"I've thrift shopped since I was 13 and half of my wardrobe to this day are still the same shirts I had when I was 17, 18," he said, looking down to see if he was wearing one of his classics under his leather jacket.
But for the producer behind hits for Beyonce and Adele, thrift shops aren't just about clothes. They serve as gift shops, too.
"Me and my best friend back in Colorado, as a joke every year we'd go to the DAV, Disabled American Veterans, thrift shop and pick out the nastiest trophy and that would be the Christmas present we'd give each other," he recalled, smiling. "The African American Junior League Bowlers Association — stuff like that."
YOU CAN'T JOCK HER STYLE
You can't deny the uniqueness of Janelle Monae: Her sound is a mixture of rock, funk and R&B beats; her songs sound space-like and are inspired by things like Muhammad Ali's fists and Walt Disney; and she rocks a pompadour.
But her onstage ensemble is a familiar one: the tuxedo. But that's not always the case.
Monae says she's an avid thrift shopper, namedropping stores like Rag-O-Rama and Poor Little Rich Girl as favorites in her Atlanta hometown.
But when she's not working, she loves to rock used clothes simply because others can't jock her style.
"I like one-of-a-kind pieces," the singer said. "I don't like everybody walking around in stuff that I have on."