Posts Tagged ‘Lil Wayne’

Cory Kennedy, Celebrating A Shoe, Opens A Texaco-Shaped Back Door For Lil Wayne-Designed Textiles

September 12, 2015

gas-station

New York Fashion Week has come, bearing each customary ounce and parcel of loathing and dread. Behold, the grim reaper marks its approach this year by grimly and financially reaping DC Shoe corporate parent Quiksilver Inc. which earlier in the week sought bankruptcy shelter from creditors after U.S. consumers bemusedly abandoned its boardshorts and sweaters in larger and larger numbers. Nearly $1 billion in debt, shares plunging to 1 cent and eclipsed by nimbler retail gladiators such as H&M, prognosticators projected a pessimistic path for the erstwhile Quik.

“There’s just fewer kids out there that think the surf market is cool,” said analyst Mitch Kummetz of B. Riley & Co. “The heyday of the late ’90s and the early 2000s is a distant memory.”

It is a bleak vision of things to come not just for the DC Shoe Co USA, which remains a much-going skate concern despite Quiksilver axing its skate team 2.5 year ago, but other longsuffering company mavens aspiring toward pudgy soft-goods margins may also find themselfs slapped awake from any lingering all-over print dreams by the harsh reality that not even spacewolf penny completes and branded tote bags could bar Quiksilver’s door against the corporate poltergeists of high fixed costs and irate shareholders.

Yet when titans of commerce stumble, their sharp elbows and 900 pound weightiness can rip holes in the space-time continuum through which copious amounts of shadenfreude may briefly gush, and also roomy enough for upstart entrepreneurs to assert their product visions boldly upon this greasy stage of trade. Lil Wayne, a widely known personal brand from Hollygrove, New Orleans, has pursued skate fandom and purchased Thrasher merchandise long enough to have absorbed the industry’s notorious inclination toward boom-and-bust cycles, a gruesome fiscal paradigm likely all too applicable to the now-blighted business of selling musical CDs and official ringtone files. Having long since moved on from endorsing Girbauds and Hot Boy Wear brand underpants, it only was a natural Darwinian process for Lil Wayne to apply his design prowess to clothes aerodynamically equipped for skateboarding, yet for several seasonal retail cycles Trukfit has seemed to revolve within the same treacherous surfweary space through which the planets Quiksilver, Rusty and Hurley hurtle, unable to penetrate the unlucrative but theoretically critical hardcore skating demographic*.

Adopting the sort of per-diem spendthriftiness of top-tier talents such as known electronics-hoarder Billy Marks may have contributed to the sinking of the good ship Quiksilver US Balance Sheet, but could this same genomic quality prove Trukfit’s salvation? The unfettered, devil-may-care approach to gas-station checkout counters that elevated neon-sided Wayfarer wannabes, mystic wolf t-shirts and exotic straw hats to positions of pride on skateshop shelves could prove Trukfit’s diesel-scented lifering in this time of harsh economy.

Lil Wayne’s presumptive life-ring thrower in this fantasy is none other than industry pool-boy Cory Kennedy, he of the blade shades, leafy sombrero, mid-career abrupt-transition fixation and post-‘Pretty Sweet’ lost weekend. A long-overdue sneaker nod from skate biz cornerstone Nike Inc. last week revealed that Cory Kennedy’s ever-present and malleable hunger for novelty wears has expanded to include Trukfit gear of a rainbowy persuasion, amid leys, grass skirts and certain other Hawaiian accoutrements. In scenes that recall ‘Fulfill the Dream’s’ beloved Wallows sequence except with the brightness inexplicably dialed down, the occasionally Trukfitted Cory Kennedy and his friends crunch through various of Hawaii’s grittier pockets en route to a volcanic peak-to-peak kickflip wallride and a presumptive SOTY-baiting year-end footage dump via ‘Chronicles 3′ and TBA web clips still to come.

Will a midstream transition to gas-station swag status absolve Trukfit from any sins of marketing meetings past and clear a new and lucrative path to skateboarders’ closet-floor piles? Are the stakes for Lil Wayne that much higher following his recent split with Baby and uncertain ‘Carter’ album cycle future? Was the dark Nike clip supposed to imply the viewer is wearing sunglasses the whole time? Is 2015 the year Cory Kennedy’s sponsor cabinet advisers will convince him to ‘apply himself’? Will any resulting SOTY check and bonus sponsor payments trigger a truckstop retailing boom large enough to offset revenue slides triggered by the crude-oil price collapse?

*Identified as persons who own and ride skateboards

Were Things Better When Habitat’s Logo Was Busier?

May 15, 2013

stuck truck

In these topsy-turvy times a bro can be forgiven for wondering if we are witnessing some wholesale collapse of ‘the industry.’ One day it’s Jason Dill and AVE leaving Alien Workshop, the next it is rumored to be Grant Taylor, then the Holy See that is the Slap board would have Austyn Gillette, Brian Anderson and Alex Olson all flying their respective coops en route to greener pastures and possibly other mixed metaphors further afield. Meanwhile footwear developers have uniformly failed to achieve, leaving no alternative for Chaz Ortiz to secure sponsorship suitable for his skills than a new shoe company invented by Lil Wayne*. Perhaps most confounding is the news, reported last week by Quartersnacks, that Fred Gall got married (believed to be pictured above, with wedding party).

As we cast about for certainty and stability we look not to flighty teamriders or faddish deck technologies or the shifting cuts of cotton t-shirts, but to the graphic designs crafted to withstand the ravages of time and various silk-screen appliques. Faced with chaos and corporate identity crises, the beleaguered consumer still can safely plunk down funds for hard and soft-goods bearing a Ripper, Oval, Bighead, Flare, or OG of the Blind or Girl persuasion. So it is with Habitat’s famed and beloved ‘Pod’ logo, winner of the best new graphical design by a deck concern for the year 1999; however, a close review demonstrates a subtle shift over the past 13 years. Harken back to the original iteration of the Habitat logo, pictured herewith.

old_hab

In the winter of 1999-2000 the planet was similarly on the cusp of change. Yellow shirts were commonplace and a presidential election approached a fine froth in the U.S., while computer scientists stayed up late searching for a digital harpoon with enough 1s and 0s to slay the fearsome Y2K bug. The Habitat logo as then envisioned offered safety and security, calmly explaining that Habitat was issued under the Sovereign Sect and that the company was focused on coexistence. The hand, leaf/wave and buildings represent ancient hobo hieroglyphs used by Fred Gall to indicate places of safety and prices for lap dances at certain New Jersey strip clubs.

habitat_vinyl_decal

If we skip ahead several chapters to the year 2013 much has changed, and the Pod logo no longer is adorned with horizontal lines and explanatory dialogue. What the Pod has gained in versatility, now shot through with camo, plaid and other patterns, it has shorn off in complexity, occasionally leaving off the H part on the left altogether and just having the circle and leaf thing. The viewer in such instances may be left to fend for his or herself, squinting and gritting teeth to recall aeroplane series, Mr. Dibbs instrumentals and the follow angle on Brian Wenning’s switch backside smith grind at Love Park. With so much now in question across the industry, should Habitat consider adding back some hot new glyph action to the logo? Have companies generally simplified their logos to shave weight from t-shirts and hopefully secure more X-Games medallions? Is Habitat only following the minimalist trek of technology hardware developers, rumored to be developing a new mouse with one button that does not click or connect to any computer?

*Perhaps more troubling is the growing realization that Trukfit and Spectre could ultimately dilute the already-established market for Hot Boy Wear.

Ten More From 2011

January 6, 2012

In no particular order. BTW, Deluxe posted up a link to Jake Donnelly’s missing “Since Day One” part that is salivated over in the posting below, so watch that too if you haven’t seen.

Chewy Cannon – “Tres Trill”
Switch wallie backside 180. RZA = PALACE TM

Torey Pudwill – “Big Bang”
Going forward there will always be a camp that solemnly believes Torey Pudwill was robbed for SOTY 2011 and they will always have a reasonable argument to make. Some of these tricks even six months later seem so obnoxiously difficult, like it’s not enough to jump a rail and lipslide a pic-a-nic table, then you gotta kickflip out too. But it’s hard not to cheer for this dude, his spring and zest for colorful shoes and big ledges.

Gou Miyagi – “Subspecies”
Don’t know much about this dude aside from the Slap interview a while back but have come to think of him as one of the precious few authentic weirdos that hopefully will always be able to find some kind of outlet in a skateboard, whether it’s gripped with felt squares or whatever.

Lucas Puig – Transworld Profile
Think I liked Lucas Puig more when he was a kid who seemed like he had the potential to do anything, versus the grown-up beast man who can and does do everything. I dig the idea of a French counterweight to the US-bred Kostons and Chris Coles and so on though, and Puig makes wise trick choices especially for one of the main proponents of the “Beware of the Flare” school of ledge combos. Also contains Lem Villemin’s challenge to Torrey Pudwill for backside tailslide of the year.

Tom Asta – Mystery pro part
The song got to me after a while, but the Love Park gap at night still is one of the more dramatic/picturesque settings for your power moves, reiterated in the new Mark Suciu ad.

Mike Anderson “Not Another TWS Video”
They are some fast feet

Gilbert Crockett – “Life Splicing No. 005”
Lifting his cat-pounce a few levels out there — was surprised the clip of the bench leap and the three-times manual weren’t held for some more prestigious release, but one of the upsides to the more-disposable nature of the web clip is a sort of throwback to the days when you could catch something inspiring between “Chaos” and the first “Wheels of Fortune.”

Travis Erickson – Santa Cruz part
Still one of the funnest to watch. Like to imagine he’s doing this stuff on his way home from work, keys hanging off the belt and backpack on.

Justin Brock – “Since Day One.”
When I think back on this section I think about the tricks off the bump and onto the shorty ledge, like the noseblunt, the Snowman-Eazy E mash-up and that long run through the park at the beginning. Justin Brock might not be your first choice as a thinking man’s skateboarder but I think he’s got more depth than he gets credit for.

Nick Boserio – “Life Splicing No. 004”
One of the better-edited parts made this year. Nosegrind through the kink was bananas

Has The “Listen To” Shirt Finally Arrived Via Lil Wayne’s New Limp Bizkit Video?

March 21, 2010

Alongside the Muska pants-bunch, shoelace belts and Limpies, one of skateboarding’s most enduring and important contributions to fashion surely must be the “Listen To __” t-shirt, kind of an everydude’s version of the power tie. As in, I know what you should do and I/my pre-shrunk cotton shirt will tell you to do it. There have been many versions of the shirt. My first recollection is a Big Brother-backed “Listen To Black Sabbath” that was on the racks around the time Tim O’Connor became a pro. Element’s follow-up “Listen To Bob Marley” was a little too on-the-nose for a company that was rapidly climbing the corporate rungs but DNA’s “Listen To Alien Workshop,” made famous in blue by Ryan Gee’s Love Park fountain jump in “Chomp,” put an entertaining meta twist on the increasingly tired idea. I believe Deluxe did “Listen to Skateboarding” and Baker (I think) made one not so long ago along the lines of “Listen To Those Shirts That Tell You What To Listen To.”

That previous Larry Perkins entry overlooked the fact that the SPOT overlords have bestowed upon him his own version of the shirt that you can actually buy here, which is kind of a milestone all by itself. But then the other day, I was watching the MTV Jams channel, and Lil Wayne has this new video full of poorly lit bros ollieing trash cans and in the middle of everything else he’s wearing around a “Listen To Lil Wayne” shirt, not properly formatted as far as the font and everything, but still. With Lil Wayne being the most important and expensive artist of our time, has the “Listen To” shirt broken into the mainstream? I submit to you that it has, and unless Heath Kirchart pops up in the Emerica video wearing a shirt that says only “Listen To”, companies should maybe think long and hard before reviving the concept again.

Last of the Fucked Up Blind Kids

June 15, 2009


A post in which we reference the Venga Boys and anuses but the overall tone is pretty positive

The summer video season is upon us, with what seems like two videos dropping every week and as if to prove the point, I just saw this preview for the new Black Label video that apparently is coming out next month and most definitely features a bunch of kids I’m not familiar with. All of which means that A. I’m over the hill, again, and B. well behind on the commentating, such as it is. I’ll expound elsewhere about the Blind video, known to some as “The Blind Video,” based on the true story about filming a Blind video. If you have not seen it I’ll touch on some of the critical plot points: Jake Duncombe likes to party and as such will one day skate to a Venga Boys song. Jake Brown manufactures t-shirts with the F-word on them and does one of the zanier manuals in a while, Grant Patterson prefers big gaps, tall tees, and music by/for/about the ghetto. Morgan Smith is painfully Canadian, Jani Latiala catches some of his flip tricks really weird, Ronnie Creager glides.

But a few more words and possibly a couple mixed metaphors are due James Craig, however, who to my mind turned in the best section of this video and possibly the best of his career — which if you graphed it would look like two big boobs spanning the last decade, or maybe also a buttcrack with Craig’s heinous knee injury marking the tragic anus. You could probably make a sort-of convincing case for how James Craig represented the rear guard of 1990s World riders, and elsewhere Carbonite submitted “The Blind Video” as the most “Trilogy”-like World production since “Trilogy” which I can sort of see, and sort of not see. For sure a lot of these lines could have been performed in a schoolyard or UC campus of your choosing, but it’s more how this James Craig section fulfills the promise of his Blind amateur footage like this when he was something of a pre-PJ Ladd PJ Ladd (also noting the last trick symmetry with Craig’s first line in this year’s production, yes).

James Craig has also engineered a sort of double comeback with this part… in the unfortunately titled “What If” video it was clear he had pretty much all his tricks back, and then some, but his arms were all over the place to such a degree you wonder if Torey Pudwill used to watch it and take down shaky, jagged notes. He made it partway back with the surprise section in “Get Familiar” (that bigspin flip) but I gotta say I wasn’t expecting him in 2009 to be running around doing high-speed switch heelflip smith grinds, noseblunts to switch backside tailslides, and that rocket launcher kickflip that maybe exorcised some of the triple-set demons of days past. The dude could be a candidate for the short list of people who can pass off varial kickflips and it’s likely the frontside heelflip on flat will rank among the season’s very best. We here at BTO try not to read into pro skaters’ motivations and/or feelings that much but this section has the serious “fun” vibe for me; I’m a sucker for happy endings and glad James Craig handed us this one*, though I heard a second attempt at the ender trick may have taken him out again. If so, get well soon, and we’ll all try to bear in mind the thrice-endowed tart of “Total Recall.”

Bonus: James Craig’s part from the Razor Sharp vid, which I think I watched whilst drinking one time.

*pause