you see, pimpin' is big business

and it's been going on since the beginning of time

and it's gonna continue straight ahead
until somebody out there turns out the lights on this small planet

I found the above in the library the other day. Trip the fuck out. It basically functions as an addendum or corollary to my previous post about the World box set. Clyde brings to light some of the same points, especially with regard to Rocco. However, I do have a couple [Popeye's chicken] bones to pick here. First, not including The Creeper among the list of elite Nineties graphic design dudes.
Come on now.
In addition, including the almost universally-maligned Lick in any list of elite Nineties videos surprised the fuck out of me, but if he's co-signing the XYZ vid and Uno it kind of makes sense from the persective of Mr. Singleton's un-edited mindstate. However, when combined with listing Alphonzo Rawls as one of the elite talents of the whole decade, that seemingly left-field choice caused me to draw the following conclusion: Alphonzo Rawls is underrated as fuck. I would also go so far as to say the following:
Alphonzo Rawls was The Black Danny Way.
The dude was one of five or so people in the whole world that could pull legitimately cool, progressive shit on both vert and street. Alf, however, displayed a much more palatable delivery than Way's trademark "mechanized Aryan super-soldier" style.

Maybe an "In Defense of Lick" post lurks somewhere in the dark recesses of my mind. That might be too challenging of a thesis, though. Here's my deal: Lick will always have mad personal nostalgia value because it was the first video that my friend acquired after we all started "going hard" at skating. Consequently, we hung out at curbs all day in the middle of the summer and tried to find as many 2 cm ledges down stairs as possible. This was before kids started using the term "hubba," so I think we called them "jibs" or some shit. However, much to my dismay, Lick's ponderous length, cliche security guard encounters, preponderance of helmet footage (mostly filmed at a Mezozoic-era version of the Berrics known as the Powell SkateZone), not-very-memorable skating, and questionable music supervision* have relegated it to the shitcan of history--even moreso that its philosophical counterparts Da Deal is Dead and Whatever. Indeed, if I remember correctly, the dudes in Lick sported a pastel-colored pant for each of the pastel-colored test pattern bars on the box cover. I could probably write a dissertation solely about the pants of Lick. Consider, if you will, Misha Gundman; in addition to skating to some kind of wacky Swedish rock 'n roll (I thought Sweden only produced death metal?!), one could probably fabricate two additional garments from the cuffs of his pants alone. All this didn't matter to us, though, because, in essence, we were just fuckin' psyched on how exponentially beyond what we were doing the skating was.

Like Alf's part. Funny thing--in the Next days, he was essentially on the same level as both Way and his bro Koston. Unfortunately, by the end of the decade he had become just another 16-stair f/s boardslide dude. Back then, however, It seemed like Alf and Koston were both spawned in some grassland Southern California commune where all those wacky H-Street multi-spine Frankenstein ramps popped up. At least, that was how they existed in the ol' Theatre of the Mind. Furthermore, Alf's pro models sported some of the coolest album-cover rip-off graphics ever:

hard as fuck
And this--well this is really just too cute (image from skateandannoy.com):

His part in Lick, in addition to containing a line at that indoor basketball court ledge that went around in a complete circle (bro) and a caballerial back-foot flip and that Marc Johnson trick from that Chocolate commercial
sixteen years ago on vert, features an early Nineties hip-hop classic from Positive K that may or may not have been ghost-written by Grand Puba or Big Daddy Kane or one of those fuckin' guys.

Skate videos and hip-hop videos from this era had a lot in common (click to enlarge below Venn diagram). I spent countless hours watching both. They both were intensely intimidating, yet simultaneously attractive as fuck, portraying a world I would have given my left arm to have been a part of. Looking back, though, they both seem more than a little goofy--just some bros filming their bros on some bro-cam shit.**

The tune, "Night Shift," is a gripping tale of how a gentleman--in this case, Positive K himself--uses his interpersonal skills to persuade young ladies to join the ranks of the world's oldest profession. Not only does he persuade them to make this vocational decision, but, as you can see from the video, they deliver to him their gross earnings on a handsome wooden table. Said table is indeed a fine piece of furniture, despite being fabricated by someone other than Anthony Popparlardo. Seriously, I also like how all the girls in this video, and in videos in the early Nineties in general, dressed like they were going to an interview at a law firm or some shit. That's class, baby.

Another classy, timeless, transcendent element to "Night Shift" is the following life lesson from Big Daddy Kane:

Man, you got to work your women by the scale

I mean, if she skinny, make her bring you home a good penny
And if she fat, make her pay like she weight.

Seriously, if Lick was The Outsiders, then that would be the Robert Frost poem right there.

*notable exception: "Releasing Hypotical Gasses" by Organized Konfusion, which I only realized was cool when I became a college radio hip-hop backpacker years later. And the Tribute version of "I Don't Know" at least five months before VR (I seriously just now realized that. I don't know why that didn't register the first time I saw VR; perhaps that particular facet of my skate nerdery had not yet developed). And "Don't Stop "Til You Get Enough." Come to think of it, the music supervision wasn't that bad. Alice in Chains was kind of an inspired choice, but I would have chosen something from Jar of Flies. In all honesty, I am shocked that no one has used "I Stay Away in a video part yet. You wanna talk about a record that transports one on a journey through time and space? Fuck. New AIC record is decent btw

**which makes Hype Willams the Ty Evans of hip-hop videography

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"mechanized Aryan super-soldier" Thats golden. I've always seen him as some weird android thing.