TH: Can we get a quick intro for the people who may not be familiar? Name, Age, Hometown and Occupation? Salute to everyone taking the time to read this.

JOHN: My name is John Reeper, I'm 33 & I'm from South Sacramento, California. I've been in the U.S Army since 2002 & currently stationed in North Carolina.

TH: The sneaker crew juggernaut “A Tribe Called Fresh”, which you are a part of, really is all about “changing the game and getting it back to what it used to be.” What is it about your crew that you love the most and what do you hope people get from following @a_tribe_called_fresh on Instagram?

JOHN: First and foremost thank you for the support and having the clarity to see our Tribes vision of changing the game back to it's roots. What I love most about our Tribe is that beyond shoes, it's a family built from the most genuine human beings that I've met in the game period. The shoe game does a very good job at exposing a persons character for better or worse. For example, I can work with someone for 10 years and have to wait for an opportunity to arise in order to test a persons character. However the shoe game exposes ones character quickly.

The shoe game has variables such as greed, temptation and disloyalty from the thousands of dollars exchanged every day. Then there's hype from the so called social media fame that can alter a persons personality and with every exclusive release, I see friendships ruined over profit time and time again. The Tribe is full of morally sound & all around genuine heads in the game. This is what I love the most because over shoes, character is truly the most valuable thing in this game. That's what I'd like anyone to take away from our Tribes example. 

Another thing to take away is to realize that the shoe game is stuck on Social Media. The Tribe is a "real life" family, we travel the country together and eventually the world. 90% of the game has circles on IG, FB etc. that have never met. Social Media definitely has connected the world and helped evolve the shoe game. That's dope but the next necessary evolution is to capitalize on these heavily invested relationships built online and create real friendships by joining each other in the real world. It's simple, put your thumbs down, leave the matrix and join the game in reality. People hardly travel anymore so why not experience the world with friends that share the same passion and culture? That's the Tribe life!

TH: With several releases damn near every week and news breaking everyday things in the sneaker game can really get flooded with a lot of bad stuff. What was the last recent release that really caught your eye and made you take notice?

JOHN: I personally haven't followed release dates week in and week out since 2004. From 1995 to 2004 I practically had every shoe that dropped every weekend period. Every color of Jordan's, Air Max/Runners, Nike and Reebok signature basketball shoes, ACG's, Timberland Euro Hikers, etc. Pretty much everything dope in the newest East Bay magazine, I robocoped.

You can ask my friends that grew up with me back then @Chrev_ or @MaddieMarie @Lush_7 We were true addicts to be honest. That's back when I was a sneaker head. I'm older now and have evolved into what I consider a sneaker connoisseur. I'm about quality over quantity now. I prefer Van Gogh's, Picasso's and Michelangelo's on my feet rather than new releases.

I have a motto that defines my preference in this lifestyle. It's the unDeadstock Grail Life. Meaning I prefer to wear shoes that have reached grail status. A grail isn't a new dope shoe or everyone's new favorite shoe which is the most common context that it's used. A grail is a shoe that's been a staple in the community for at the very least a decade, old enough to drink, get insurance discounts or extremely rare. To be a grail means a shoe has entered the hall of fame. That doesn't really answer your question but it clearly represents my mentality. So the next shoe I'm looking for doesn't have a release date. I'm looking for 1988 True Blue 3's and 1 of 36 Wu Tang Dunk Highs. Both are insanely elusive to say the least. 

TH: What specific shoe that you own was the hardest to get and why?

JOHN: The most difficult hunt I've had so far would have to be my 1988 Fire Red 3's. To find in my size in pristine condition with perfect tabs was an incredibly daunting and difficult task but made the find that much more fulfilling. You can find beat pairs of OG's all over but only perfect pairs will survive a sole swap and still look good. Sole swaps are stressful on shoes decades old and that's why I only buy OG's in perfect shape.

TH: Who are your top 5 sneaker pages on Instagram that you would consider must follows?

JOHN: Definitely follow each member of @a_tribe_called_fresh, the tribe page follows only tribe members so that'll help you find the members. Now to show my respect for 5 pages outside of Tribe is difficult to limit to 5 but I'll try. Kids, 7 out of 10 of these pages that you're following that get 2k+ likes per post are not real sneaker heads that have been veterans in this culture. Fact. You're being miseducated on the true culture. You are also victims of hype and marketing. I can name 20 heads that get hardly any likes because they're so underground but if everyone pulled out tables of kicks, your favorite sneaker head wouldn't even show up. That's why I created the @undeadstock_grail_life page. To show these true legends love & to educate. 

My top pages that are a must follow in no order are @b5353 @ballintwn @mykicks_be @dependablejay @phase2 @acervan @solesupreme23 @hensonbro2416 @carlomarcopolo @og_theshoegame @pevault @croatianstyle @vinceisrael. My list went a little bit over 5 but if you're not following any of these heads, you'll thank me later because these are all hall of famers of this culture. We have hall of famers in a Tribe but I wanted to take this opportunity to show my appreciation for other huge contributors in this game. Salute!

TH: Even though its early on still, is there a shoe your exited about with its upcoming release in 2014?

JOHN: The only shoe that has my attention is wether or not an Oregon 5 will be released during All Star weekend in February and will it be the Green or Black pair. I'm personally a fan of both colors but the Black Oregon 5 needs a black lace swap. Truthfully I'm a huge fan of the Oregon PE's but I'm tired of the hype and insane prices they're beginning to go for. The Green Oregon 5's have sold for up to 10k. That shoe doesn't deserve that price. 

The Oregon players are spoiled and ungrateful period for selling every pair they receive in the first place. Tinker has to be getting tired of this. Hence the numbers and names stitched in the Black Oregon 5. I'd be ok if no past Oregon PE's were released because top dollar has been spent on them by us in the game that have them. However any future Oregon PE's I'm perfectly ok with being released and hope they release in mass numbers. It'd kill the hype and take away the power these resellers have gained from selling Oregon PE's.

TH: Looking back what was the first pair of shoes that really sparked your interest in sneakers and what about that shoe did it for you?

JOHN: Growing up and being a child in the 80's, like many I was very poor. I wore Payless shoes to school. It didn't bother me since at that age I didn't see shoes as anything special. However the first shoe period that ever caught my attention and made me look at a shoe more than just protection for my feet was in 1989. I still remember it vividly, a teenager walked past me on the way home from school and he was wearing 1989 Fire Red 4's. It was love at first sight. I couldn't stop staring at them!

TH: If you could be a Nike executive for the day what would be the one specific shoe/colorway you would retro immediately and why?

JOHN: If I was a Nike executive for the day I would take the most hyped up shoes ever in existence and give them to the people. I'd release so many pairs that every store in the country would have them. Resellers wouldn't have the chance to sell for rape and it'd completely kill the hype of the shoe. Everyone that genuinely wanted the shoe could cop and those that were only interested in the props for having the shoe would pass. 

Those shoes would be all the colors of Yeezy 1's, 2's including Red Octobers and Air Mags. I'd release 1 million pairs of each so that the market would become over saturated. Completely kill the hype and see who really wants them. Once released, personally I'd only buy the Air Mags and Blink 1's.

TH: Out of all the first series retro’s and OG Jordan’s you have what is your hands down favorite and why?

JOHN: My 1989 Fire Red 4's are easily my favorite shoe that I own. Being that it was the first shoe I ever loved, no shoe in existence can top that feeling for me.

TH: Besides sneakers what would you say is your biggest guilty pleasure?

JOHN: My guilty pleasure amongst many is I love traveling. Hence the Tribe Life! I never traveled any until I joined the military and seeing the world only made me want to see more of it. Once I caught the traveling bug there wasn't anything that could stop me. I'm down to travel anywhere for anything. I even traveled to London to pick up my dog Shinobi when he was 8 weeks old. This year with the Tribe alone I've been to NY 3 times, DC and ATL.

TH: Any last words of wisdom or advice to the people out there? 

JOHN: As children we are truly ourselves. Then we become teenagers and try to be someone. Eventually we all become adults but only a small amount of adults find their way back to being themselves. Be yourself, I respect anyone with the courage to be themselves.

TH: Where can everyone find you on social media? 

JOHN: You can find my personal page on Instagram @JohnReeper916 my S/O page is @unDeadstock_Grail_Life and our Tribes page to watch our journey around the world @a_Tribe_Called_Fresh 

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