This feature is one of a two-part series that pulls back the curtain on the daily grind of some of Complex’s most popular hosts. Inspired by Java Monster, we find out what fuels their hustle and helps them power through each day with a take-no-prisoners attitude.
Joe La Puma is always on the go. From sunrise to sunset and from coast to coast, the Complex veteran is all about the grind. Even when he’s not filming episodes of his hit YouTube series Sneaker Shopping or recording the Complex Sneakers Podcast, JLP is on the hunt for new kicks or simply discussing his affinity for dope footwear. That’s exactly what he did during a recent Good Morning America segment, where JLP discussed everything from his picks for sneaker of the year to his viral interview with Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris.
It’s the kind of flex that comes with being one of the most trusted voices in sneaker culture and also what fuels his drive. On any given day, JLP could be conducting an interview, hopping on a plane, jumping on a virtual conference call, or dealing with the rigors of content production. The Long Island native admits that it’s hard to stay motivated after the first half of the day is over, but he finds ways to power through. A fan of coffee that’s on the sweeter side, he can appreciate Java Monster Mean Bean as a good midday pick-me-up.
In between shoots in LA for the latest season of Sneaker Shopping, JLP took some time out from his busy schedule to reveal the soundtrack to his mornings, how his sweet tooth impacts his coffee, and what he’s learned about himself during quarantine.
What’s the first thing you do when you open your eyes in the morning?
As much as I would love to say, “I’m not one of those people who immediately checks their phone when I wake up,” I would be lying. I roll over, check my phone, catch up on emails and texts right away, and then—if I wake up kind of early—I put a podcast on because it's brain food for me.
What kinds of podcasts start your morning?
I listen to a lot of pop culture podcasts, some sports podcasts, and I listen to the Complex podcasts that we have like Load Management. The good thing about podcasts is they can do one of two things: They either motivate you to get up and start your work day or you kind of fall back asleep for a little bit. So however you want to take it, it kind of does its job.
Waking up early can be hard. What do you do when you feel yourself begin to fade? And how do you give yourself a midday pick-me-up?
Caffeine and water, and now, fresh air. We're all stuck inside for large periods of time, but it's crazy what a walk around the block in your neighborhood could do. I always ask myself, “Do I need a nap, or do I need a walk, coffee or water?” Those are the multiple sides of the spectrum, and oftentimes the water or coffee-walk combo wins out.
Do you have a favorite coffee flavor?
When people get coffee, you hear "black" or "no sugar." I’m a very, very "sweet and light" guy when it comes to coffee. I get extra skim milk and a lot of sugar. I prefer mine sweet, which is good because Java Monster tastes like a good lightened, sweet-tasting product. I really like the Mean Bean, Loca Moca, Salted Caramel, French Vanilla Triple Shot... Anyone who knows me will attest that those flavors are definitely something I'm into.
In fact, the Good Morning America interview was at 7 AM and I didn't really have time to go get a coffee, but I had a Mean Bean Java Monster with me. Everyone said the energy during the interview was good, so that's what substituted my coffee that day. True story.
What else has this quarantine taught you?
I remember when we were shooting Sneaker Shopping from home and I had to try to do a lot of things myself. Getting the sound right was so tough and there's so much stuff that goes into it. You really appreciate what goes into everyone's job, whether they're behind the scenes, or in front of the camera. Now that I’m back on set to shoot the show I have a much higher appreciation for every single person on that set. It’s definitely been eye-opening for me.