Interview by Farran Golding
Collage by Requiem For A Screen
Portrait by Juliet Evangelista
Skate Photo by Mike Heikkila
All roads lead back to Love Park in the latest installment of Five Favorite Parts (plus a stopover in London), with a reminder that skateboarders and their tricks are often at their most magic when they work to tell a vivid story of a specific place, in a specific moment in time ♥
Josh Kalis – Alien Workshop: Photosynthesis (2000)
It’s the textbook, I’m not going to front on that.
There’s a narrated version of this part and he’s talking about the song [“24 Hrs” by Freddie Foxx]. As a kid, that stuck with me because the part had meaning beyond the tricks.
In Philly, we always say “the team is the dream.” Shout out to my man Q, he coined that. As young bucks, we were there for each other. Watching Josh and seeing how he and his homies did it back then amplified how we felt. We wanted to put our own twist on what we saw of how it was back then.
Photosynthesis started to resonate with me around 16/17, then I started watching it every day. Every song, every section, I’d know them by heart. You get bored, you don’t know what to do – you watch that and it makes you want to go skate again. It’s almost the inspiration for my skating. Not 100%, but there are pieces in there that make me want to go do my thing. As a kid, I’d go to LOVE and be like, “Pappalardo skated that ledge with an ankle brace,” so if I was hurt,and wearing one too, I’d be like, “Fuck it, I’m not in that much pain. This is going to look cool.” Little things like that can make you feel like you’re part of something because those before us did it. Having LOVE was literally like being in a video part, skating their spot.
For skaters coming up in Philly – besides my homies and the kids who came up with us – there are heads, like, two years younger than us who never skated LOVE and they’ll say they’re alright with that because they didn’t suffer the loss we did. But I wouldn’t say they don’t carry that vibe because if you skate Muni; there’s the same family-type bond.
Philly don’t change. It just looks different.
Rodrigo TX – éS Footwear: éSpecial (2007)
I guess on the east coast, it was hard to come by a video like éSpecial unless you were in a skate shop. I only knew about éSpecial because it was handed out at the skate shop on DVD as part of a little catalog. It was one of those jawns I’d toss in my bag and forget about, but eventually I watched it and I clung to this part.
He’s not perfect in the way he does stuff — you see him get caught on cracks mid-line — and that was something I could relate to with skating LOVE and Muni. The ground sounds nice but it’s not perfect, and it takes a lot more to skate the spot than just tricks.
Every trick is power. He does a nollie halfcab nosegrind, jumps over the whole ledge, then places it in. The one for me is the line [at 3rd and Army] where he nollies over the white bar, does a kickflip front nose and then a nollie heel on flat at the end. He beasted that. There are random manuals on curbs, like nollie back heel to switch manny, and that’s weird – especially on an angled little pad. But he popped the shit out of it and landed like halfway into the bank.
The Pupeki grind with the flip out, the switch back smith and then the half cab to manual, backside flip out [at Paral·lel] – those three tricks alone are insane, but the way he did them is just too good. I could watch those back to back, every day.
Dylan Sourbeer – Sabotage 4 (2012)
When I was a kid, we all thought Sourbeer was pro. He was the local hero, but he’d laugh that off if he ever heard it. He gets his bread, takes care of his family and he skates.
He’s an older head. We’d skate at LOVE, and I’d see him around, but it wasn’t like we were getting hit up when they were driving out to a spot. So it was cool to see everything he’d done at LOVE and all through downtown, edited together. Taking that in for the first time made me think, “Damn, this is what it is to film a video part.” It was a masterpiece and, to me, skating became more about putting things together, like, “I want this shit to look like art.”
It was also the first time I thought about wanting to be in full-length video with all my friends. Seeing Sourbeer be who he is – a real person putting out what he put out — made me feel like I could do that. It was the same with Kev because he’s around my age.
Even though Kalis is the textbook, this was the modern day approach to doing it. Somebody’s got to write this man a check and put his name on a board.
Kevin Bilyeu – Sabotage 5 – ‘Till It’s Dirt (2017)
The steez, the tricks. Man, he’s skating a spot that ain’t hardly there anymore. Rest in peace to our home. Kev was doing tech shit at a young age that no one was doing in Philly. All these back tails, the switch frontside flip over the can – it’s crazy. I got to see a lot go down with my own eyes. He was working his ass off for that part.
‘Till It’s Dirt was pretty much the boys skating through the mess, going through the fences. Watching it at the premiere was sad — it was like watching your house get burned down again and again — but at the same time, we were watching our history. We got to feel those moments again but that first time was shocking, amazing, hurtful. It was every feeling you can imagine at once.
That was Kevin’s first part for the world to see. He’s my dog. To see my friend blow up and put out his best work, I was really happy for him. We didn’t really notice each other until we were maybe 14 or 15. We were a bunch of broke-ass kids skating LOVE, the young folks, so we flocked together. We met on The Levels actually, I watched him do a line with a frontside flip up then a switch hardflip back tail and I was like, “How’d you do that shit?”
The switch crook then switch nosegrind fakie flip [at Muni] is the best line in the part. I don’t know why it’s so meaningful to me, but you’ve got City Hall in the back and the clock is glowing.
In a way, Kev skating over the can correlates to Josh Kalis in Photosynthesis. You can feel the vibe and essence of that part when you watch this, in that they’re not just doing tricks, they’re skating their home.
Lucien Clarke – Palace: Palasonic (2017)
[Part begins at 31:00 mark.]
All the people I’ve talked about are pretty similar in a way, because they do really long lines. I love seeing someone push, to see what’s going on around them, to take in the atmosphere and to feel like I’m watching it from behind the person with the camera, instead of through the camera lens. Parts like this, I see myself at the spot watching the homie.
It stands out because he’s skating his home and it isn’t there anymore. He’s putting his all into this spot he loves and I really connect with that, even though I didn’t get to film my best stuff at LOVE when it was on the verge of being over. It reminds me of Kev: going out every day, knowing you’ve got to do your thing, making the best of what you’ve got before it’s gone. Hammering the knobs took me back to being a little kid and watching Penny [Brian Panebianco, Sabotage filmer] take the knobs off at City Hall and LOVE.
Even though it’s probably the most memorable, the Victoria Benches section isn’t even my favorite. When the song switches, it’s so grimy and he starts doing gnarly tricks — that shit’s hard. I like that it’s two songs long, kind of three. It felt like a mixtape.
“This is my city. I’m going to show you how I get down.”
The tre flip down the ten-stair in the orange sweatsuit is sick, I love wearing matching stuff. Then,, the line at Southbank where he does a fakie nosegrind, switch flips on flat, turns around and backside nollies the set over a barrier – it’s not even the line, it’s the turnaround at the back. That shit just resonates cool. When someone picks their pants up, slips on a crack and does a little jump or bops before a v-heel, it’s the little things like that and that shit Lucien did was smooth.
When he’s wearing that leather jacket, it’s like Andrew Reynolds skating the LOVE gap. First of all, wearing a leather jacket is heavy as fuck, but if you’re filming lines? Damn.
Nollie noseblunt at Southbank, I look at that all the time back in Philly, because I’ve got the book, and that sequence is fucking ill. The graffiti and everything, it’s timeless. I watch that shit everyday.
Honorable Mention: Kevin Taylor – Aesthetics: Ryde or Die Vol. 1 (2003)
KT’s the god, that man raised me. His Aesthetics part is heavy and that was one of the first times I saw a Black skater jumping on rails. As a kid, he used to dress up as Santa Claus and come to Philly with Axion. He’d give out shoes to everybody, give us boards, help us out, give advice. He took me to my first hip-hop night too. I had to shout out KT as a person and one of the greatest skateboarders of all time.
Previously: Una Farrar, Chris Jones, Mason Silva, Beatrice Domond, Mark Suciu, Justin Henry, Jarne Verbruggen, Breana Geering, Sage Elsesser, Bobby Worrest, Nik Stain, Anthony Van Engelen, Dom Henry, Bing Liu, Andrew Reynolds, Cyrus Bennett, Jacob Harris, Jamal Smith, Paul Rodriguez, Gilbert Crockett, Ben Chadourne, Tom Knox, Louie Lopez, The Chrome Ball Incident, The Bunt, Lacey Baker, Andrew Allen, GX1000, Brian Anderson, Gino Iannucci, Josh Kalis, Sean Pablo, Wade Desarmo, Chris Milic, Chad Muska, Hjalte Halberg, Danny Brady, Bill Strobeck, Aaron Herrington, Jerry Hsu, Brad Cromer, Brandon Westgate, Jim Greco, Jake Johnson, Scott Johnston, Josh Stewart, Eric Koston, Karl Watson, Josh Friedberg, John Cardiel, Pontus Alv, Alex Olson, Jahmal Williams
Perfect Sixers #1 in the east content
sw tre bump to can is one of the most legendary tricks ever done. Kevin and Jahmir are two young dudes on their way to winning multiple championships – they remind me of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Honestly, Jahmir’s enthusiasm for skating is good but his skating isn’t that appealing to watch. His only strengths are ledges and flat ground – which he isn’t that good at, and his style looks like he tries too hard.
Dude is nothing compared to someone like Ishod, and other Philly guys. Jahmir is just a hyperactive Instagram user and his life revolves around the app.
Hater alert ^^
^ no he spittin facts. jahmr does foot plants on transition and most of his footage is mediocre (ex: switch noseblunt on pyramid ledge was straight on). didn’t even come close to sticking tre flip down love gap when he tried it. meanwhile ishod switch flipped love gap at age 16-17 in a few tries – sry ishod prolly set the bar too high for young black skaters from philly and jahmir is ok but def just an Instagram skater
lmao at abyone’s measure being ‘he’s not as good as ishod’
skateboarding wouldn’t exist if our judge of skill for everyone else is he’s not as good as ishod
hater alert 4real
Bunch of dickheads in the comments. Y’all are all fried and need to keep your trash opinions to yourself. Your idea of the bar is set so high that you’re comparing pros to ams. You don’t know the hard work and dedication he’s put in to get where he is. He deserves every bit of shine. Keep pushing Jah
LMAO these comments are so good and lacking so much knowledge…. imagine judging a skaters current abilities based on watching them not land a tre flip when they were deadass 14 years old ahahahahaha try hard comment also mad funny…. how do you expect to get better at this shit? Thats probably why you suck.
Whoever is hating is kind of right. Jahmirs style does kind of look like he tries too hard but he still alriggt at ledges. However watching him skate transition does make me cringe
He on Palace and you’re in the comments section
He talking about the game and the history of one of the greatest skatespots in the world and you talking about footplants.
I mean, listen: you talking about footplants…He know what’s important. He do, he honestly do. But you talking about footplants, man. What are we talking about? Footplants? We’re talking about footplants, man?
We’re talking about footplants. We’re talking about footplants. We ain’t talking about the game. We’re talking about footplants, man.
Dope selection! Bilyeu part and all others so sick! Strange youtube bar at the bottom during that ss fs flip though
Yo all that hating is really sad we shouldnt be hating in the skate community. Y’all have no idea how skilled Jahmir is. went fro És to DC from DGK to Palace. These facts say it all already. He’s probably sponsered by his favorite brands. Thats a dream come true already when you’re from West Philly. I remember when i saw the first és edit with Jahmir skating Muni. Just raw tech ledge tricks in cold philly nights and it looks fuckin cold out there at night. Then I went to check on his insta and the latest clip was him doing a flip back five-o revert on a muni ledge with the dc lynx og wich was about to be reissued at that moment and he still had the dc patch on floating around while doing that perfect looking trick. I remember saying to myself thats really looking good with the floating patch and how them shoes looked good on that 7.75 board. Man from that day on i never stopped checking on this guy and hes just progressing continuously. Skating for dgk being born and raised in philly is already a big achievement from my point of view but then from es to dc and now from dgk to palace… crazy list of sponsors venture artform even sportsclass i dont know if hes still on though but they all match perfectly with jahmir´s style. Love how you stand and repsresent your city. Gotta say that Philly is producing crazy skilled skaters that do sw back nosegrinds just to warm up. Sky is the Limit JAH keep pushing and blessing us with these crazy precise switch skills.
just to chime in here, I don’t like Jahmir’s style. It’s almost too precise, nothing refreshing or different about it, and I can’t remember ever being like ‘wow he tweaked that one” or “i can’t believe he thought of that trick”
That said, the guy can skate, but it just isn’t a kind of skating that I can enjoy, though I think most people actually do like his style. I hope he brings some fire in the future though
lmao y’all are really trippin jahmir so good wtf?
I understand dissecting one’s skateboarding but freal, shit all adds up. The parts n everything. Rather watch him skate than some other gimmicky bullshit. keep keeping it real
It’s really disappointing to hear so many people talking shit about Jahmir. Shitting on him after he gets a QS feature is sad. Skateboarding is subjective. If he is not doing kook shit then leave the man alone. Please stop the skate on skate hate.
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