In 2006, rap came of a certain age. It was the ten-year anniversary of Jay-Z’s first album, and he celebrated it by performing the entire thing in a highly publicized Radio City Music Hall show. Rap had enough longevity and had resisted enough fads to reach a level where some of its best acts never had to record a new song again — and they’d still be able to sell out venues for the remainder of their careers. (Fwiw, Jay was “retired” at this moment.) Our culture already accepted this from the Stevie Wonders, Aretha Franklins and Billy Joels, but it was around this point that hip-hop made the turn. Jay, Kanye and Wayne can call it quits on making new music today, and still pull a Barclays Center crowd in 2039 by giving the people what they want.
And no, this isn’t typically a space for pioneers, who often get left behind, having made all the rookie mistakes so that the next generation can avoid those errors on the way to goat-level ticket sales.
A similar thing seems to be happening in the grown ‘n still ripping continent of skateboarding. Since maybe around when Pretty Sweet came out, reverberations from the “people just wanna see you skate!” crowd have echoed towards any beloved pro old enough to have once released a part on a VHS tape. Except skateboarding is a young, innovative thing — it makes sense that those pros would feel a bit self conscious and shy away from the screen in favor of younger, hungrier teammates.
But sometimes, you don’t want the new, experimental shit that the kids are on; you need the comfort of a well-worn classic that you know the words to. Instagram has been especially great in amplifying such calls from P.J.W.S.Y.S. crowd. As a result, those still-active pros are learning about the iridescence of the tricks they filmed in yesteryear, and those tricks’ remarkable ability to tug at our heartstrings.
The crowds are going wild for Kalis’ most iconic tre revisited 20 years later, Chico showing off the new fence at the spot from his Mouse opener, and Zered contending with 16 years of skateboard erosion at the P.S. 6 ledges. (It should be noted that revisitations of old tricks are as dependent on the shape of the spot itself as the skater’s body.)
Much has been said about “relatable skateboarding” on the pages of this website, so it’s ironic that these feats from the hardcopy skate video days find themselves at an endearing full circle. They were ooh-d and ahh-d for their never-been-done-ness decades ago, but now, when revisited by the skater after they’ve accumulated a few wrinkles, they’re appraised for their still-got-it-ness — which anybody could relate to. If a 43-year-old Josh Kalis can re-do an ender that he filmed when Bill Clinton was president, there’s no reason that we shouldn’t be out there reminding ourselves that we can still 360 flip over a sewer cap ;)
Each new-old clip is an opportunity for all of us to feel young again, just like hearing that song from high school.
Or some shit like that ♥
(And before anyone chimes in with a “Daewon did it,” please keep in mind that these thoughts are about actual humans and not the guy who is going to be better at skating thirty years from now than whoever ends up winning S.O.T.Y. 2019.)