Why Music and Skateboarding Are So Similar
I was talking to this skater named Reuben at my friend’s small but crazy birthday party, and he told me he liked our songs. Especially our skate/music video with our homie Sturgill in it. Then he brought up something that I never told anybody about, but had been thinking of since I started rapping over ten years ago: Musicians and skateboarders are so similar in so many ways, in their careers, in their lifestyles, their personalities and more.
Reuben brought it up by saying, “you know I kinda do the same thing as you. You spend months making an album, and I spend months filming a skate video part. Then it comes out and it gets reviewed by magazines and people critique it.” And skateboarding is not just a sport it’s an art. I’ll explain it simply, I could paint a woman’s portrait, and Van Gogh could paint the same woman. Whose would you rather see? You could watch me do a kickflip, or you could watch Tom Penny do one at the same spot, and at the same height. But watching Tom Penny do it with his laid back and extremely smooth style, is a special moment. Time stops for a second. So video parts get critiqued kind of like albums. They’re judged on skill, style, delivery, and overall enjoyability. Also skaters film demo tapes called Sponsor Me videos. They send them out to skate companies in hopes of getting sponsored just like musicians send their demos to record labels in hopes of getting signed. And once they are, they go on the road to promote themselves and their label or sponsor.
Musicians go on tour and play concerts everywhere they can. Skate teams go and skate demos at skate parks and shops all over the world. Tons of fans show up at each event. They sign autographs and then go to the after party. Lots (definitely not all) of skaters tend to lead more rock star lifestyles with the partying than the average athlete. Musicians can do a show on drugs or drunk, skateboarders can usually do their thing in the same status. Look at the Piss Drunx for God’s sake. But that’s an extreme example. Skating high and drunk was always fun for me, but it really is a terrible idea, I do fall more. But I have friends that hit up scary handrails after 40s and big blunts. Aren’t those things supposed to make you paranoid? I know one guy who pretty much doesn’t skate unless he’s smoked a blunt of BC or headies (aka good weed or great weed). He just does that all day and is one of the best skaters in Raleigh. He’s got photos printed in the national magazines doing some big trick, and you’re looking at it knowing he’s probably blazed.
You could see Jimi Hendrix onstage in front of thousands absolutely shredding his guitar, which requires super human fine motor skills, which drugs and alcohol tend to affect heavily. And he is higher than that U.S. flag on the moon. Probably forgets where he is. Tripping balls as the colloquial expression goes.
Speaking of motor skills, musicians and skaters have to work hard to develop their abilities. Then give it style, throw their own twist on it and try to make it look easy. When I learn a new song on the piano or bass, it takes tons of patience at first. Then I get closer and closer to playing it right. Then I can play it but not perfectly every time. Then you’ve got it nearly all of the time, and you start learning new songs faster. Same thing with skateboard tricks. Then performing them at a show is nerve racking as is performing tricks at a contest. Of course with skateboarding there’s the extra nervousness, because if you mess up on a song, the worst that could happen is people might laugh at you. With skateboarding the surgeon might have to screw some metal plates in your bones when you mess up (thank God mine don’t hurt when it rains).
Another difference is that you can make it in music without being very good at music. There are no Soulja Boys or Jonas Brothers in skateboarding, thank God. If you are making money skateboarding then you’ve got to be damn good. But it takes a lucky break for both careers to happen. There will always be the local heroes in both music and skateboarding that deserve to be making tons of money but never made it, and are still out just doing it for the love of it. So to anybody out there who puts the blood, sweat, and tears it takes dedicate your life to either. We salute you.