All The Streets Are Silent

Big generalisation there, and wrong in too many cases to fly I think. Yeah prominent ‘legit’ characters punch above their weight but that goes for both hip-hop and skateboarding it’s not unique to skateboarding.

I do think it’s true that skateboarding latched onto hip-hop, rather than vice-versa, but in the 90s post-grunge era hip-hop was by far the most exciting music scene because it was so creative and innovative. Electronic music was good for getting off your tits to, but for skating and chilling it was hip-hop all day long. I still love hip-hop and Zoo York Mix Tape was so sick when it came out that I’m stoked to see this film coming out.

Maybe the symbiotic relationship between skating and hiphop isn’t even part of this film, so this might not be relevant but there was never a lot of crossover with skaters making it into the hiphop industry as I recall? Could be wrong and maybe the film will cover this, but I hope it is the authentic story and not a romanticised version.

Of course not. I was wondering how the documentary touched upon how white, richer kids used hip-hop culture to their own ends in skateboarding and whether it take a critical view of this. It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just an interesting dimension to it. Were rappers down for it? Did Busta Rhymes care he was in a skate video?

Skateboarders were the first people to put on a hip-hop night Downtown, at Mars. I don’t think it’s “latching onto”, I think it’s ‘being into’.

This started out as a documentary on Mixtape, but became this much bigger thing. As is appropriate.

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Totally, but I think it’s this lazy notion of a ‘melting pot’ that needs challenging. Who has the social and economic capital to make a company out of or profit from NY culture? More often, the whiter, richer people.

Fair enough I only said ‘latched onto’ to refer to Dent Face’s words. That’s what I was trying to say too…skateboarders were into it.

Fair point. What’s the difference?

(I’m marking first year Uni essays at the minute, sorry everyone!)

Curious about how you determine ‘used’ here. Skating to hip-hop tracks? Wearing Polo? Generally enjoying hip-hop? What’s wrong with that?

Do you reckon white people listening to hip-hop is cultural appropriation or something? Should Eli have used white rock music in that video? Or maybe just for the white guys?


The former makes it sound a lot like you’re suggesting these people wanted to exploit hip-hop culture, rather than were/are fans.


Look forward to seeing it, footage looks bangin


Yes, there is an element of cultural appropriation going on. I don’t think it’s bad thing in this instance. But you have a middle-class kid secretly(?) videotaping various rappers at a college radio show and then using it in a skate video. Zoo York also build their whole aesthetic around graffiti and hip-hop. Which is again a good, interesting thing, but Gesner was able to do this because of his connections and social capital he had. It would be interesting to focus on his role as a cultural mediator in all this and whether his background gave him an advantage. Maybe the doc does all this, I should probably just shut up and watch it.

I feel similar about the Beastie Boys, who I love. They were all from liberal, middle-class New York backgrounds. They could immerse themselves in NY music and youth culture when they were adolescents with less risk than people from less privileged backgrounds.

Also I think there’s a big element of cultural appropriation to skate culture generally. Companies steal logos from whichever big company but also will use music without proper attribution etc. It’s what makes skating interesting.

Definitely not secret, and the rappers signed it all off at the time. That was Stretch and Bobbito’s college radio show, and where the skaters would hang out and there’s been so much said for so many years about how the rappers were so into what skateboarders were doing that nobody needs to go into it here.

Eli’s ‘connections’ were his friends, and his ‘social capital’ was his enthusiasm. He’s also said many times, including here, about how his liberal arty background gave him a massive head start with everything he wanted to do in his life.


You describe these things in a very clinical way. Not saying these social constructs don’t exist but when people are young they don’t walk around conscious of it the whole time. You are your environment. The LES of NY embodies this. I get what you’re saying but you put it across in a very stark way that doesn’t match up with the reality of my experiences in the 80’s and 90’s. The concept of those Stretch & Bob shows being ’ secretly ’ filmed by a white person is ridiculous. Don’t be so hard on whitey


Stretch and Bob’s show being secretly filmed as some covert act of cultural appropriation is a hilarious thought. They used the same/similar footage in their own documentary about the show, which you should also watch.


Stretch is a white dude from the Upper East Side


S+B actually used footage from Mixtape, haha

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I got into Hip Hop via skating and smoking weed. For me Mixtape was that ‘fuck yes!’ moment when two of my favourite things ever were meshed into a single video. And it was fucking ace. And I could do the third fave thing whilst watching it (smoking btw).


Trying not to join this squewed debate. All i remember hearing was that a couple of the rappers were not stoked on footage of them freestyling being used in a skate video and thus sent Zoo the cease and desist.

In hindsight, Mixtape is an important artefact both for skateboarding and Hip Hop. If anything, Ghostface whipping his fresh Criminology lyrics out the stash is pretty epic. He had good handwriting too.

Pretty sure that didn’t happen, they all knew each other.

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I thought Mixtape didn’t get a re-release due to the difficulty with, or problems that could arise from clearing or not clearing samples used in the instrumentals that were freestyled over. I could be wrong though.

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Yeah, exactly. Even some split-second, pitched-up, barely-audible sample in the footage needed cleared. That’s all from the original publisher though, and obviously not Busta or Meth or whoever.

Same issue with ATSAS, which led to Large Prof remaking a lot of Illmatic without samples, with real instruments.


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