Words by Frozen in Carbonite
I turned 40 this summer. Eschewing a crazy-ass party, trip or any other type of midlife crisis-type behavior, I kept it mellow and went out to my local™ bar. Street skating over forty is unknown territory, but if you manage to stay fit, there’s what I call the Reggie Miller Effect: one’s physique remains essentially static, but one’s capabilities — whether because of reflexes or vision deteriorating — decline exponentially. It’s all about managing expectations. 360 flips might flip slower than in the past, but maybe one adds backside nosegrind reverts on small ledges to the repertoire. Other summer activities function in a similar manner; one might not be able to make it to OVO Fest, but maybe one could chill at one of those tiny New York hotel pools with a bag of tequila taped to one’s thigh.
This #frame gives one hope heading into the fall A.K.A. skate season. Indeed, while this may be the first S.O.T.S. x V.P.O.T.S. post without a part from an according-to-Hoyle physical release, at press time, we were still digesting the 917 and Traffic vids, plus anticipating the release of Sabotage 5. So with an eye towards hoody season, let’s take a look back at the songs and video parts that fueled summer ’17.
“XO TOUR Llif3” x “Sabotage in Lyon”
Every two generations or so, a song aligns with the national Zeitgeist. Case in point: summer 2017, when a kid from Philadelphia distilled our collective anxiety, anger, or whatever you want to call it re: the current socio-political landscape — a modern era “For What It’s Worth,” if you will. “Push me to the edge / all my friends are dead” is at least as iconic a line as “Hope I die before I get old” — if not moreso.
Fellow Philadelphians, the Sabotage dudes, mitigated the leftover angst from the destruction of their haven by sampling a few of the remaining plazas on Planet Earth, including Lyon’s Hotel de Ville and that one ledge spot with the blocks that looks like Jarmers or some shit. Look to Sabotage 5 to fuckin’ power the fall skate season.
“It’s a Vibe” x “Atlantic Drift Ep. 4 — New York”
Lowkey, 2 Chainz might be one of the most productive rappers in recorded history. “It’s a Vibe,” featuring Ty Dolla $ign, fellow central Virginian Trey Songz, and one-time “evolutionary Sade,” Jhené Aiko, states its purpose right off the bat and succeeds.
At the summer’s apex, Jacob Harris hit us with another collaborative effort notable for the vibe it creates — blike that summer afternoon when you skated a little too long in 100 degree heat and felt like if you don’t leave now and get some food and a post-sesh beer you might just fuckin’ die. That one line at the Hunt’s Point manual pad is an all-timer.
“Despacito” x Shane O’Neill’s “Levels” Part
Over the years, crafting a song that every girl in the club thinks is about them has proven a surefire formula for a Song of the Summer™. “Despacito” facilitates this phenomenon for the following reason: most of them don’t understand the words. I dug it for no other reason than it reminds me of my time working in Perth Amboy — shoutout Exit 10. Maybe the most dominant S.O.T.S. since “Call Me Maybe.”
Similarly, Shane O’Neill proved his dominance IN the realm of tech with this part, which maybe came a out a little early for the cynical S.O.T.Y. media cycle. The robot comments are still funny, but his ledge technique is still conceptual as fuck.
“Magnolia” x Scumco’s “Olympic Demo Reel”
Judging from the “number of speakers blown out”-metric, “Magnolia” killed it this S.O.T.S. season by saluting New Orleans and tapping into that Cash Money turn-of-the-century insanity, like the first time you dropped “Back That Azz Up” at a house party. Philly Santosousso (who also had Ad of the Summer) holds N.O. down in this final part with his own take on the current “dirty spots” style, incorporating a subtle late 90s/early 00s influence. Also, Kyle Nicholson is a national treasure and should have been pro for Habitat in 2009 or some shit.
“Wild Thoughts” x Eggs montage in Avidya
While one can attribute Khaled’s recent mega-success to his status as a living meme, he rose to national prominence as an assembler of talent on such classics as “Holla At Me” and “We Takin’ Over.”
[slowly holds up index finger]
Along the same lines, Kevin Madden has compiled some of the most #relevant Boston footage of the past few years — in The Raw Video and now Avidya. The Eggs montage in the latter encapsulates a typical summer day at one of the last active plazas on Earth.
“Bodak Yellow” x Lizzie Armanto’s “Fire” Part
Rhetorically speaking, is a stronger introduction than “Say, lil’ bitch” even possible? I highly recommend starting all cover letters and college application essays in this manner. Anyway, I first became aware of Cardi B via people at work who would quote her mixtapes and social media content religiously. This song fueled her ascent and was the one track that my kids went the most apeshit to when it came on in the ride.
Lizzie Armanto’s career also hit an apex this spring/summer with that one Thrasher cover. Indeed, counting the imminent release of the new Birdhouse Projects film Saturdays, she has dropped two video parts in six months. I ask you — what young lady in the industry is working as hard as her?
“The Calvin Harris Migos Song” x PJ Ladd’s Tricolor Part
Harris and Ladd both approach their respective crafts in a similar manner: like a frickin’ brain surgeon. Although Ladd resides at the opposite end of the productivity spectrum, this summer, he dropped his first according-to-Hoyle part in about a decade and a half, which I deep-dived into here. Faced with the impossible task of matching the impact of PJLWHL, Ladd delivers some high-quality bicoastal ledgework. And although the new Harris material might not hit as hard as “The Rain,” etc., I can think of no more fitting endorsement than the frat dudes at my pool bumping this track on a bluetooth speaker almost every damn day this summer.
“Unforgettable” x Gino Instagram Part
The French who “pack[ed] four heaters like the top of the stove” may be a thing of the past, but, like “Despacito,” every girl in the club thought this song was about them. The LP wasn’t that bad, either; like who doesn’t get fuckin’ amped when “La Musica De Harry Fraud” drops at the beginning of a record?
Along the same lines, The Gino of Snuff and Trilogy may have moved on to a new phase, but the response to this Instagram part showed how he continues to redefine the concept of grown-ass man street skating.
Smokepurpp “Audi” x “Svampen with Filly and Spangs”
I have no data to support this, but memes are the most effective means of promotion in the modern-day music industry. For example, I first became aware of this track via those memes that compile a bunch of “crazy” video clips with that “glowing eyes” effect whenever the bass drops.
I subsequently blew out the speakers in the minivan.
Along the same lines, I got put on to this clip and, more importantly, the plaza in which it is set, because of the world’s most important Content Management System: the ‘gram.
In spot prOn, as in the regular kind, novelty is key, and this plaza is almost too sick to be a natural urban formation — tons of open space with a few strategically located #straightfuckingledges. Spangs, Almquist, et al. check off all the right boxes: low impact? Check. Ledge-tech? Check. Entire part filmed at one plaza? Check. Just call em’ the Swedish Ledge Mafia.
Honorable Mentions: Mark Del Negro “Welcome to Hopps” part, Major Lazer “Know No Better,” Drake “KMT,” the Jesus/Danny Brady/Howard/Carroll part in The Flare, and every Brian Wenning Instagram clip released from Memorial Day to Labor Day.