premium-pete

Few people in the sneaker community can claim the title of “OG” and it be true. Premium Pete is one of those few individuals. The New York bred enthusiast of food, sneakers and culture trades most of his time now digging into exclusives and being the right hand man to Combat Jack on The Combat Jack Show. Their interview style has been lauded for being honest, real and unfiltered and Pete’s been involved in nearly every famous moment on the show.

But, there’s more to the New Yorker than you would think. Hence why on an August night, Pete opened his mind and vast personal history up for everyone to hear from spending parts of his childhood in Bensonhurst, becoming Premium Pete. Unfiltered. Exactly the way he wants it. – As told to Jonathan Scroggins

I.

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Premium Pete, Before Premium Pete
I was born in Kings County hospital. I grew up in an Italian household, my family used to call me Petey Boy … that Italian thing like Frankie Boy.

Growing up in the BK you saw pimps, dope dealers, bag ladies, prostitutes. I was exposed to a lot of different walks of life back then. It was a melting pot, you saw Chinese, Black, Puerto Ricans all these different backgrounds living in the same spot.

I lived in Coney Island until I was 13 then my fam moved to Bensonhurst. Honestly I think If I lived in Bensonhurst my whole life I would have been a way different person. This was the Yusef Hawkins era. It was a time of Black vs. White. Growing up in Bensonhurst you heard the n-word a lot. It’s the main reason why I don’t use that word to this day. On the Combat Jack Show we’ve went over this a few times, I always wanted to stress that on the show that back then, yes the area and era was prejudice but folks did make the exceptions and some kids back then like me did have black friends who did come through. Some shit like clothing and sneakers was just universal like that GAP Hoodie or Karl Kani that just transcended race. But still back then you did see your real gangsters. It was a contrast to how my pops was. Dude was a working class guy who carried himself a lot better. I used to look up to the drug dealers, gangsters and used to get in trouble and folks in the hood would be like, “Hey you need to watch your son out here.” I would wish my pops would be like, “Yo get the fuck outta here!” and he was real respectful of the folks around him looking back at it hanging around those cats taught me alot of bad values .

I got into a lot of shit like Graffiti and Joy Rides and ended up doing some juvie shit and ended up in a group home. My pops eventually got me a job at firm he worked in. I did some stock shit a bit and the whole wannabe Wall street and Boiler Room shit wasn’t my thing. It didn’t work out with that job because of the bosses not trusting a father working with his son.

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Getting Out
I eventually did some shit that got me put away for some time and that experience changed my outlook on life. My connects helped me move on and get away from all that shit. Honestly, drug dealers if they applied themselves could leave the game and turn that ability to hustle and sell shit into something positive. To be real estate agents, shoe salesmen. For all the cats who deal now, trust me there isn’t enough money in it these days. You can kill these legal hustles!

All the time I spent away from my daughter made me determined to getting away from that life so I took a lot of odd jobs like carpet cleaning and other shit just to stay away from the game. The hardest thing for a guy that has left that world is to stay away from it. That brings me back to one of the songs that changed my life. KRS-One’s “Love’s Gonna Get’cha.” Man that bass was crazy but the lyrics that stood out to me as a kid were the bars, “I look for work I get dissed like a jerk/I do odd jobs and come home like a slob/So here comes Rob his gold is shimmery/He gives me two hundred for a quick delivery I do it once. I do it twice/Now there’s steak with the beans and rice!”

I don’t think I ever went to school after hearing that song. The bass movement had me wanting to get an alpine and a whole system in my car.

I had a store I worked in called Premium. We had some crazy clientele. I remember hooking up Drake way before the deal, Christian Slater, Michael Douglas, a lot of Pro athletes and golfers. Nowadays its like everybody is into kicks but not too many people really love the culture. I was like the consigliere for sneakers. I would get hard to find shit and I built a solid rapport and eventually my work in sneakers in the city made me bump into my Brother Dallas Penn. He told me to come in for an interview on the Combat Jack Show one day and I never left .

II.

Welcome To Combat
Combat has a vision and always says he’s a huge fan of Howard Stern and Star and Bucwild. Shoutout to A King for helping bring together this crew together. One thing we always do is try to make cats on there feel at home on the show. One of the funniest moments on the show was when Dallas asked Russell Simmons does he eat ass. Shit like that we do to humor guests and take that edge off so cats don’t feel like they are getting grilled .

More Than Just Kicks

We live in a world where brands sometimes overlook their core audience and hire marketing firms who dont have the best approach sometimes . I’m a grassroots guy, I don’t wanna accept any old thing nor do I blindly support shit just because . On the flipside of that coin of working with brands on a professional level you make lifelong friends on a personal level its one thing to only view your relationship at brands or in the industry as us vs them . I’ve met friends through sneakers that I consider like brothers . The relationships that last the longest aren’t the ones that are built on looking out on a pair of kicks its being there not just at your highs but at your lows.

On SneakerTube
When I started Sneakertube.tv It was to create a unique platform for sneakerheads to express themselves and form a video hub documenting the sneaker culture .My vision was for brands and sneaker lovers to connect worldwide.

Age Gap in Sneakers
As the sneaker culture participants get younger it seems like there isn’t respect for the OGs holding themselves to a code. In turn I feel like OGs are hard on kids. I used to see guys go hard on chicks into kicks. A chick would be like, “Yo those are ‘Columbia Space Jams!'” and they  would be a dick towards them. Then you feel like shit because you ran out one of the six chicks who are in attendance.

I will say the biggest gripe I have is that kids now aren’t as open-minded towards the people who paved the way for conventions and these new careers in the culture. A lot of kids now seem to be superficial and only make connections and friends solely to get more kicks or to be associated with people with a heavy stash of kicks and have bad judgement of character. Like what if your friend is scumbag who scams? Do you really wanna roll with that kid in your camp? At the end of the day you wanna have integrity in anything you do.
For more on Petes work peep his latest project with Bun B http://www.yougottaeatthis.com/ and his site http://www.sneakertube.tv/

Twitter https://twitter.com/PremiumPete

His hosting on the http://thecombatjackshow.com/