There’s an article being recycled by different newspapers about how a rap act know as The Pack is helping the worlds of skateboarding and hip hop come together, as if that is something new. The research department only went back a couple of years because completely absent from the article are such bands as the Beastie Boys, Urban Dance Squad and oh, I don’t know, who else but Skatemaster Tate, a guy who based his whole schtick on it back in the late 80′s. That’s Tate above hosting Nickelodeon’s SK8 TV with Mathew Lillard. Bottom right is a shot from a video shoot for The Pack’s new EP Skateboards 2 Scrapers. Early skate-rap connections, video links, a Skatemaster Tate roundup and more after the jump.
First off, this is not the definitive collection of skateboarding in rap videos. I’ve got nothing against the Pack and I don’t know a thing about them. I just want to clear up a few things that the Mercury article left out, because it makes it seem as if the first time skateboards and rap ever crossed paths was in Lupe Fiasco’s Kick, Push.
OK. Skatemaster Tate’s songs were never among my favorite tracks on Thrasher’s Skate Rock compilations. We tolerated him for sure, because he was always getting mentioned in Thrasher, and back then it was a brotherhood. We stuck together, which is hard to imagine these days. SK8 TV had it’s moments, but it was primarily geared towards little kids. There isn’t much SK8 TV on YouTube, but it is rebroadcast on Nick’s GAS channel. Where is he now? Skatemaster Tate had his own skateboard on Madrid (see below) but he has no wikipedia entry. Now’s your chance if you are in the Tater Army. He real name is either Jerry or Gerry Hurtado, and he has a song in the Bill Murray movie What About Bob.
There are two Skatemaster Tate (and the Concrete Crew) releases in the picture above. A used CD of Do the Skate can be found for as little as 25 cents on Amazon while his vinyl releases and N.O.S. CD’s range from $13-$90 on MusicStack.com. The flyer below (via Citizen Lunchbox) is from a 1988 show in Chicago with some obscure skate rock act known as JFA. Ever hear of them?
What are some of the other earliest acts of skate-rap crossovers? The Beastie Boys mention a pilfered skateboard in She’s Crafty from 1986′s License to Ill, as well as showing skateboard action in the video for Pass the Mic from 1992′s Check Your head.
Mike D. sports a Vision Street Wear shirt and the first Beastie Boys skateboard (Licensed to Ill model) makes an appearance in the leadup to the live vid for She’s Crafty. Check out the throngs of embarrassing white kids from the Jersey suburbs. For those keeping score, the second Beastie Boys skateboard featured an Ill Communication graphic and is currently only showing up on the web as part of a now closed auction from the Bid 2 Beat AIDS project.
Pass the Mic. How did they get away with rhyming “commercial” with “commercial?”
So what if the Beastie Boys love skateboarding? They’re white ex-punks. OK Fine. How about the multiracial Dutch act Urban Dance Squad?
The video for the track “Deeper Shade of Soul” from 1990′s Mental Floss for the Globe was shot in a pool and has shades of Agent Orange’s Skate Visions appearance in the direction. Who were those skaters and what was the location of that shoot?
Back to present day. The Pack’ has a track called Vans. I’m so out of touch I didn’t even know about this.
Besides sounding young, the song lifts lyrics from Van’s own marketing materials. If I didn’t know any better I’d almost believe this was too big a coincidence. It doesn’t seem like these guys actually skate, but instead use it as a fashion accessory. I don’t know why I’m surprised. Bob Schmelzer isn’t.
Others, like longtime skateboarder Bob Schmelzer, owner of the downtown San Jose shop Circle-A Skateboards Shoes, are saying this “new genre” is just another mainstream attempt to cash in on pop culture.
The Pack is supposed to be featured in an upcoming Thrasher, or maybe even already has since my subscription has lapsed. It doesn’t surprise me. If any inner city youth wants to write a hit rap about the virtues of Skate and Annoy, please be my guest. You know where to send the publishing royalties.
If you’re a skateboarder who’s really into rap, you’re pretty much on the wrong web site. Here’s where you want to be. That is, at least until Snoop Dogg get’s his shiznit together. I’ve been compiling a master list of music videos that feature skateboarding in them, but that’s another feature that keeps getting closer to impossible with each day missed. So I’ll leave you with the Lupe Fiasco track Kick Push.
If I ever write anonther entry this long on rap and skateboarding, somebody please bust (a metaphorical) cap in my ass. Midwest out. Aiight?