Bring the ruckus! Enter the Wu-Tang is about to turn 25 years old on November 9, 2018 and we’ve come to pay respects to the legendary skateboard video parts that are forever entwined with the Wu-Tang legacy.
Because after all, it was skateboard videos that sparked the union between Shaolin and skateboarding – and one specific video part in particular (see below).
And while many MCs came to live out their name and brandish their skate styles accompanied by Wu sounds, only a handful have mastered the deadly venom styles that raised the art of skateboarding to new heights and inspired generations to roll up one pant leg and bang people over the head with that rugged technique.
With that said, here are the Top 5 Wu-Tang Clan Songs in Skateboard Video History, power-rated for your viewing pleasure:
1. Gino Iannucci – 101 Skateboards “Snuff” (1993)
(feat. Wu-Tang Clan “Method Man” from Enter the Wu-Tang)
This part holds the number one spot uncontested for single-handedly leading skateboarders into the 36 Chambers in 1993. With the Wu’s “M-E-T-H-O-D Man” blaring out the speakers, a rookie pro by the name of Gino Iannucci took audiences on a tour of style and finesse from World Park to the Santa Monica sand patches.
And after that, every skateboarder hit their local record store feinin’ for a dose of Wu-Tang music (because you still had to hunt it down in those pre-internet days).
It was a career-defining moment for Gino, who had just gone from underground sensation on the Black Label skateboard brand to joining the elite 101 Skateboards squad as a new pro. The barge-on-the-scene energy behind the “Method Man” song – initially a B-side to the “Protect Ya Neck” single – made it a prime soundtrack choice, says Gino Iannucci in a highly recommendable interview on the SKATE MUZIK radio show (you can listen to the entire interview here).
The rest is history. Gino went on to become a trailblazer of street skateboarding’s technical revolution and reclusive style icon, perfecting his skills outside the spotlight, only to reemerge ever so often with game-changing footage. He also maintained a tradition of skating to Wu songs in heavy-hitting video parts such as “Trilogy” (Ghostface Killah, “Motherless Child”, DJ Punish remix, 1996) and “The Chocolate Tour” (GZA, “Publicity”, 1999). In terms of Wu-Tang skateboarding moments, this is the GOAT.
2. Menace Team Section – World Industries “20 Shot Sequence” (1995)
(feat. Method Man “Release Yo’ Delf” from Tical)
When Menace Skateboards first stepped on the scene, the industry was petrified. Much like the Wu, this new company charged into the spotlight no-holds-barred and fists swinging. Literally! The Menace segment in 1995’s “20 Shot Sequence” video opens on the MNC team handing a collective beat-down to an unfortunate skater at an L.A. school yard, accompanied by the opening chorus of Method Man’s “Release Yo’ Delf” single (learn the details in Patrick O’Dell’s Epicly Later’d documentary series).
It was a classic video moment from what would become a classic skate brand. By creating Menace, pro skateboarder and entrepreneurial mastermind Kareem Campbell (see 4.) proved his uncompromising eye for talent and Midas touch for street-approved cool. By enlisting Eric Pupecki, Joey Surriel, Fabian Alomar, and Billy Valdez as headline pros, Kareem took a handful of notorious bad boys that other company owners were scared to touch and molded them into an inner-city Bones Brigade for the 40s and Blunts generation.
With the L.A. premiere of “20 Shot Sequence”, Kareem unleashed Menace on all the b*tch a*s people in the industry. And that was the night everything changed. To all Tommy Hill ice-rocking, street-savvy skaters wearing their fitted baseball hats sideways in defiance, Menace Skateboards was the answer – and this Method Man track was their anthem.
3. Harold Hunter – Zoo York “Mixtape” (1998)
(feat. Method Man and Ghostface Killah freestyle on Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Radio Show)
When Harold Hunter tragically passed away in 2006, the skateboard community lost a shining star. The professional skateboarder/model/actor/MC/New York style icon touched countless lives as a multi-talented individual and larger than life persona. Capturing the essence of Harold Hunter is a near impossible feat, but the R.B. Umali-directed segment in Zoo York’s “Mixtape” video achieves just that. Harold’s personality shines in his skating and outtakes from acting appearances – and the unique Wu soundtrack is the icing on top.
As Harold proceeds to hit classic NYC spots from Brooklyn Banks to Union Square, complementing rhymes are courtesy of no other than the Clan’s Method Man and Ghostface Killah. In a rare audio and video recording from 1994’s Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito radio show, we experience Meth’ in his prime, loftily hovering over the track dropping bars in signature Ticallion Stallion style next to Ghostface Killah’s tales of Wu Gambino crime family antics.
It’s the perfect soundtrack for a moment in time when New York skateboarding was rough, rugged and underground, but Harold Hunter made it all look glorious. Before joining the Zoo York team, Harold also appeared in ads for The American Dream skateboard company as ‘Ol’ Dirty Harold’ in tribute to his favorite Wu member. Much like Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Harold left the world too young, with too much greatness ahead of him. His memory lives on through the Harold Hunter Foundation for New York City skateboarding and this classic video part. Never to be forgotten.
4. Kareem Campbell – World Industries “20 Shot Sequence” (1995)
(feat. Method Man “Bring the Pain” from Tical)
Is it real, son? Is it really real, son?! That’s not even a question when Los Angeles legend and style icon Kareem Campbell taps Method Man’s Tical album for his seminal video part. It gets no more 1990s street skating than Kareem’s part in “20 Shot Sequence”: His opening line covers half a city block with style and finesse, followed by mid-1990s tech gems served with a signature sprinkling of high-powered pop (as in: flat ground 360 flip to 5-0 on the table at Lockwood).
In the bigger picture, the Tical album’s release marked a point in time when Wu-Tang Clan – and all of hip-hop – was about to blow up into major mainstream fame. And skateboarding was also pulling itself out of the gutter and getting ready bring the pain after having imploded in 1991.
Kareem Campbell was laying the foundation for skateboarding’s next level not only as a major pro on World Industries. He had also just presented his own vision of skateboard culture by launching the Menace Skateboards brand (see 2.). With a best-selling shoe on DuFFS – 1995’s KCK Kicks model, still often imitated today – he displayed an aptitude for setting future trends in footwear design, which he fully pursued by starting Axion Footwear soon after.
Speaking of the future: Kareem’s trick selection, spot choices, outfits and soundtrack picks from 1995 would still all be considered on point today. He also kept it close to the Wu throughout his entire career, for instance by tapping Method Man & Redman for his 1996 video part in “Trilogy”. And that, in the words of Method Man, is really real…
5. Mike Crum – World Industries – Rodney Mullen vs. Daewon Song (1997)
(feat. Wu-Tang Clan – “As High As Wu-Tang Get” from Wu-Tang Forever)
At a time when soundtracks for vertical skateboarding were ruled by the unholy trinity of Slayer, Metallica, and Ozzy Osbourne, it took skills and courage to break the mold. Enter Mike Crum, a native Texan and next-generation vert skateboarder who brought the vernacular of ultra-technical street skateboarding into halfpipe terrain.
Accompanied by one of the most underrated tracks of the Clan’s 1997 double album Wu-Tang Forever, Crum lays down a barrage of tech moves that a) nobody else was doing at the time, and b) still hold currency on the vert circuit today.
Don’t be fooled by Old Dirty Bastard (RIP) chanting “as high as Wu-Tang get”. Crum’s style is stone-cold sober technical mastery. Laser-blade sharp and focused, his bag of tricks includes no-handed switch pop-shove its, nollie varial heel indies, switch shuv noseslide over the channel and nollie cabs. It was not only the kind of vertical skateboarding that even the most technically-minded street skaters could get behind. It was the future. If any vert skater ever proved worthy of becoming a general in the Wu-Tang army, it’s got to be Crum.
The Saga Continues
Speaking of worthy, honorable mentions in the Wu-Tang x Skateboard Videos legacy have to include Keenan Milton’s (RIP) breakout part in “20 Shot Sequence” over Method Man’s “Mr. Sandman”. Also East coast powerhouse Reese Forbes skating to a banging “C.R.E.A.M.” remix in a 411 Video Magazine commercial. Let’s not forget Quim Cardona, who even created a skate brand called Wu-Tang Limited in 2011, laying it down to Ghostface Killah’s “Black Jesus” in the Static IV video.
Plus more recently, props to Jason Dill for skating to Raekwon the Chef’s “Glaciers of Ice” in a star-studded montage in SUPREME’s “Cherry” video; almost getting run over by a delivery truck while Ghost and Rae parlay over the flyest ways to rock Clarks shoes before putting down a brolic tech line in the middle of downtown traffic. Unstoppable!
With that said, who will be the next contender to camouflage a brand-new style over Wu-Tang beats? It’s no question that in order to survive, Shaolin Kung-Fu must now be taught to more young men and women. So be prepared. And protect your neck. Because the saga continues. Wu-Tang! WU-TANG! WU-TANG!!!
Are you watching closely?
As the RZA himself wrote in The Tao of Wu: “In a way, when TV went digital, we lost a foothold in reality. Now, we’ll never truly know if what we’re watching is real or has been altered and transmitted to us.” On that note, legend has it that certain mid-1990s skateboard videos had been altered with heavy digital cosmetics, snipping a few well-chosen frames to eliminate the occasional toe drag or manual touch-down. Reality or conspiracy theory? Or just another mystery in the art of shadowboxing?
Ghostface Killah’s verse on the Stretch Armstrong & Bobbito Radio Show marks the first recorded occurrence of the term “Teflon Don” in rap music, which 15 years later would become the title of a 2010 album by recording artist Rick Ross.