(Original article was written for ESPN Skateboarding -this is the extended version with videos)
It’s only been, what, four months since the last update? That’s the time it took me to get hyped on skate flick related music, truthfully.
Sure there’s been the occasional FTC edit here and there (by the same Ando who made me obsessed with Gucci Mane, thanks a lot !), an Elijah Berle section over there, but all in all, well, I was relying heavily on old ghosts from times past -and yes by that I mean Lord Finesse and Cali Agents.
And then came the DGK video.
Of course, DGK’s new video Parental Advisory isn’t the only skate video, ever, to bare an all hip hop soundtrack. Think Zoo York, ponder Ian Reid’s work’s vibe in general. Still… It had been a while.
In some interview, Stevie had mentioned at how he was gonna try to revive the spirit of old Chocolate videos, this and that, but to my very surprise, he really sort of did.
Is it the lines? The blue-collar filming? Who knows. It might have to do with the 100% contemporary hip hop soundtrack, which I found myself absolutely flabbergasted to actually really, really enjoy as, well, please refer to my “latest” hip hop references in the first paragraph.
Old farteries aside, here’s how picking the most hip hopest soundtrack this side o’ Zoo York’s Mixtape went down with mastermind Brad Rosado.
When did you start working on gathering tunes for the video?
Brad Rosado: I pretty much started gathering music soon as I started the video. I have a playlist of 2,000+ songs that I’ve been building up for about 4 years now. Every time I hear a song that could potentially work for a video part or commercial I throw in that playlist. The good thing about it is that the playlist works well for all the Kayo brands. There is hip-hop, rock, soul, skits, instrumentals, etc. Even with all those choices of music it was still hard to match up songs for the video.
Was it before, or during editing, according to each skaters’ part, or did you already have a general idea of what songs you wanted in there?
It was pretty much all of the above. There were a couple songs that I’ve been wanting to use for a video part for years and they ended up working out. Some of the songs were finalized a week before the project was due. I definitely knew the flow I wanted for each part but making sure it was timeless was the hard part.
Whose decision was it to make it 100% hip hop?
That was a group decision for sure. I wanted to throw in different genre of music but with the intros and the style of everybody’s skating it just made more sense to use all hip-hop. Maybe we will use some other type of music for future projects.
Do you remember a few instances of skate flicks over time that bared a 100% hip hop score like that? If yes, what are/were your favorites?
I feel it’s pretty rare that the soundtrack is all hip-hop for a skate video. The only one that I can think of off the top of my head is the Zoo York Mixtape videos. When those came out I was definitely hyped on it. I didn’t really listen to anything else at the time so it was dope to see a video do that.
Did some of the skaters come up with ideas themselves?
It was a mix for sure. A lot of people didn’t really have specific tracks they wanted to use. Instead they gave me a group of artist that they would be down to use and I found something they were into based off of that. One of the only dudes on the team that picked out their own track was Rodrigo TX. He gave me a Prodigy track that Tyrone Romero from LRG came up with. The idea was to use the Prodigy track and then use the original sampled track mixed in. Vinny Ponte then helped us mix it together so it seemed like it was one song. The first time I watched the footage with TX and those tracks we knew we found the perfect match.
Marcus is another person that picked a good one. He suggested about five tracks to me. Out of the 5 I picked the C-Bo track and once I played it with his footage I instantly knew it would work perfectly. The rest of the tracks were all trial and error. Eventually we found a perfect track for each persons part.
When you put this together, was there a concern of trying to match the skater/where he’s from?
That was definitely something we were trying to do but didn’t really work out like that. Marcus, Lenny, and Derrick’s part were the only ones that ended up using music from where they are from. The West Coast tracks definitely brought their parts to life. The rest of the soundtrack was mainly East Coast hip hop.
All in all, how involved was Stevie in the soundtrack?
Stevie wasn’t involved as much as I wanted him to but he definitely had a big influence on the style of music we used. I picked his head on tracks without him knowing really. Sometimes we would be chillin and I would play some music and I could tell if he was hyped or not.
Sometimes I would put something on for him to hear and he would tell me to stop playing a track because it was played out. If he liked it we would listen to that track like 3 times. Same thing goes when we were on tour playing music in the van. The team showed that same influence.
Was Jay-Z Stevie’s choice? Did he bring options to the table?
Jay-Z wasn’t Stevie’s choice. He originally wanted to use Meek Mill which was a good choice because of the Philly aspect. The only thing is that Meek Mill raps about coming up in the game. Stevie had already came up a long time ago and is a legend, so it made more sense to use something stronger. When I hear Jay-Z rap I feel like it’s Stevie rapping sometimes. Sounds kind of funny but if you listen to the lyrics of the song in his part you’ll know what I mean. I actually used the instrumental of this track in my first video almost 10 years ago.. So editing with it was already familiar.
The only downside of using this song is that we had to cut out some really good tricks out. We thought the song was that good so we had to make the call. We are planning to drop a deluxe edition of the video next year and you will get to see that footage then.
Any particularly funny/entertaining anecdote from putting together this soundtrack?
There is definitely a couple, haha.. Jack’s track got picked out kind of randomly. I originally wanted to use a soul track and was stumped on a hip hop track to use for him. I brought 5 new songs to review for possibilities for his part to the crew. I had a song that I knew would be perfect but I wasn’t really hyped on the lyrics. I remember playing the songs for Eli Soto and Matt Daughters. I played the N.O.R.E. track for them and tried to skip it kind of fast but once they heard the line “I sneak up in the club” they were sold. It went perfect with the intro of his part so it made sense. There was a little bit of a battle trying to use a different song but at the end of the day it was the best choice and made the part stand out.
Derrick’s song was the last song that got picked out and it was literally at the last second. Me and Derrick originally picked out Kendrick Lamar’s Westside Right on Time. It went really good but we ended up cutting out footage which made the song too long to work with the footage. Definitely panicked a little with finding a replacement.
I had to drive down from LA to SD to edit the rest of the video and knew I had to find a song on the way down. I had a hour and half to do that pretty much. We were on the last couple of days to finish the final edit so the pressure was on… The day before I bought the new Kendrick album and knew there had to be something on there that could work.
When I got in my car I picked a random track off the album and it was the ‘M.A.A.D. CITY FEATURING MC EIHT’ track. The second half of the song came on and instantly knew it was the right one. It never got approved by the crew to use for the video but I listened to the song the entire way to SD and already had it edited in my head. That night I did the edit and everybody was down so it worked perfectly.
Wasn’t there something with Kelan Dadd’s track, too?
Keelan’s song was a hard one to find. The only artist he felt worked with his skating was Kanye West. I tried a bunch of different artist but he was right, it had to be Kanye, so we chose the song “Cold” off of Cruel Summer. The song was real dope so we tried everything we could to make it work. After two minutes into the song the DJ kicks in and starts talking about Chicago the rest of the track. We knew there was no way around it so we had to pick another track. So we met Keelan half way and used a Pusha T song that had Kanye in it called ‘New God Flow’. It ended up working perfectly. The song definitely talked about Keelan’s life in a sense. My favorite part is when it talks about Moses parting ways in the sea and he does the manual trick across the gap. An alias Keelan goes by is Skate Moses so it was a funny coincidence. Anyways, the song worked good and made a classic part. Probably one of my favorite tracks in the video.
Editing dock madness, like it’s 1993 all over again © Matt Daughters