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Bepul Kicks footwear gearing up for local hip-hop following

National City’s 15 year-old fashion entrepreneur

Lil Maru, Kyle Jang, Lil Weirdo
Lil Maru, Kyle Jang, Lil Weirdo

Bepul Kicks, a sneaker and fit shop in National City’s Westfield Plaza Bonita, has become command central for local hip-hop artists such as 22Gfay and Lil Weirdo. “Most of the time, my gear is in their videos,” says the shop’s owner, 15-year-old entrepreneur (and high school student) Kyle Jang. “Rappers have a big play in my business, because my customers follow what the rappers wear and listen to their music most of the time.”

Place

Bepul Kicks

3030 Plaza Bonita Rd. Ste 1060., San Diego

Lil Maru, a local 18-year-old rapper, took a photo with Jang at Jang’s brick-and-mortar store. Underneath the subsequent Instagram post, Maru commented “Ma boi, 100,” slang for “My buddy is 100 percent authentic.” The “On The Block” rapper has 123,000 Instagram followers; his YouTube page, launched in May 2020, recently surpassed 39,000,000 views.

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Bepul Kicks gear is worn in other local rap videos as well. Gfeeni, who recently dropped the “Everybody Hates Feeni” visualizer, also has mad love for the 15-year-old, calling him a “stand-up businessman.” Continues the rapper, “He carries himself professionally. I go by all the time. I stopped recently for a Sp5der shirt and Bape socks.” Gfeeni is seen in one of his videos rocking a Supreme ski mask, which Jang sells alongside Padres hats. Padres gear has been a popular accessory for San Diego rappers dating back to The Legion Of Doom’s 1988 anthem “This Is Diego.” Local hip-hop artists also like to show their “1904” roots, with the “19” representing the nineteenth letter in the alphabet, and “04” being the fourth — hence “SD.”

Sneakers are another major part of the hip-hop artists’ “drip” — fashion worn on social media and at live events. Drip is a demonstrable asset when it comes to the artists’ branding and allure. In the 1980s, costly shoes such as Air Jordans were go-to items to be worn on record covers; they signified how far the artists had come. And to this day, when hip-hop artists return to San Diego, flush with cash from touring, they tend to re-up on clothing and accessories.

This year, Lil Maru and 22Gfay will be traveling through 15 cities with GirlzLuhDev for their From Me 2 You tour. Their last stop is here in the 619 at Downtown’s House of Blues on March 26. After that, they’ll likely connect with Jang for some fresh gear. Jang hopes to sling his $1900 pair of Nike Dunk Low Off-White Lot 1 to the rappers — white low-top Nikes with a metallic silver swoosh and goldish-yellow soles. The pricey sneakers first sold in August 2021 for $150; nowadays, good luck finding them in San Diego. Jang, one of the only sneaker dealers in town to have them for sale, explains the ensuing price hike. “There were 50 colorways and they were very limited. Then, due to the passing of the designer, Virgil, prices went up.” (Virgil Abloh designed for Louis Vuitton and Fendi and founded Off-White, a high-end Italian clothing line that collaborated with Nike.) Jang also sells other crossover sneakers, with some fetching over $1000 a pair.

To obtain footwear for his customers, the sneakerhead competes with corporate conglomerates at the Westfield Plaza Bonita mall, including Champs Sports, House of Hoops, Foot Locker, Journeys, and Macy’s. His own store, located on the mall’s first floor, is packed with over 250 pairs of sneakers from brands such as A Bathing Ape, Nike, Supreme, Off-White, and Adidas — all favorites of local hip-hop heads. The brand names are also emblazoned on hoodies, T-shirts, baseball caps, beanies, ski masks, and socks — popular items among young graffiti artists, DJs, and breakers.

Jang explains that the “Bepul” in Bepul Kicks “is my last name’s definition in Korean, but I made it into an English word.” The “kicks” is slang for sneakers. “I get the mass amount of shoes from all the connections I have made from being in the business for around five years now,” he says. “I got into the business just trying to get some extra cash for myself — to buy and sell my own shoes, so I could afford the shoes I liked.”

Jang’s father, who helps watch over the storefront, says that business was better in 2021 — 2022 saw it drop around 50 percent. But young Jang is always looking forward, especially to the day when he obtains his driver’s license. He says that both sneaker purchases and networking within the local hip-hop community will be easier — and potentially more profitable — with a vehicle.

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Lil Maru, Kyle Jang, Lil Weirdo
Lil Maru, Kyle Jang, Lil Weirdo

Bepul Kicks, a sneaker and fit shop in National City’s Westfield Plaza Bonita, has become command central for local hip-hop artists such as 22Gfay and Lil Weirdo. “Most of the time, my gear is in their videos,” says the shop’s owner, 15-year-old entrepreneur (and high school student) Kyle Jang. “Rappers have a big play in my business, because my customers follow what the rappers wear and listen to their music most of the time.”

Place

Bepul Kicks

3030 Plaza Bonita Rd. Ste 1060., San Diego

Lil Maru, a local 18-year-old rapper, took a photo with Jang at Jang’s brick-and-mortar store. Underneath the subsequent Instagram post, Maru commented “Ma boi, 100,” slang for “My buddy is 100 percent authentic.” The “On The Block” rapper has 123,000 Instagram followers; his YouTube page, launched in May 2020, recently surpassed 39,000,000 views.

Sponsored
Sponsored

Bepul Kicks gear is worn in other local rap videos as well. Gfeeni, who recently dropped the “Everybody Hates Feeni” visualizer, also has mad love for the 15-year-old, calling him a “stand-up businessman.” Continues the rapper, “He carries himself professionally. I go by all the time. I stopped recently for a Sp5der shirt and Bape socks.” Gfeeni is seen in one of his videos rocking a Supreme ski mask, which Jang sells alongside Padres hats. Padres gear has been a popular accessory for San Diego rappers dating back to The Legion Of Doom’s 1988 anthem “This Is Diego.” Local hip-hop artists also like to show their “1904” roots, with the “19” representing the nineteenth letter in the alphabet, and “04” being the fourth — hence “SD.”

Sneakers are another major part of the hip-hop artists’ “drip” — fashion worn on social media and at live events. Drip is a demonstrable asset when it comes to the artists’ branding and allure. In the 1980s, costly shoes such as Air Jordans were go-to items to be worn on record covers; they signified how far the artists had come. And to this day, when hip-hop artists return to San Diego, flush with cash from touring, they tend to re-up on clothing and accessories.

This year, Lil Maru and 22Gfay will be traveling through 15 cities with GirlzLuhDev for their From Me 2 You tour. Their last stop is here in the 619 at Downtown’s House of Blues on March 26. After that, they’ll likely connect with Jang for some fresh gear. Jang hopes to sling his $1900 pair of Nike Dunk Low Off-White Lot 1 to the rappers — white low-top Nikes with a metallic silver swoosh and goldish-yellow soles. The pricey sneakers first sold in August 2021 for $150; nowadays, good luck finding them in San Diego. Jang, one of the only sneaker dealers in town to have them for sale, explains the ensuing price hike. “There were 50 colorways and they were very limited. Then, due to the passing of the designer, Virgil, prices went up.” (Virgil Abloh designed for Louis Vuitton and Fendi and founded Off-White, a high-end Italian clothing line that collaborated with Nike.) Jang also sells other crossover sneakers, with some fetching over $1000 a pair.

To obtain footwear for his customers, the sneakerhead competes with corporate conglomerates at the Westfield Plaza Bonita mall, including Champs Sports, House of Hoops, Foot Locker, Journeys, and Macy’s. His own store, located on the mall’s first floor, is packed with over 250 pairs of sneakers from brands such as A Bathing Ape, Nike, Supreme, Off-White, and Adidas — all favorites of local hip-hop heads. The brand names are also emblazoned on hoodies, T-shirts, baseball caps, beanies, ski masks, and socks — popular items among young graffiti artists, DJs, and breakers.

Jang explains that the “Bepul” in Bepul Kicks “is my last name’s definition in Korean, but I made it into an English word.” The “kicks” is slang for sneakers. “I get the mass amount of shoes from all the connections I have made from being in the business for around five years now,” he says. “I got into the business just trying to get some extra cash for myself — to buy and sell my own shoes, so I could afford the shoes I liked.”

Jang’s father, who helps watch over the storefront, says that business was better in 2021 — 2022 saw it drop around 50 percent. But young Jang is always looking forward, especially to the day when he obtains his driver’s license. He says that both sneaker purchases and networking within the local hip-hop community will be easier — and potentially more profitable — with a vehicle.

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