Although certain other Boston-area pro acts are as associated with rap music as with nollie 360s in recent times, PJ Ladd’s career may be the one to most closely track the fortunes of the Wu-Tang Clan. Both arrived out of left field, offered something very different than the going thing at the time of their respective debuts and garnered legendary stature amongst tweens fine-tuning kickflips off quarterpipe decks. Arguments could be made that neither one so far has surpassed the bar set for themselves straight out of the gate, though “Forever” and “Really Sorry” had their moments (Inspecta Deck’s human-fly escapade in the “Triumph” video, the fakie frontside heelflip backside 5-0 on one of those notorious window ledges).
The years since have seen certain Wu members and PJ Ladd trade in various overcast and colonial-constructed eastern seaboard streetcorners for sunnier but less-descript locales of southern California, while combating the dilutive effects of fame and fortune, and inevitably misplacing some intangibles in the process. There are rich message-board seams to mine as to why PJ Ladd has yet to properly follow up the “Wonderful, Horrible” paradigm-shifter, instead offering dribs and drabs of footage across a decadelong shuffle of shoe sponsors and road trips. This latest clip, from the X Games “Real Street” series, is more potent than recent skatepark fare when it comes to resurrecting ghosts of a kid whipping off flatground tricks in lines that most people hadn’t conceived of — here a fakie frontside 180 b/s 5-0 shove-it and a frontside 180 switch crooked grind frontside shove-it out that perhaps have been notched somewhere in the wilds of Youtube, but probably not so well, and another rendition of the floaty sort of revert out of a crooked grind that once helped PJ Ladd defy some parameters of physics on one of those window ledges some 10 years ago. Nice to see the fakie flip frontside noseslide 270 shove-it again.