On Lyrics Born’s new album, Everywhere At Once, the East Bay-based rapper makes a pretty bold claim: “My name is Lyrics Born, and I’m a shoe ho,” he announces on a skit entitled “Shoe Hoes Anonymous.” “It’s a vice,” LB tells us. “You gotta understand, the shoe game–the competition is at an all-time high. I’m going to Australia to tour with Kanye and Cypress Hill and Pharoahe Monch, and I know they shoe game is wicked, man, so I can’t be coming out there in a pair of flip-flops. I gotta have something that’s tight.” Fair enough. To get him laced up for the tour, we brought him down to Shoe Biz II on Haight Street in San Francisco and saw how far we could stretch his wallet.
1.Undrcrwn x Adidas ADICRWN-TMAC
Undrcrwn’s an L.A. brand. A lot of times independent companies will co-brand sneakers with a big name, and that’s like this Tracy McGrady shoe right here. It’s clean. It’s got some Do the Right Thing pattern on it, and that’s why I like these.
2. Puma California x Shoe Biz
I go all over the world and I represent the Bay. This is a Bay Area exclusive, with the Giants colors, spray-paint drips on ’em, and three different shoelaces. I’ll just walk with the laces like that, make you see all three colors. [laughs] ’Cause I could walk down the street and people would know that’s the Bay right there.
3. Futura x Clarks Wallabee
That’s not a Wallabee that your Uncle Johnny’s gonna buy. Futura’s my man, you know. He did a lot of artwork on the UNKLE projects and stuff like that with my man Shadow back in the day. I’ve seen these in a magazine but never in person. You see, it’s got the camo shoelace right there, and it’s got his tag with the art on it. It’s like some Ghostface Killah from the future. The trick with Clarks is that gum sole, man. You gotta keep it crispy, and it’s not always easy.
4. Undrcrwn x Adidas ADICRWN-Gilbert Arenas
That’s what I’m talking about when I say I don’t follow brands. It’s gotta be creative, man. You won’t ever see another shoe that looks like that. Everything that’s tight, it’s gonna be a limited edition, and you really gotta be up on it.
5. Reebok Tron Pump
Oh, these are clean… the Tron version. See, I’m a ’80s baby, you know what I mean? That’s when the Pumps came out. And when you’re from the Bay, you gotta have a pair of white shoes. I remember my man MC Serch used to have a pair of these back when he had his high-top fade. I’m gonna get that going again too.
Watch Lyrics Born's trip to Shoebiz on XLR8R TV.