Black Thought launches sneaker collab, talks style

The 10th iteration of the Roots Picnic rolls into town this weekend, and Roots frontman Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter is marking the occasion by releasing a special-edition sneaker collaboration.

Read more: 12 must-see acts at the Roots Picnic

Black Thought teamed up with Jason Markk and Clear Weather to release the limited-edition shoes, which come packed in picnic baskets with a picnic blanket and special wipes for cleaning. The shoe mixes white and cream; Black Thought’s face is printed on the tongue.

The shoe officially launched Thursday; we sat down with the emcee at his launch event at UBIQ.

Is releasing a shoe something you’ve been itching to do for a while?

Absolutely. I’ve been wanting to different collaborations. And, more than a sneakerhead, I’m a fashionhead. I did a collaboration with Moscot and [released] dope eyewear, and this is the next installation. Anything I do, I’m super hands-on and involved in the concept. I wanted it to be a standalone work of art.

How do you describe your style?

Eclectic. I rock with the classics. Classic cuts. Timeless fabrics, colors, and textiles. More timeless than trendy.

When you say eclectic, what looks do you mix?

Today, I have on a military jacket and tomorrow it might be a kimono. I think outside the box in regard to style, and I like to mix it up. And comfort comes first. I might mix fall and spring; old and new.

What kind of shoe were you trying to create?

A shoe that was clean and that paired well with summer looks. I’ve been going really monochromatic with a lot of white, off-white, tan, cream  and maybe some super-light earth tones. I wanted a shoe that would pair well with that look, because I have a whole wardrobe made of those colors. I wanted something that also spoke to the picnic. I was always the clean dude at the picnic, the dude who has to lean forward eating my food because I don’t want to get it on my seersucker or my khakis. That’s what I show up to the cookout or the block party in. Clean, fresh, and sometimes maybe preppy. It’s also a dope look that speaks to the celebratory aspect of the 10th year.

Who are your style icons?

People from the streets. People I saw growing up.

That’s interesting, because people don’t think street when they think clean-cut.

Yeah, I’m from a different era in Philly. Where it was almost  frowned upon in certain areas of the community to not be “sharp”. So growing up my style icons were my Uncle Willie Goldsmith … definitely the Jam Master Jays. I’ve always been a big hat man. You got a fresh hat and clean sneaks, you’re three-quarters of the way there.

So is there a Black Thought fashion line in the works?

Potentially. Right now, I’m just having fun and doing something that’ll be impactful and resonate with folks whose opinions matter to me.