Re: music⎢Huf and puff

Huf in NYC, 1996. Photo © Benjamin Deberdt, who happens to be very much in the process of launching a new bi-monthly mag in France called Pause. More infos soon…


You know how I’m always complaining how good reggae is always under-used in skate videos? And how the worst Sizzla tunes tend to emerge too often -The exception being of course Cardiel’s in Sight Unseen? Well, one that came from far-left field was Althea and Donna’s Uptown Top Ranking, the 1978 top single produced by Joe Gibbs, as heard in Keith Hufnagel’s part in Penal Code 100 A (see the Comments section for Aaron Meza’s interview repost).

In order to know how the one-album barely-pubescent dynamic duo made of Althea Forrest and Donna Reid ended up in the quintessential mid-90s skateboard flick, I asked Keith how this whole deal came about.


Aaron Meza told me that you picked this tune. Had you known it for a long time before?
Keith Hufnagel: Yes I did pick the song and I had been listening to it for a long time before. I bought it from a 4-disc reggae collection called The history of Jamaican Music: Tougher Than tough.
I pretty much never took disk 3 [Natty Sing Hit Songs, 1975-1981] out of my car -where Uptown Top ranking was. This is one of the better reggae compilations, I highly recommend it. I didn’t really think about it until Meza asked me for a song. When he did ask me, I know I wanted to use it right away. That was it. I was set on it.

How did you convince Aaron Meza to use it, as he was reluctant at first?
He told me he wasn’t going to use it and I couldn’t believe it. I think I was just slowly putting it in his head how dope the song was and he finally went for it. The part would have been so different if he didn’t use the song.

Was there any conscious decision behind the fact that it says “Don’t pop no style” (in jamaican patois, “Nah Pop Nah Style”) and the way you skate? Like did you think, “Oh, these lyrics match my skating?” Or was it a coincidence?
I guess it was funny on how it went with the skating. I really just liked the uptone beat of the song. You do not find that in Reggae music much.

What other reggae tunes you could see fit well skateboarding -yours or a skate part in general?
I think reggae is hard. I really love reggae a lot but the beat is slower at times. To me skating needs to be faster and upbeat. So reggae music does not get used much.

What reggae tunes from other parts have you liked over the years?
I can’t remember the name but I know Matt Field had a dope one. It may have been a dance hall song though. [Keith is probably referring to either Horace Andy’s ‘Nice And Easy’ or Sizzla’s ‘Be I Strong‘].


4 Responses to “Re: music⎢Huf and puff”

  1. sebcarayol Says:


    How many videos had you worked on before PC 100 A?
    _ I made an FTC video before that one called “Finally” which is as shitty of a name as Penal Code 100A. Filmed for a few other videos before that too. “Love Child” and some others.

    How were you approached to work on penal code 100 A?
    _ I was filming with James Kelch and he hooked me up with Kent from FTC. It’s all who you know.

    Were there ever music in skate vids that you were stoked on before?
    _ I really liked Mike Vallely’s part and song from Speed Freaks. I liked some of the Powell stuff too. And the first Alien Workshop video had good music.

    Why such a heavy soul oldies influence in PC100A?
    _ I think because that’s what would fit the skaters. They didn’t really listen to punk or fast music. They probably liked hip-hop more, so I thought I’d meet them in the middle.

    What was the process for selecting the tunes? Did the skaters have any input in it?
    _ The only skaters that had input were Mike Carroll and Huf. I don’t think Carroll would ever let someone else pick his song, though he has picked a lot of songs for other people. Like Eric Koston skating to Master P in the Chocolate Tour. Bummer.

    Since having this kind of tunes on video parts was fairly new, were the skaters in it critical of your choices at all?
    _ Yeah, before Penal Code in the first FTC video I had Jeron skating to Mary J. Blige. He seemed pretty hyped on it.

    How come the full Althea and Donna album is so awful?
    _ You know I’ve never heard their album or that song before making the video. Huf was like, “I want to skate to a Reggae song.” And I was just like, “Ahh, man, this is gonna suck!” But when I heard it I liked it.

    Retrospectively, what tunes would you have loved to have in it?
    _ I’m not sure. I was editing the video and was kind of struggling on a couple of songs for people. I didn’t have a song for Scott Johnston or Max Schaaf. I just picked their songs kind of last minute. I wish I would have maybe picked something better for them. All the other songs I knew I wanted to use probably for like six months to a year before the video came out.

    Did you have to pay any rights to the bands back then? If not, have you heard of any of the artists later on?
    _ It’s against video making code to speak or ask about these things. Shame on you Seb.

    Did you and do you still collect music now? if yes what are some of your fav albums?
    _ Most of the music I listen to now could never be used in a video. Joanna Newsom is probably my favorite. She’s the best songwriter since Lil’ Wayne.

  2. El Blint Says:

    Really cool Seb. I remember a very brief period in the 90’s when it was cool to use reggae and at the time I was so hyped on that as I was really into ska and rocksteady at the time. Keenan skated to Desmond Dekker, (and had the board to match, from the Beverly’s record label!), Danny Supa skated to Jimmy Cliff and so did Lavar McBride. I guess we have Cardiel and the Satori/Creation movement left with reggae in skating. Oh yeah and Organika actually put out that pretty legit roots mixtape like 3 years ago. Thanks for the words again Seb!

  3. sebcarayol Says:

    oh yeah, totally forgot that Beverly’s board.

  4. Franck Pierron Says:

    Yo Seb, thanks again for those interviews…we watched those videos over and over again.
    FTC Penal code had great songs…thumbs up to Huf, Carroll and Meza for the musics they picked

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