The New York Red Bulls are set to introduce their third "freestyle" shirt alongside Lionel Messi's upcoming MLS debut. This unique jersey marks a tribute to 50 years of hip-hop's influence in the region, encapsulating the diverse styles and artistic expressions that have defined this cultural movement.
Kevin Maulbeck, the Art Director of the New York Red Bulls, described the thought process behind the design: "Hip-Hop represents a global movement that spans 50 years and has seen many different styles and approaches. The Freestyle kit design had to be raw and authentic... When people see this jersey, it’s my hope that they think it is loud and true. The inspiration goes far beyond New York Hip-Hop, but at its core, that’s exactly what it is: the local scene on display for the global audience."
The design of the kit draws inspiration from the essence of graffiti art, an integral part of hip-hop culture. The New York Red Bulls aimed to capture the unfiltered spirit of graffiti in their design, embracing imperfections for an authentic feel. This pays homage to the urban landscape and the pioneers who have shaped the hip-hop culture in the region.
More than just a sports jersey, this third kit serves as a nod to the legacy of hip-hop's key figures – MCs, DJs, Graffiti artists, Breakers, and Beatboxers. It acknowledges the profound impact of hip-hop on global culture and celebrates the creativity of those who have contributed to its growth over the past five decades.
The debut of the Freestyle Kit on August 26th, coincides with Lionel Messi's first appearance in the MLS. The two MLS Eastern Conference sides face off at Red Bull Arena on August 27th, and you can watch it on Apple TV - MLS Season pass.