Atlanta-based designers John Searles, Aaron Rhodan, and Julian Streete had been trying to brainstorm a collaborative project when they hit upon "That Mitt I Don't Like." The three had become friends while studying business at Morehouse College, and graduated in 2009; Rhodan, who grew up in Chicago's Hyde Park, was about to move to Brooklyn, and they wanted to come up with a design before his departure.
The idea didn't arrive until after Rhodan's move—it was Searles who lit the fuse—but the trio pushed ahead anyway. "It all came to fruition after the first debate," Searles says. "I felt like there was a lot of lying from Mitt Romney's side and it was kind of something that disgusted me. I didn't like it."
It reminded Searles of the "I Don't Like" remix, and he thought Pusha-T's introduction ("Fraud niggas, y'all niggas, that's that shit I don't like") was especially apt given Mitt's mendacity. "It made so much sense," he says. "I almost envisioned Obama quoting that at the second debate because I felt like he needed to kind of swing it."
The design for the "That Mitt I Don't Like" T-shirt also draws on the "I Don't Like" remix: the bold font and striking red lettering on a black background echo the album art for G.O.O.D. Music singles.
Searles, an unabashed G.O.O.D. Music fan, first encountered "I Don't Like" when Kanye and company dropped the remix version. "I didn't really know much about Chief Keef," he says. "I certainly like the remix a whole lot more."
Rhodan, a graduate of Whitney Young Magnet High School, is undecided about his favorite version. "Like most Chicagoans, I think I probably lean more towards the original one," he says. "I'm very happy with the remix of the song as well, for what it was able to do for the city." Rhodan is thrilled to have a hand in something that touches on his own Chicago history, his support for Obama, and his love for Chicago hip-hop—he's especially excited to feel like he's doing something to help Obama's 2012 campaign.
Searles says T-shirt sales have been good; some of that may be attributed to a fresh round of Chief Keef news, specifically that Cook County prosecutors are going after him for violating his parole during a video interview with Pitchfork at a gun range in New York. (The interview was in June, and Pitchfork retracted the story last month.) The "That Mitt I Don't Like" site has attracted a lot of reviews and feedback. "We've had some requests for baby Ts and V-necks," Searles says.
He adds that they might try to help Obama in another way: "I'm sure we'll donate a portion of what we make to the Obama campaign."