The emerging world of legalized cannabis is breathing new life into an entire ecosystem of artists, designers and creators working in and around weed. Burgeoning cannabis brands are ubiquitous, but they’re far from the only kinds of new businesses cropping up in our new world of destigmatized smoking. Brands like Talking Terps perfectly encapsulate this new era.
A brainchild of Flatbush Zombie’s Jewice, Hope Lord and PTA Haiti 3000, Talking Terps was concocted as an homage to the smoking culture the Zombies and Hope were immersed in, with roots tracing back to 2015. The term, “talking terps” first emerged on an unreleased song from the Flatbush Zombies in 2016, partially inspired by a friendship they had with someone working in one of the first labs developing 100% pure cannabis-derived terpenes. If you’re a consistent smoker, you know the conversation around cannabis effects has been shifting recently away from sativa/indica and refocusing on which terpenes are possessed by each strain.
They first put the logo on a shirt in 2017. The Zombies were touring with Snoop Dogg at the time, and he became the first to wear the brand’s name on stage. The logo was created by PTA Haiti 3000, who Hope affectionately refers to as “a mysterious high wizard.” The phrase continued to exist within the lore of the Flatbush Zombies for a few years until Hope and the gang decided to launch and sell the clothing on April 20th, 2019.
It’s just the mysterious high wizardry of PTA Haiti.
Since then, their signature tee shirts have sold out rapidly upon each drop. But their toy drops, which began during the pandemic, have created a new hype around the brand. “I’m not a tee shirt designer,” Hope tells me, adding: “I’m always working on toys or something else.” The Terp Crawford toys were Hope’s first big project. He sourced a 3D artist in Romania and a reputable factory in China to create the limited edition sculptures. The toys, since their inaugural launch, have dropped in limited quantities up to 420, and all sold out. The toys helped to solidify the Talking Terps reputation, especially in an era when collectibles are becoming an increasingly hotter commodity. From the ideation around the toys to the first drop, less than a year went by.
They even released a jigsaw puzzle last week. When Hope and I are catching up about this story, he tells me that a few hundred of the selection had already sold out only an hour or so after the initial release.
“We’re here for a reason, it’s not just a tee shirt brand,” Hope tells me, referring to the success they’ve seen off the toy sales. This success has fostered an excitement around other unorthodox merchandise. “I’m really excited to put out more plushes,” Hope tells me, hinting at some of the potential designs for future iterations.
Jewice himself also has wonderful, optimistic thoughts about the future direction of the brand. “We’ve got tons of new variations of toys coming out, different Terp Crawford colors, new characters to introduce to the world,” says the rapper, listing a myriad of ways in which the brand will grow this year.
“I’m really looking forward to somewhat tricking people to start loving and being more kind,” Jewice jokes. You buy a tee shirt from Talking Terps and you’ve been tricked into representing their commitment to love.
Jewice sees the ethos of the brand as being driven by love. “It’s really just about changing the way that you think every day, so that’s why we like to put that love message first,” says Jewice.
If you have love and act from the heart, the world would be a better place.
They’re working on a collaboration with Barcelona-based bicycle brand Dosnoventa, with hopes to release the collection by Bicycle Day this year—a term used to describe April 19th, the first time Albert Hoffman tripped on LSD and rode his bike home in 1943.
When I first met Hope, my eye was immediately drawn to the intricate knit sweater he was wearing. I asked him who made it, to which he confidently revealed that it was a forthcoming release from Talking Terps. Their clothing plans for the year are a bit more ambitious than years past; they intend to release crewnecks, hoodies, fleeces and the special hand-knit cardigan Hope is draped in when I speak with him in the brand’s LA studio. Keep up with their Instagram for more up to date info on when these pieces will drop.