When Peter Gibaldi walked out of prison many years ago, he was on a mission to recreate who he was and reconnect with those he loved. And he's done that, in a large part, thanks to sneakers.
He drove himself to become a key figure in the world of sneaker collecting and launched one of the most visible careers in street fashion and hip-hop culture. Known to people world wide as Premium Pete he became a podcaster and branding consultant who knew a thing or two about rare and collectable shoes, and the community it inspires both online and in real life.
But he's more than just a guy who knows about shoes, and breathes the same rarified air as some of your hip-hop and sports heroes. He's a foodie, who along with Bun B has built a business around sharing pictures of food on social media. And this weekend his popular podcast comes to Houston.
"I wanted to do a bunch of other things on the podcast than just be in the studio and drop a podcast every week, I've been doing that for almost eight years," he said over the phone from New York. Pete has teamed up with the office sharing space WeWork to tour parts of the country with his podcast and offer networking events in different cities.
But coming back to Houston for Pete is always a time to reconnect with old pals. He considers not only Bun B, but also Scarface on his list of close friends he's met through his love of sneakers.
Look further into Pete's catalogue of achievements and you'll also see how his time locked up helped him appreciate things more important than looking good in a crisp pair of kicks.
"I made some mistakes in life," he says about that time. During a session with a counselor, while he was incarcerated, he was reminded how important his daughter was to him and how the decisions he made were keeping him from being a part of her life. "[The counselor] said it's important to be present." Ever since that he ran with "presence over presents."
"I just want people to be inspired by it and to know that your presence is more important that any presents you can give your kids," he explained. He helped turn the phrase into a hashtag that people in the hip-hop, sneaker culture and blogging community have used, sending photos of themselves spending time with their kids to Pete.
Despite any social media side roads that the Brooklyn native has taken, he's still firmly planted in the world of online and social media influencing. The Premium Pete Show is a treasure for anyone interested in all aspects of culture and music. And given that he's a worldly dude, Pete knows Houston.
He's held court with Bun B numerous times and during his upcoming show in the Galleria, the UGK rapper will be a special guest. His Bun B connection is more than just about sneakers or rap, Pete also created a website dedicated to foodie culture called You Gotta Eat This.
The Instagram account and website, features all things delicious — a video sits at the top of the site showing off that very important time Bun explained the food of Houston through Zagat. Essentially, You Gotta Eat This spurs people to share social media shots, tagging their meals and big-upping good restaurants and food.
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"I think that our love for food one day made us say, 'Hey, we should start up a blog'. I thought it was dope. Now, TV shows have reached out," he says.
In fact, the You Gotta Eat This play has gotten so popular that at Sunday's H-Town Sneaker Summit, Bun and Pete will release a special sneaker that's inspired by sushi, their favorite dish. Sneaker company Ewing athletics reached out to the foodie duo to develop the limited edition line of sneakers.
The $140 sneaker collaboration is just another reminder of how influential Premium Pete has become. "We're in 2017, so you gotta be more than a blog," he says. Or, a podcast.
The Premium Pete Show event will have free refreshments and giveaways, Saturday, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Galleria Tower 1, 2700 Post Oak, free with RSVP. H-Town Sneaker Summit takes place Sunday, doors at 3 p.m. to 8 p.m., 9401 Knight, from $20. Visit eventbright.com for tickets.