just sell more than any of the basketball players. There isn’t a void as far as sneakers for the hip-hop world. If it was up to me, I’d never buy a pair of secular rappers' shoes because the message in their music is something I don’t agree with,” said Hill. “How do I give this opportunity to a Christian hip-hop head for a sneaker they can proudly rock? I’m not saying I’m going to take down Adidas, but there should be another option.”
He continued, “The goal with the KJ52 collaboration is to allow Christian hip-hop to have a voice in the footwear industry. Some of the biggest sneakers out now are backed by secular hip-hop artists.”
KJ was sold on the idea of collaborating, noting how hard it is to break into the sneaker industry. Despite his initial skepticism, he was impressed by the quality.
“In this industry, the only thing we really have left is partnerships. You just need to look at people as resources and partnerships. How do we mutually benefit each other?”
He continued, “Over the years I’ve been approached by so many Christian rap clothing lines. I’ve been hesitant to rock them either due to the quality level or the idea of making money off the Bible/verses. I get scared to make money off of Jesus, it makes me nervous.”
Nevertheless, KJ and MHill got together and created a limited edition “Jonah” running shoe and a limited edition “Jonah” fashion sneaker. The running sneaker retails for $199.99 and the fashion sneaker retails for $249.99 and also comes with a “Jonah” album cover themed box. For those stuck on the price, know that all sneakers are made to order. The fashion sneaker is handmade from the finest materials in Italy. According to Hill, these are the best sneakers you can buy.
“Shoes go hand in hand with hip-hop culture. I find it interesting that we won’t spend any money on music but we’ll drop $250 on sneakers without even blinking,” KJ said.
For those who can not shell out the cash, there is a pair of running sneakers being given away.
In order to get involved, sign up to KJ’s mailing list. From there, you will begin a digital scavenger hunt over the next five days with clues delivered to your email. All of the items will be sneaker related and you’ll have to find the object and take a selfie with it.
“Last man standing gets the shoes,” said KJ.
So what are you waiting for? Go win the sneakers, the contest starts today!
Sign up here.
For more info on MHill shoes click here.