Earlier this fall, one of Dr. Dre’s many proteges/studio heavy-lifters divulged that the good doctor’s 13-years-in-the-making ‘Detox’ album isn’t coming out. After numerous blown release dates going back to 2005, around the time the US wound up its search for Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, this understandably sent out some shockwaves. The yeti-like album has been called rap’s ‘Chinese Democracy,’ but since that one only took about 14 years to make, the comparison pretty soon might seem kind of unfair. After all, it’s been 8 years since Game threatened to put out his own version, and it seems like he’s moved on. And we all know how hard that is for Game.
Lord knows, it’s tough to take rappers at their word anymore. Dr. Dre hyped ‘Detox’ on XXL’s cover back in 2010, but that was before he went and got a job at Apple, shortly after getting drunk and enjoying his alleged billionaire status upon the sale of his Beats headphone company.
But Dr. Dre’s not the only one. Lil Wayne and Juelz Santana haven’t delivered their long-promised ‘Can’t Feel My Face’ album, alternately blaming Weezy’s jail bid and a badly timed raid on Juelz’s studio. Which happens. And we don’t need to get into Rick Ross’ shifting stories on his past run-in with the law, as in, when he worked as an officer of the law in a Florida jailhouse.
This week, internet ruffians are up in arms again over Ryan Sheckler, that oft-shirtless reality TV heartthrob who’s been moonlighting in recent years as the resurrected Plan B’s answer to Jeremy Wray, or depending on your view of the world, Andy Mac. It all has to do with the new Plan B video ‘B Tru,’ which has been on its own Captain Ahab type of quest to a release date over the past nine-plus years. While Ryan Sheckler and the Plan B team can gather more footage in one trip to China than the entire Girl team can in years’ worth of visits, they maintain exacting standards.
Anyway, peoples’ boxer shorts, or boxer briefs, or whatever you call it for those like Justin Figueroa who probably can’t be expected to indulge in any underwear whatsoever, are all in a bunch because all that Ryan Sheckler footage didn’t include one clip in particular, a successful backside kickflip down the El Toro stairs. You may remember it as home to the monster handrail that Carlos Ruiz backside lipslid(ed?) in Bill Weiss’ directorial debut for Blind. You might say that people had their hopes set unrealistically high, since those are some pretty big stairs and all. Then again, Ryan Sheckler told Thrasher boss Jake Phelps that he did it about five years ago.
Jake Phelps: This is what I heard, that you backside flipped el toro. Yes or no?
Ryan Sheckler: Yes.
JP: You did. How come we don’t see it? How come no flashes of the Plan B video, no nothing?
RS: I’ve been hurt, man.
JP: So what, they don’t want to keep it going? Stoke me out?
RS: Yeah, we’re keeping it going.
JP: Three flip?
RS: El Toro? Nah.
JP: Just backside flip? Say it.
RS: Just backside flip.
Flash forward several years — in an interview with Thrasher prior to the Plan B video premiere, Ryan Sheckler says that as the video deadline loomed, he had consulted doctors on the health implications of jumping down the famed 20-stair and still hoped to land the buzzworthy trick, which he apparently didn’t land in the prior years:
Thrasher: You know, I got to go with you when you tried El Toro a couple of years ago, and it was super amazing even though you got smoked. Are you trying to go back before this deadline?
Ryan Sheckler: If I’m gonna speak honestly, yeah, that’s the goal. I’m going so diehard on getting my ankle 100 percent. That’s why we brought in these doctors to make sure everything’s put in place so that if it does come down to the time to go, I’m ready to do it. So I’m just taking it day by day and really, really focusing on getting things strong and being able to take that impact. So that’s the goal. We’ll see, dude. I’m trying.
T: I know last time we were there, you tried the backside flip, it looked perfect and then you hit your nose on the last stair. Does that go through your head at all when you think about going back?
RS: Nah, dude, not really. I just need an extra push, thinking about it now. I watched that slam last night and it’s frustrating to watch it, but I don’t know. That was just a random day. I wasn’t warmed up. I was just amped, running off pure adrenaline and pure emotion that day and that’s how it’s gonna have to be this time around. I’m psyched, man. We’ll see what happens, dude.
Last week the Plan B video premiered at the Ricardo Montalban theater, named for the actor who achieved fame over seven decades that included being loudly shouted at by Captain Kirk of the starship Enterprise. After the premiere version of the video apparently did not include Ryan Sheckler landing the much-ballyhooed El Toro backside 180 kickflip, some of that residual intergalatic Hollywood anger appears to have spilled over into internet realms, where Ryan Sheckler has taken e-lashings for appearing to have lied about making the trick.
sk8intreesquidzero24 If you didn’t land that backside flip ur dead to me@shecks
keetnn Do they make plan b grip that sais liar?
mijo_gavino I thought the video was called True?
torysbonergarage Dude why
Meanwhile, Ryan Sheckler is absent from a laundry list of SOTY contenders published by Thrasher the other day, though some amateurs with no big video parts out this year made it.
Ryan Sheckler’s fans over the past week proffered various excuses: Perhaps he did land the trick and the footage was withheld from the premiere version so as to drive mp4 sales higher when word spread that the for-sale version includes an El Toro conquest. Or that an as-yet unnamed Plan B video, to arrive next year and feature Colin McKay, Danny Way and PJ Ladd, who at some point inexplicably vanished from the final ‘B Tru’ cut, also will include the elusive backside flip. Others, resigned to the idea that Ryan Sheckler did not and will not land the trick he seems to have said he did, credit him for claiming it for self-motivation purposes and offer points for trying it at all, and question whether it is even humanly possible.
If Ryan Sheckler turns out to have lied about landing what many would consider an ‘ender ender’-worthy blockbuster, what then? In the past, it would seem the industry shunned dudes for less. Witness former Plan B revolutionary Brian Emmers, shadowed by the urban legend of a self-aggrandizing letter he apparently never even wrote. Has Ryan Sheckler logged too many caffeine-drink advertisements and emotional reality television hours to be so easily heaved overboard? Or will the internet’s 24-minute news cycle rapidly bury critics’ threads and replies, effectively glossing over the whole episode like so many filmers and light poles photoshopped out of the way? Skateboarding differs from major-league alternatives partly because bars are raised and legends are written not inside stadiums and on some game clock but in K-Mart parking lots on the weekend, or in some ditch in the middle of the night. If proof does not reveal itself in the HD video pudding, what happens next?