10 years ago, Chief Keef proclaimed himself “True Religion Fein” on a Young Chop instrumental filled with snare drums and punchy bells. Barely 16 at the time, he was already becoming the face of Chicago’s seething musical drill movement. And “True Religion Fein” wasn’t just a clever nickname. The cover of his 2012 mixtape Back from the dead featured him posing in a v-neck t-shirt with the brand’s horseshoe logo debossed on the chest and he wore their signature denim in videos. His co-sign’s influence can still be seen in 2022. On the phone, Chief Keef recalls a group of young white rappers he recently met on YouTube, still mimicking his original sound and even dressing like him.
“Oh my God. He talks like the old me. It looked like he was stuck in 2013,” Chief Keef says. He laughs as he explains the video. “They all dress like I did, rap like I used to, it’s crazy. And it’s all new, like this year. They always wear the same cuts. The denim jackets, the baseball shirts, the jeans, it’s crazy, man. Still at this day.
Chief Keef’s ties to True Religion were unofficial in 2012, but there’s no denying the California-based company has had his backing. He says when he finally got the money, it was all spent on his jeans and shirts at the time. After years of rocking the designer and influencing his fans to follow suit, he’s officially collaborating with True Religion.
“It’s always been a dream to work with True Religion ever since I did the song,” Chief Keef said while speaking to Complex over the phone about the upcoming release slated for True Religion’s online store on May 5. -the old artist rarely does interviews, he seems particularly committed. He is most excited when talking about the upcoming collaboration. “I told them that I had started designing and that I wanted to do a collaboration and work on stuff. And they were willing to let me. They gave me all the creativity to do everything. I just went to work.
the collection consists of denim jackets, jeans, t-shirts and loungewear like sweatpants and hoodies. They gave each item a unique touch with details such as flames, cartoon skulls, hearts and phrases like “TRUEE” running down the pant legs in colorful bubble letters. For Chief Keef’s loyal fanbase, the look may be familiar to his solo clothing ventures with Glo Gang and recently launched Bad weather. It wasn’t just a great artist putting his name to a collaboration. Chief Keef designed it all.
“We really view True Religion as a blank canvas. We give our brand to other people to interpret and see through their lens. It was amazing Chief Keef looking at it through his lens,” said True Religion creative director Zihaad Wells. The partnership aligned well as the denim line’s 20th anniversary coincides with the 10th anniversary of Chief Keef’s “True Religion Fein.” “We just became synonymous. You think Chief Keef, you think True Religion.
The capsule is the latest example of True Religion trying to make its way into the fashion zeitgeist. In 2021, he released a collab with Supreme that sold out in minutes. A few months later, he tapped another rapper known for his love of the brand, 2 Chainz, for an official release commemorating his 2011 mixtape. TRU REALigion.
“There are these parallels that have happened alongside the brand. As a brand, you’re staying true to who you are and not trying to jump on the bandwagon with Chief Keef, or 2 Chainz, or whoever. You appreciate what they bring and how they represent the brand, but you keep doing what you do,” Wells says of the impact certain artists have had on True Religion’s success throughout its history. . “Being our 20th anniversary, being able to recognize the artists who have supported this brand over the past 10 years, I think is the right thing to do.”
Ahead of the launch of Chief Keef x True Religion, we caught up with Chief Keef for an exclusive interview about what this collaboration means to him, the influence he’s had on music and fashion, the evolution of the genre drill, and more.