Saturday, January 29, 2011

Rasheed's 1st interview as president of Run Athletics

Tell me about your background.
I grew up in Queens. I went to Queensboro Community College and I studied marketing there. I actually got a degree in accounting and the transition had been crazy. I was with AOL/Time Warner under Gerald Levine as a junior accountant. The funny thing is, I hated math, but what is even more surprising is I'm a quick learner so I picked up an accounting program in school. So just having that skill and a 2-year degree enabled me to rise to up the AOL/Time Warner ladder.

I went to work one day and realized that it was so routine that I decided I didn't want to continue on with it. Instead of quitting I packed my bags and I went to the Dominican Republic and stayed there for a month just on vacation out of nowhere. I came back landing in Miami and stayed there for 6 months. When I got back to New York I said to myself "What do I want to do now?" Clothing sounded like a good idea. And now I'm here.

You started out with your own line of clothing (Cash Is King) what did that line consist of?
Basically, it was a line for the hood. I grew up in Jamaica Queens; I'm like a popular neighborhood kid there. Back then, me and my partner Dante where the types of kids who stashed things. So the motto of Cash Is King became, “Cash Is King you stash those things.” The whole idea behind it was we came up with stash pockets to hide contraband in your clothing. So pretty much everyone knew us as the guys who stashed those things… Cash Is King!

So you came up with the stash concept way before Beanie Segal came with State Property Clothing line?

Way before, I mean we had been doing Cash Is King for about 10 years. My partner was incarcerated so when he came out he already had the idea of what to do and I knew the right people to get it executed.

Tell me how you came to be part of the Phat Farm family?
Basically, I lived in Jamaica Estates, Queens. Rev Run lives around the corner from me. I had my previous clothing line Cash Is King and I was looking for someone to endorse my clothing line. I choose Rev Run after looking in a magazine. I saw his house and I said, "Hey I know where that house is!" So, I sent a letter to his house saying that I'd like him to come see some of my work and Rev Run took the time out to come and see me. He said, "I don’t know why, but I get thousands of letters every week from fans of Run DMC." So then he said, "Wow, you know what? Lets do an athletics line ourselves!” and I said, "Wow! We could call it Run Athletics." It just sounds right. And Rev was like, “Yeah that’s hot!” So we searched for a deal by ourselves for a year.

Eventually, we figured out that the logical thing to do would be to deal with Russell, who but Russell? I said to Run one day, “Wait! Russell's your brother, we got that connect.” “Let's go see Russell about doing this.” Russell loved the idea and got behind it 100%. He and Rev, they just went crazy with it.

What year did this all take place?
We initially came up with the concept at the end of 2002 and we closed the deal in 2003.

What’s the difference between Phat Farm and Run Athletics?
Actually, we're one in the same; we're like an extended family. It’s all Russell’s world and you can't have that without an athletic side. We're the athletic side of Phat Farm, as Russell would say, we're the urban Nike. We're the Nike that the hood wants to wear; we’re the Nike that the entertainers want to wear. Even though people are wearing Nike and you can't take anything away from them. This is Phat Farm and if you want real urban athletic gear you'll want Run Athletics.

Describe the Run Athletics line.
Run Athletics is not jeans or street gear, it's jogging suits, basketball warm-ups, fleece hoodies, jackets and even sneakers. We're working on our first sneaker the Run Tek that is due out next year in the summer so that’s going that's going to be the hottest item out.

Reverend Run is the President of Phat Farm footwear and he's so done so well at it that their going to launch another sneaker and along with that sneaker comes the clothing line. So that's the whole mentality behind it.

What kind of sneaker will it be?
It's going to be a totally different sneaker, a higher priced sneaker that has a lot of functionality. I can't really go into detail about it right now because we're still in the finalizing process. It's going to be a very technical sneaker.

How involved are you in the actual design of the Run Athletics line?
I am involved at least 99%. Do to the fact that when we have people submit designs I take those designs and submit them to Russell and he gives feedback and Rev Run gives feedback. Direction comes from both of the brothers. I kind of express what they want to see for the upcoming season. I entrust what they like to the designers. I'll say Russell is feeling Tiger Wood's whole movement right now. I'll say to the designers Tiger Woods is the theme this year let's go heavy on golf inspired designs. We'll talk about fabrics and the colors and the whole process of timing. Also, what my licensors expect for the designers and visa-versa. All the way down to the dollars, I’m involved on all levels. Even if I have to have something faxed I’ll do it. I have to say without the help of Treis Hill I won't be able to accomplish half the things I need to do on a daily basis. Nobody does it alone and he's like umm, people call us like Frick and Frack. I'm glad to be able to work with him.

What’s your work ethic?
When I come to work I come to school. I get mentored everyday by Reverend Run, Myorr Janha and Russell Simmons, those guys are my mentors. When I come up in here I’m pretty much a learner. I mean, I'm still in my learning stage I've been here working in this office for about a year, but I learn everyday. I make decisions but not too many I'm still the baby of the company although I'm a partner.

So you're being nurtured in the ways of Phat Farm then you’re on your own?
I don't think I'll ever be alone, like Rev says, “It’s always great to have someone above you.” And with everyone here to guide me I've looked to them on many occasions before I make the big decisions. I've never taken the position of saying, “I'm the head of Run Athletics.” I always say Phat Farm first! That’s very important.

What achievement are you most proud of?
I guess being a part of the Phat Farm Family. Rev Run says that I am down with Russell Simmons and Reverend Run and there are almost millions of people would want to be down with either one or the other and I'm down with both. That means a lot to me, it drives me to come in early and leave late and try to become someone like the next Russell Simmons.

What’s your biggest mistake?
Probably my youth, most of my biggest mistakes have helped me grow. So I don't regret anything I’ve done. All the things I’ve done has taught me a lot, it's taught me to mature. I was a wild child yes, I've done just about every drug and I have done most of what any bad person would do but I think that had I not experienced those things, I would have never learned and I would have never decided to mature. I think those that are sheltered from things like that, they never truly find themselves. You know, I think I've learned a lot because I've been though a lot.

What are your guiding principals?
First and foremost I get up and pray to god each morning. My mom passed away when I was about 21 so just keeping her on my mind keeps me going. There's not much else that keeps me driven or straight. I think family is real important and if you look at the difference between family and your job it's the same structure, the same format. If you want to do well and achieve well you have to have the right kind of support behind you and that elevates you.

What's you birth date?
April 15th I'm 32 years old. When people look at me they think I'm still in my 20's

Recently married I heard?
Yes sir! In Ocho Rios, Jamaica and I've only known her for a year but I look around me and I see Russell married and Rev married. I figured it was time to settle down myself. I mean I have a son on the way too. So the need to build family is very important to me right now. That all plays a part in the way I was raised.

*Bonus vintage Rasheed footage/interview*


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