When Christopher Jordan Wallace isn’t in the studio spitting his own bars, or hanging out with stylish guys like Ashton Sanders, he’s cutting his teeth as an actor in films like Notorious and new coming-of-age flick Kicks. A no-punches-pulled exploration of sneaker culture’s highs and lows, Kicks documents one kid’s journey through Northern California to retrieve his stolen shoes – at any cost. Here’s what CJ Wallace had to say about Air Jordans, 90s hip-hop and, oh yeah, his dad – The Notorious B.I.G..
CJ WALLACE'S STYLE FILE
By Kasia Hastings, 22 May 2017
Have you ever owned a pair of Jordan 1s – the shoes at the centre of Kicks?
Yep, when I was little I had the exact pair – the Bred 1s. I didn’t get 'em stolen like in the film though. I had them when I was real small, but I definitely remember seeing them on my feet.
What’s your favourite sneaker of all time?
If I had to choose one pair to wear for the rest of my life, it’d probably be some Air Max 95s. All black because you can wear them every day, with any outfit.
What is your biggest fashion regret?
There’s this hilarious photo my sister tagged me in the other day. It was her 16th birthday. It was not a good look. I’ve got on a Louis Vuitton scarf, with this printed jacket, a Minnesota Timberwolves hat… It was definitely wild, it was all over the place, but I was 13!
Have you always wanted to act?
Not always. I’ve been into music ever since I was little. When we used to live in Atlanta, my mum [Faith Evans] built a studio in the basement, and that was like our playroom. She used to have Pharrell, Missy Elliott over, all these people that I’d see on TV and with her out on tour. I just felt I wanted to be a part of that life.
Music was always calling me and my brother. We used to make little joke songs when we were like nine – it didn’t really start getting serious until high school. That was when I started really caring for it.
Do you think you’ll go back to it?
Definitely. Music is my main focus. My brother and I, and this girl Berkley that we’ve been working with, have formed a group, and we’ve got a project coming soon, which is exciting. We’re inspired by Jamiroquai, Bad Boy, 90s rap and a lot of different alternative groups.
Has the 90s rap scene influenced your fashion?
Definitely, but with a touch of modern, new-age style. A typical everyday look for me would no doubt involve sweats of some kind. I always find myself in adidas sweats for the comfort, then I usually go with a big jacket and maybe a tank, or a tee underneath. But my style can range, it can be influenced by things from everywhere really.
What do you think about British style – do you like it?
Oh yeah. I like Jamiroquai’s look with the hats he be wearing. There’s great style going on in the grime scene, I really like everything they’re doing – Boy Better Know – they’ve created their own sound, too. I actually caught Skepta at Coachella, he was really good.
Your dad was famously stylish – have you learnt any style lessons from him?
For sure. Both my dads were stylish. I’ve actually got two dads: the man who raised me, Todd Russaw, and the man who everybody knows. Todd was the guy who really gave me my style. He showed me all the secret shopping spots in LA, even down to the streetwear spots. We were wearing Undefeated before it really became defined as ‘streetwear’. Fashion has always been one of the major things I’ve cared about, I always wanted to wear my own clothes. I hated it when my mum picked out my clothes for me.
Kicks is available on digital download now.