The week ending 2/13/14 yielded two milestones in hip-hop white guy content.
First, the highly anticipated Gold Wheels video #goldgoons premiered on Feb. 11. Subsequently, the Drake mixtape/album/escape method from his Cash Money Records contract If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late dropped in the middle of the night the very next day.
Like most things in life, I found out about it via the Twitter monoculture; as I do most nights, I had passed out watching the NBA and, reflexively, checked Twitter only to find literally everyone tweeting about a new Drake mixtape and quoting quotable lyrics ‘n’ shit.
Snowed in most of the following fortnight, I had ample time to contemplate these two works while staring out the window at the sheet of ice that had covered the street in front of my house. Along those lines, I present a review of Gold Goons via #relevant quotes from If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late.
December 25, 2013
In 2009, a Crailtap employee told me that Smyth was working on an EMB book, or some shit. The status of said tome remains uncertain, but, until its completion, the recently released FTC Book is as close as we’re gonna get.
If one sat down to write a book about #local skate shops as “thing,” odds are that certain narrative motifs would emerge: owners mentoring local rippers, older dudes vibing, rivalries with other local shops. Some dudes achieved success via the #industry, some dudes flamed out and cultivated drug problems, some dudes faded out of skating and got a job working construction (via Springsteen, natch). And of course, some dudes quit at their peak to “get really into cars.”*
Indeed, these types of stories are as old as the hills to anyone who came up in a community with a local shop. However, in retail and most other ventures, timing is everything. FTC differs because its ascendance coincided with that of A) a series of new, cool-as-fuck companies B) innovators who, seemingly as an afterthought, were inventing a new genre of skating every afternoon and C) SF’s status as skate Mecca, with hometown heroes nationwide buying beaters and making the pilgrimage–Welsh most notably, but I’m sure you know one or two who made it or didn’t quite get there. From this anthropological standpoint, it’s import resonates to this day, as variants of the plaza skating culture continue to thrive and replicate. Case in point: Stalin.
And the videos. I can’t remember when/where I first saw the first one; probably out in front of Supreme. If you haven’t watched Finally in a while, it’s probably the most low-impact vid ever; the biggest drop is probably Carroll’s ollies that gap at the Wallenberg upper playground. Penal Code, canonical at this point, continues the oldies/beats/breaks/some regional hip-hop school of music supervision from Goldfish; pretty sure it was the first time I had heard “That Lady” since Paul’s Boutique. It was definitely in heavy rotation out in front of Supreme for a couple years. To paraphrase Meza, these videos maintain #relevance because of their organic, skating-the-same-spots-every-day-with-our-friends vibe–a vibe that is hard to fake via orchestrated high-five lifestyle footage.
For obsessives such as myself, The FTC Book takes the reader into a wormhole that was previously only accessible through apocryphal tales and early SLAP, which seemed more plugged-in to the EMB scene than Thrasher–a rivalry of sorts detailed in the book itself. It also answers quantum-level skate nerd questions like “who first started skating suede Pumas?” and “Did Jovontae Jeans actually exist?” Along those lines. the street-level economic details of the scene, via the infamous tab book, are also interesting as fuck. Does any other shop still maintain such a system? More importantly, do any currently-active skate spots keep the tradition of the open-air product market alive?
ANYWAY, the core of the book is its interviews; every notable EMB affiliate contributes a narrative, save Henry Sanchez. As the best dude out from 1991-1994, it would be fascinating to hear his take, but you know how that goes…
One question remains, though: if Carroll had skated to “Limelight,”would Serge have skated to “La Villa Strangiato”?
You can obtain The FTC Book here or at any FTC store in the US, Japan, or Spain
*is this a “thing” all over the country? worldwide?
PREVIOUSLY: Lonny Peoples Interview
February 18, 2013
“What are you, some kind of masochist?,” as the one-shot intro to Pretty Sweet appeared on a drop-down screen at a local bar.
My friend posed this question to me after I told him that I had still not seen the vid almost a month after its digital web-based release. There is a good reason for this.
My 2001-era heavy-as-fuck tube tv had died, so I acquired a high definition tv as a replacement. Knowing that the release of Pretty Sweet loomed, my other friend recommended a blu-ray player because of all the aps that come with it, like Netflix and shit like that. So I had this whole new setup–just a chill place to watch physical skate vids, the NBA, and “Girls”(natch). I mean, if this is the last vid part for Carroll and them, I’m gonna watch it on my own terms, not like some suburban tri-state area hedge fund manager watching pRon in his upstairs office.
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
May 29, 2011
In the collective mind’s eye of early-Nineties skating, every metropolis housed an Embarcadero-like plaza, over which presided an EMB-like hierarchy. Indeed, one of the most evocative moments of the recent Kalis Epicly Later’d was his ridiculously long line at that Dallas spot–City Place I think it was called. As city center plaza skating recedes into the sands of time, the value of pre-internet documentation of its practice increases exponentially.
ANYWAY, in Richmond, VA, Shafer Court was the spot–the first place we went after the oldest dude in our little crew got a driver’s license. The first place in which I felt that primal “fight-or-flight” response of being in a heavy session with some heavy dudes. There was only one way to do it; in that moment, I realized the true meaning of Danny Way’s personal philosophy. I had to move it or lose it.
Truth be told, I think I lost it.
ANYWAY, Lonny Peoples became one of the main dudes in the Shafer hierarchy and one of the few from VA (not counting Northern VA) to “do thangs” in skating out west. His career spans the golden age of vert to the weed-hazed heyday of Pier 7. The interview that follows is a window into a largely undocumented era.
Originally, I intended to do a Bill Simmons-esque running commentary on the 2010 Street League grand finale in Las Vagas with my fraternity dude brother. He agreed to come over and all that shit, and I tested the cassette tape recorder to make sure it still was operational.
However, he had ensconced himself so trenchantly in his man cave that dragging him out in the midst of a tropical storm-inspired rainy East Coast night became futile. So, we executed a running commentary by text message for as long as he condescended to watch Street League on ESPN2HD. Read the rest of this entry »
June 3, 2010
alternate post title: “[Podium] Erica Is Still My Muse”
I’m going to level with you here.
When I saw Tim “Secs” Gavin’s Big Brother trading card seventeen years ago, the first thing that I thought was not “whoa, this dude is management material.” Indeed, the content of said trading card was highly workplace-inappropriate. Ironically, though, Gavin has forged one of the most successful post-skating careers out, founding DVS and continuing to manage Podium Distribution effectively. He displays his signature management style in hilarious fashion in the recent Matix Industry Profile internet video, presumably arranged by Gavin’s newest hire–none other than [Podium] Erica. The purpose of this short film? To show all the kids out there what awaits them should they score a “dream job” in the industry.
I worked in a shop for 2 days. Read the rest of this entry »