The shoe game's been seeing some heavy changes recently. The latest addition to brands hitting your local racks is SPECTRE by Supra—Lil Wayne's lifestyle shoe brand through One Distribution. Not to be confused with Supra, SPECTRE is a completely separate brand curated and influenced by Tunechi himself. And considering Weezy's newfound love for skateboarding, it's only natural he'd recruit a skater to rep the kicks. Handpicked by Lil Wayne, Chaz Ortiz is now on SPECTRE by Supra. Straight off his flight from Miami back home to Chicago, Chaz hopped on the phone for a few minutes to talk about the launch party, what it’s like to chill with Wayne, and how the new shoes skate. Read the interview below, as well as additional info on SPECTRE.
Words by Kevin Duffel, photography courtesy One Distribution.
You just got back from the SPECTRE launch party in Miami. How was that?
It was great. A lot of the [Supra] team came out. Ellington was there, Neen, Boo, Keelan, Stevie. So it was good times. It was my birthday actually, too, at midnight, which was even better. It worked out perfect.
Damn, that's not a bad birthday present right there, getting announced onto a new shoe company.
Yeah, for sure. And I got tattooed by Wayne [laughs]. He put "skate life" on my arm. It's like three inches long. It's pretty funny.
Had you known Wayne for a while before all of this?
I met him at Tampa two years ago. And then I was in Cali and his manager hit me up to go skate. We went to the Berrics and exchanged numbers, and ever since then, he always hits me up to skate whenever he's in Cali or hang out when he's got time. So I mean, that's kind of how it started. He's such a cool dude. I hung out with him a couple times this past weekend.
“Even when he watches people skate his eyes light up, like, ‘Oh shit, that was sick.’ He always gives props. Why would you hate on a dude for wanting to skate?”
So he specifically reached out to you and handpicked you to rep the brand, right?
Yeah. I was already talking to some people at Supra, so this worked out perfect. Me and Wayne had a relationship going, and me and Supra were trying to do something, so this just really worked out perfect.
You went from being on DC with a whole team to now being the only skater on the squad at SPECTRE. Is there a lot of pressure being the only skater on a brand?
Nah. I might still go on other Supra trips and be a part of that crew. But it's through his brand. I don't know how it's going to work, but it should be cool.
So are there any other people besides you and Wayne signed on to rep the brand, or is that it for now?
I think that's it.
What were you doing before this came knocking? There were a couple years where you didn't have a shoe sponsor, right?
Yeah, I just kinda waited. I told myself I wanted to be on Supra more than any other brand. I just thought it would be a good look for me. They were sending me shoes and I were rocking them for a while. And then finally this all came together. But I was just kinda skating in whatever I got. I knew a lot of people so I was getting shoes—I think I had more shoes when I wasn't sponsored than when I was sponsored [laughs]. Which is funny, but yeah, I just kinda skated whatever and wasn't thinking about it. But then, like I said, it all just came together and worked out.
From what I've seen of all the SPECTRE shoes, it's definitely more of a lifestyle-inspired brand with some crazy high-tops and streetwear shoes. What shoes have you been skating in? Are there any skate friendly shoes?
Yeah, there is. It's like a low-top vulc, really good to skate in. I've skated in them [the Griffin] and they're really good, so I'm hyped on that. It's not a crazy shoe—just super mellow and plain. It looks cool and skates really well. So I'll just skate those and rock the lifestyle ones.
Were you a fan of Weezy's tunes before this?
Oh yeah. I grew up listening to him. I used to watch his documentaries. It's Lil Wayne, ya know? When I was coming up, he was huge. And now to just be chilling with him, it's pretty crazy. But he's such a cool dude. He's so funny, so chill, and just down to skate and hang out. He's rad.
I'm sure you've watched him progress a bunch in the past couple years.
Yeah, he's been killing the miniramp. Every time I see him he's got some new tricks. And you can tell he loves it. He just skates wherever, whenever. It's so rad. You can tell he loves it. I went to his house and I think he had like 50 completes. He's got boards on his walls. He just loves it.
Yeah, so I was gonna say, obviously a lot of people give him shit and say he doesn't belong in skating and whatnot. Now, riding for his brand and being pretty good friends with him, what would you have to say to all those people?
Yeah, I don't get it. I mean, sure, he's a rapper, but let him live. If he wants to skate, I don't know why the skate community would make it such a big deal. I just see it as the dude loves skating and he skates. He's only been skating for a year and a half or two years or something, so it's not like he's going to be [super good]—that shit takes a while to learn. People are just crazy about it. They think he's just trying to get into skating for whatever reason, but you can tell, even when he watches people skate his eyes light up, like, "Oh shit, that was sick." He always gives props. Why would you hate on a dude for wanting to skate?
Yeah, totally. And at the end of the day, he's giving people like you opportunity to continue skating and make a living off of it.
Exactly. Look at what he did for me.
What can we expect to see for SPECTRE in the future? Any plans that you know of?
All I know is that the skate shoes are gonna be really good. They're gonna make some cool shoes. I'm just going to go with it. I haven't really talked too much about that whole situation, but I know it's going to be good. It's going to be big—especially with the shoes they've got. They have a really good skate shoe and I really like it. All the kids will like it. And then a lot of sneaker heads will like the lifestyle shoes. So it's cool.
For sure. And now you get to skate to Weezy's songs whenever you want for your parts, free of charge, right?
[Laughs] I know, right?
Stand up on stage and do kickflips while he's playing shows.
[Laughs] I'm down. But no, I'm psyched on it. Finally it seems like something's happened. It was worth the wait. It was well worth it. It's above anything that I could possibly imagine. And he's not stupid. He's gonna do it super proper.
That should be all good, unless there's anything else you want to say?
I just want to thank Supra and Wayne for giving me the opportunity. I'm looking forward to the future.
Revisit Zoo York’s The Chaz Ortiz Video
ABOUT SPECTRE BY SUPRA:
Lil Wayne's new shoe company, SPECTRE, launched at an event in Miami on Friday, May 3 (one day before Chaz Ortiz's 19th birthday). At the event Lil Wayne announced that Chaz Ortiz will be riding for SPECTRE.
While some SPECTRE designs are influenced by skateboarding, and Wayne enjoys skating himself, SPECTRE is a lifestyle footwear brand.
SPECTRE by Supra is a footwear brand. Lil Wayne and One Distribution partnered to create a third brand under the One Distribution umbrella SPECTRE.
SPECTRE will be releasing three styles to the line: Chimera, Griffin, Kondor. The Griffin is a skate inspired design and is the one Chaz is most hyped to skate in.