In recent years, camo pants have stood as a self-aware, “throwback” foray into the days when skating was “good.” Peruse the comments section of any YouTube page for a skate part released in 1993 through 1998, and you will encounter endless older individuals claiming that this was an era when “skating was good” or that the feats at hand were “real skateboarding.” Something unique to the fashions displayed within these “real” and “good” videos, is the presence of camouflage pants, a garment that has been outmoded in the past decade, as factory brand chinos and plain old Levi’s (and occasionally more expensive, yet still similar denim counterparts) have become the go-to for skate pants. Girls aren’t really into dudes in camo pants (unless they are engaged to someone in the Armed Forces), and liberal society tends to frown upon you for stepping into Whole Foods to hit the buffet after skating while wearing fashion fatigues at the time of an unpopular war.
Yet in the modern day, skaters have been known to forfeit whatever social acceptance comes with not wearing camo pants, in addition to many potential glances from the opposite sex, solely so they could “keep it real,” insofar as the definition of “real” is derived from the aforementioned YouTube pages.
A similar phenomenon exists within the YouTube-ized world of 1990s rap music, particularly east coast rap music. “Yo Nas was 18 when Illmatic came out, Soulja Boy is 18 and stupid!” “Yo this is when rap talked about real shit, not that Gucci Mane shit on the radio today!” Look at the “real” videos for the “real” songs where these comments appear. What do you see? That’s right, camo pants.
In tracing the path by which camo pants are found on the legs of skaters in 2011, a safe assumption would be that they are a means to channel skateboard heroes of the 1990s, who were in turn, channeling their rapping heroes of the 1990s, as seen in Black Moon and Smif-N-Wessun videos. “Dat real hip-hop” -> “Dat real skateboarding.” Up until now, the occasional modern revitalization of camo has been kept within the constraints of “real.”
While listening to much of Lil’ Wayne’s late-2010/2011 material, you will encounter awkward phrases where he basks in his fondness for Vans, or the fact that he is “Dressed like a skater.” Rappers adopting what they perceive to be skateboard-related superficialities is nothing new, but Weezy recently broke new ground as he is seen in the remix for “Fire Flame” video adorning the most sacred piece of attire in skateboarding: Camo pants. Given a hasty survey of (yet again) YouTube comments, Wayne is in the upper portion of artists supposedly “ruining” modern music, along with Justin Bieber, Soulja Boy, and QS favorite, Lady Gaga, so it’s going to be hard to imagine how skaters continue any future attempts at “bringing dat real back” via fatigues. Ignoring this new development will only make you look like you’re channeling Wayne, when you may have been going for Josh Kalis in The Sixth Sense, or Anthony Correa in Mixtape.
A well-researched prediction of ours is that hockey jerseys may soon embody the space previously occupied by camo pants, as they were equally prominent within early-to-mid-90s rap videos, yet seldom seen on any skaters back then. Nineties skaters probably grew so complacent with the pants, that finding a companion piece never crossed their minds. But since the golden (or brown-tan-black-and-green) grail has been soiled by Wayne and his purported ties to that which is not “real,” the time has come to find a “mad real” alternative.
What are you going to wear when you hold it down for “dat real shit,” though?
Not pertinent to skateboarding, but are Scottish people and the 2003 version of Cam’ron also going to be infuriated with an extremely polarizing figure like Lil’ Wayne adopting their respective plaid pants and pink attire?