Multiplatinum Recording Artist Tainy on J Balvin Influencing His Sneaker Spending and the SpongeBob Movie Soundtrack

The producer behind some of reggaeton’s biggest hits also has serious style.

Tainy, whose real name is Marco Masís, is a mainstay in the recording studio with the likes of J Balvin, Bad Bunny and countless others. And when they’re together creating chart-topping music, there’s a good chance Tainy has on the best sneakers in the room.

Breaking down his sneaker collection to FN, the Puerto Rican musician explained how growing up a basketball fan has influenced his sneaker tastes, which has also been shaped by the stylish music industry stars that he’s closely aligned with.

Aside from sneakers, Tainy is currently hard at work on a project near and dear to him that harkens back to his childhood. The artist is producing the soundtrack for the upcoming film “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run,” which is slated to debut stateside in 2021. The second single “Krabby Step” featuring Swae Lee, Tyga and Lil Mosey dropped today.

Speaking with FN, Tainy revealed the big money he’s spent on vintage shoes during COVID-19 lockdown and how J Balvin has influenced his sneaker spending habits.

You’ve worked with some megastars including J Balvin and Bad Bunny. What is the creative process like with some of the huge names you’ve worked with?

Tainy: “With Balvin, we sit down and talk and see where his head is at creatively, what he wants to do — it’s more of a team thing where we sit down. He really likes my input in what I think production-wise and even on the lyrics, like ‘Should I say this?’ or ‘What should we talk about?’ He really integrates me in a different way than how other artists do. [And] working with Bunny is a slightly different approach. We also sit down and talk and see where he is at and he also wants insight of what I think will be cool. But when it comes to writing and going into the song he doesn’t even record in the studio, he goes to his house or hotel, he isolates to do this thing. And then when you see the final product, he’ll add some ideas that he has on the production side or just leave it as it is.”

What can fans expect from the “The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge on the Run” soundtrack?

“Because I grew up watching it, I wanted to stay true to it. If you know the franchise, you know that there are certain theme songs within episodes, so there’s a lot to play with so we can stay true to what it is and not just have a normal song and say SpongeBob on top of it. I wanted to have something that feels natural to what it is. It was a fun, cool process — I have never been able to do something like it. It was cool to be able to sit down and create, having the tools from the studio and them giving us all these theme songs and different adlibs and things from the characters, to then think of who could be dope to sing on this or that track. It’s a dream come through for me to be able to work for a movie.”

Given your love for both SpongeBob and sneakers, is it safe to say you have the entire Nike Kyrie x Sponge Bob collection?

“As soon as I started to work on SpongeBob I wanted those Kyries so bad, but that’s something that I haven’t been able to get in my possession. And I’m a huge basketball fan, so [the Nike] Kyrie is my go-to shoe right now to play basketball.”

What projects have you been working on throughout this seemingly endless period of forced isolation?

“It’s been a different lifestyle right now, everybody has been staying at home or staying where they’re at. I think everybody’s had a chance to just not be so hectic and busy and be in a creative mode of, ‘What’s next? What do I want to talk about now?’ Everybody’s been in album mode so they’ve kept me busy. Anuel AA just put an album out but it’s right back to out. Ozuna just put an album out. Bunny, he goes into his own cave for a while and as soon as he comes out he’s going to be coming out with some amazing music.”

Tainy in an original Air Jordan 1 from 1985.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Jota Rosa

What sneakers do you have in your collection?

“Since you’re not going out, you’re just looking at whatever is new, you have more time to sit down and scroll to see what’s out there, so I’ve got a lot more since [COVID-19] all started.  I’m a huge basketball fan, I grew up being an Allen Iverson fan, so I have the Questions, I have the [Answer] 5s, I have the what he used in the NBA Finals — those, to me, are all super special. But at the same time, Js were always something that I wanted to have. Little by little I’ve been adding to my collection. And J Balvin has been a huge influence, telling me, ‘Yo, you should get this, get those over there.’ I just got my first pair of [Air Jordan 1s from 1985], I never had one. I’ve been getting into those vintage, rare types of sneakers. I also got the ’85s in all white and gray. It’s not as like clean, it’s a little bit damaged, but that’s a vibe, sometimes that makes it even more special. I’ve got a lot of [Nike Dunk] SBs, too. ‘Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater’ was something else pretty influential for me so SBs is something that I had, and then the hype started happening — I’m a huge Travis [Scott] fan also and he’s really put a spotlight on them. [My collection is a] mix between SB, some basketball and Jordans — the 1 and 6 are my favorites. My first Jordans were the 12s and I’ve always wanted to get more but I don’t know why I haven’t. They have sentimental value because my only time seeing [Michael] Jordan playing on TV I was super young, I think was 10 years old when he was in the finals against Utah [Jazz]. But with all this happening, I’ve had more time to research and get more.”

How many pairs have you bought since COVID-19 hit stateside?

“I’m not mistaken, I think 10. The last two I got were [Air Jordan 1] ’85s. One pair was like $4,000. Some people that know about sneakers told me they were really good for what they’re supposed to cost. I think Balvin being the one who gave me the plug helped a lot.”

What are your favorite brands?

“I think Nike’s got that top spot right now. Before, Adidas was putting some dope stuff out there. I’m just a huge Kanye West fan, I like his music, so I’m aware of whatever he’s doing and as soon as I saw he was going with Adidas I was like Adidas is killing it. But Nike just took over again with bringing back all these retros and all these amazing collaborations. I try to keep it a little bit simple, I don’t really go far and try different stuff. Vuitton is the only brand that’s a little different. I do want the Kobes when he was with Adidas because I’m a huge basketball fan but I star true to whatever Nike is doing right now. And I want the Union x Jordan 4s, they’re insane.”

What sneakers won’t you wear?

“There’s a lot of designer sneakers that I really don’t like. Like the Balenciaga Triple S, I can’t wear those, Givenchy is coming out with sneakers and Versace is putting out some things that I’m like, ‘Man, they’re just trying too much.’ I stick to what I think is right, with the right energy that doesn’t seem like it’s forced. Probably Louis [Vuittons] are the only ones that have something that has a sort of connection, something that really feels dope.”

Tainy Supreme Nike SB Dunk Low Red Cement
Tainy in the Supreme x Nike SB Dunk Low “Red Cement.”
CREDIT: Courtesy of Jota Rosa

Who are some of your style icons within music today?

“I think somebody that’s proven to be up there with his taste level and what he’s been able to do with opportunities that Nike has given them with the collabs is Travis. He has an amazing taste and the Jordan 1 Lows, that’s my go-to to sneaker every day and night — they can go with anything that I’m putting on. Everything that he’s dropped, even the SBs, has something special to it and different. I’m a huge Pharrell Williams fan also, and everything he’s done with Adidas — I have one of the Chanel [NMDs] he put out that’s dope, has a different kind of vibe. And Kanye [West], what he’s trying to do is something special to see because it’s his way, he’s an artist doing these type of things with his brand that push the barriers. Some of his sneakers I don’t really like but I get what what he’s trying to do and I appreciate it. And I can’t wait for our moment where we start to see more of the Latin side coming to [fashion]. I’m so happy that Balvin was the first one to break in. I can’t wait for his [Air Jordan 1] to come out and he can do his thing, it’s special to see it, it’s am amazing moment.”

What musician’s closet would you like to raid if given the chance?

“I have to go with Balvin because I’ve seen it and I know what’s inside. I know Bunny has to have an insane amount of crazy stuff but he doesn’t really like showing that off, he puts it on for the video or when he’s performing. But I’ve been able to chill in Balvin’s house, his apartment, and see the craziness that he has. And I imagine Travis’s collection is absolutely insane. So it will be between those two.”

Tainy Travis Scott Air Jordan
Tainy wearing the Travis Scott x Air Jordan 4 surrounded by rare sneakers.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Jota Rosa

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