Rap and Skateboarding. Skatemaster Tate gets no respect.

Skatemaster Tate skate rap

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 Gerry Hurtado, and he has a song in the Bill Murray movie What About Bob.

Skatemaster Tate

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?

Skatemaster Tate

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.

Beastie Boys Skateboarding in Videos

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?

Urban Dance Squad - skateboard in video

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.

The Pack - Vans video

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?


  1. House of Neil on January 4, 2007 - Reply

    There you have it. Way more info than you ever wanted on Skatemaster Tate.

  2. Anyone remember the working title to “Liscensed to ill” before the record company made ’em change it?

  3. Wasn’t it supposed to be called “Don’t Be A Faggot?”

  4. Stop rapping!

  5. Right-o Peter!

    Randy, what about Doggy Style’s cover of the Beastie’s “She’s On It”? What are the odds of you and I both finding that record in ’85- ’86 (I know we both own it)?, I guess pretty good considering we are still fucking talking about it 20 years later.

    Also did “She’s On It” pre-date the Aerosmith/Dun DMC project? Who gets ultimate credit for the shitty Rap/Rock hybridization? Do bands like Korn think that if they rip-off every genre that no single genre will stand up and say they suck?

  6. Doggy Style covering the Beastie Boys… It’s been a long time since I’ve heard any D.S. I don’t even remember that cover version. Wait, if one joke band covers another joke band, do they cancel each other out and become serious? I need to dig up my Doggy Style records.

    Hmm. the real question is how much can I sell that Beastie Boys single on eBay? I’m going straight to my basement to find it when I get home.

  7. Yeah man, its on that green picture disc live album we both have…I think it came with a freakin rubber…

  8. danimal on January 5, 2007 - Reply

    I caught the last 10 minutes of a show last night on BET about this issue. Some skater/rappers have been calling these guys out as posers. Terry Kennedy and some other unknown dude who are pros were all in up in the kick-push guys grill.

  9. don king ski on January 23, 2007 - Reply

    i was int he group skatemaster tate &concrete crew im don king ski im the one in the picture on the 12 vinyl record

  10. What’s Tate up to these days?

  11. I agree, Skatemaster Tate definitely gets no respect.

  12. […] I was never much of a skater, though not for a lack of trying. In the end, I think I was much more interested in the culture that it embodied (and was as far flung from my rural Texas upbringing as could be imagined) – mostly the recordings of Skatemaster Tate1. […]

  13. […] feeling that month, transports me back to a time when the only skateboarder putting out rap albums held it down on Nickelodeon. The Scott Decenzo full-bleed switch backside tailslide last month was cool […]

  14. […] painstakingly focusing on the evolution of the west coast in an articulate, scholarly style, giving the mighty Skatemaster Tate as much coverage as Boo Yaa T.R.I.B.E. – alas, despite threatening a follow-up, a […]

  15. this new mainstream hiphop crap looks so cheap and primitive

  16. I think the Urban Dance Squad video was filmed at the Pink Motel pool.
    Doggy Style’s Brad Xavier was in the band Humble Gods and then Kottonmouth Kings. Donut Shop Rock was a great song. Fullerton represent! Yo.

  17. Doughnut SHop Rock!!!! Yeah, I was into those guys for a while. I had three of their albums, including the Ep that came with a green condom. I think one of my roommates “borrowed” and used the condom. They were supposed to play a show at my house, but the called from the road an cancelled the night of the gig. I couldn’t get into the album with the Zepplin cover.

  18. paige on June 29, 2009 - Reply

    Ice-T and Coco rip it up too, Kilwag!

  19. hey check out our skate video with christian hosoi the boo ya tribe and others on you tube
    (justice to the bass) type in (skate master tate andthe concrete crew justice to the bass)im don king ski the guy with the microphone on the skateboard…

  20. skot - STuF Mag on December 4, 2010 - Reply

    SMT was a cool dude, yeah the act kinda corny, but you need to recall, that rap music in those daze was way more comical and goofy really. De la Soul, Fresh Prince & Jazz Jeff, Jungle Brothers……

    Anyways a few years back (3-4?) I saw Taters, spinning records at a swank hollywood supper club called North so he’s still in the biz in a way, just older and wiser.

  21. skaterdave on December 5, 2010 - Reply

    Wait Skot, BDP posse were not goofy, Schooly D wasn’t comical. I guess it depends on what you were paying attention to…
    And yes, I’m picking on you, but I remember that same era for songs like Kool Moe Dee’s “Crack Monster”.

  22. The Collector on December 7, 2010 - Reply

    The only thing this has brought to skateboarding is a 500 percent increase in shoplifting from skateshops.

    • kooklector on July 24, 2013 - Reply

      because black people steal, right? you’re so funny.

  23. SKoT - STuF Mag on January 15, 2011 - Reply

    Dave, did I mention Boogie Down Productions?? No, I’m talkin’ 3 Feet High and Rising, Jimmie Caps and Parents just don’t Understand. Capeche?

    ~Yo Holmes, smell ya later!!

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