Watch Fabolous Play Tour Guide at Museum Sneaker Exhibit -- and Reveal His Kicks Obsession

You could try, like the curator did one recent Thursday, to direct Fabolous’ gaze to a pair of pancake-batter-colored Converse (“the first All Stars ever!”) at the Brooklyn Museum’s new “Rise of Sneaker Culture” exhibit. But old Chucks, early 20th-century Keds and the black lace-ups that didn’t even look like sneakers? For a collector like the hip-hop star, 37, who owns “hundreds of pairs,” those were just the Fords before the Ferraris.

Fabolous Plays Tour Guide at the Brooklyn Museum: The Billboard Shoot

Clad in Balmain jeans and a Basquiat-printed tee, the rapper born John David Jackson navigated the museum’s fifth floor as if on a scavenger hunt, crouching and peering and furrowing his brow at displays before landing at his Michelangelo: a white, red and black leather Nike known as the Jordan 1.

“Wooo. Now that’s history!” he exclaimed of the iconic sneaker created in 1985. “They call these the OGs because ... they’re the OGs,” he laughed.

Dorothy Hong
Fabolous photographed at the Brooklyn Museum on July 9, 2015 in Brooklyn, New York.

It was strange, Fabolous conceded, to see that pair and nearly 150 others -- Adidas, Reeboks and high-fashion collabs -- in glass cases like ancient artifacts, but “there’s an art to them, a real process,” the Brooklyn native said. “Sneakers are a part of the hip-hop look, going back to Run-D.M.C. You’d see artists and look down at their feet.”

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Before migrating to “FAILE: Savage/Sacred Young Minds,” an interactive exhibit by two Brooklyn-based artists that explores youth culture, Fabolous, who released The Young OG Project in December, looked at his own feet. “These Louboutins, I wouldn’t want these in a sneaker exhibit,” he said just as a gold-studded, red-soled pair caught his eye. “Oh, wait! But they did!”

Dorothy Hong
Fabolous photographed at the Brooklyn Museum on July 9, 2015 in Brooklyn, New York.

Listen to music from Fabolous, and more artists from this issue, in the Spotify playlist below:

The Brooklyn Museum's “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” & “Faile: Savage/Sacred Young Minds” run through Oct. 4. For more details, click here.

This story originally appeared in the Aug. 8 issue of Billboard.