Words by Frozen in Carbonite
Early this summer, Hulu released a Rick James documentary — a tour de force that I cannot recommend highly enough. In addition to the “trip the fuck out” moment of James being in a band with Neil Young, the film features a number of “reenactments” using 3D computer animation. These reenactments depict some really wild shit, including, yes, a coke-fueled orgy.
You know — what summer 2021 was supposed to have been!
Of course, as with any event in which everyone is trying really fucking hard to have fun, summer 2021 ended up mid at best — for me, at least. Maybe this coincided with my recent (almost seven months at press time!) sobriety. I’ll still go out, vibe out, and get some wings or whatever; I feel like a jackass hanging out at a bar and not spending money. However, two advantages of being sober in Da Club stand out: A) improved end-of-night decision making capabilities, and B) you get to see the play-by-play of people starting to slur their speech, fall down, get carried out, thrown in an Uber, all that shit.
ANYWAY, these are the tracks that rang out as I edged closer and closer to “old dude in the club” territory and the parts that powered the sessions at my neighborhood curb and schoolyard.
I’m like Daewon, baby. Keep it local.
Drake f/ Lil Baby: “Want and Needs” x Kevin Augustine’s Who Leg Part
At this point, it’s an incontrovertible law of the universe that summer ain’t summer without a Drake (more re: “the boy” later) banger. “I probably should go to Yeshiva / We went to Ibiza” is almost too in my wheelhouse.
Augustine, the latest in the storied line of District plaza technicians, serves Cali-level ledge tricks on the coolest-looking spot in the nation. One question, however, remains: How does he do all that flip-in-flip-out shit on that rounded-ass main ledge? The track accentuates Augustine’s precision; because what does one need after all besides some flatground, straight fucking ledges, and the bros?
City Girls: “Twerkulator” x Patrick Zentgraf’s “Cuanto Duele” Part
It was bubbling up from beneath as far back as March. Getting louder and louder like an approaching Roman army or some shit.
It’s time for the Twerkulator.
It’s time for the Twerkulator.
It’s time for the Twerkulator.
Even though summer 2021 lacked a Guetta/Tiesto Euro BANGER, the City Girls’ interpolation “Planet Rock” by way of “Trans-Europe Express” injected some Euro into the beginning-of-summer mania.
Along the same lines, Zentgraf’s latest offering follows up his full street part in last year’s “Call Waiting.” While the latter primarily featured footage from the Big Trip To California, “Cuanto Duele” depicts Primitive’s newest Euro Ledge Assassin on his home turf: the familiar ledges and banks of Barcelona, and Germany’s austere grey plazas.
DJ Khaled f/ Lil Baby & Lil Durk: “Every Chance I Get” x Kevin Bilyeu’s DGK Part
Is it time for mid-00’s nostalgia yet? Writing this segment sent me down a wormhole headlined by “We Takin’ Over” and the Rick Ross “Speedin’” video. You know — the one when he jumps off a bridge rather than present license and registration to a police officer. Can’t blame him though.
ANYWAY, the players rotate, but the vibe remains the same. As the quarterback of the new Philadelphia plaza movement, Bilyeu bookended the summer with his “DGK” pro part and bangers in the DC x Sabotage vid, powered by the most rapid-fire switch flick in the biz. As evidenced on their number one album The Voice of the Heroes, Durk and Baby’s chemistry is undeniable, as is the fruitful partnership of Brian Panebianco & Bilyeu. Philadelphia, New York, Houston, DC, Milan — “the kid is takin’ over, one city at a time” [slowly raised index finger].
The Weeknd: “Take My Breath” x Brian Reid’s Grand Collection Part
Drake, whom we mentioned earlier in this feature, spent the tail end of the summer battling it out with Kanye West for the title of King of the Zeitgeist or some shit. As the homie Willy Staley astutely observed, Kanye and Drake occupy both poles of the millennial self-image: “I’m a genius — everyone look at ME! Wait, don’t look at me!” and “I’m swimming in women yet I am neurotic as fuck.” Furthermore, if one observes his video output (such as his recent “visual” with Future), Drake aspires to be a shticky borscht-belt comedian, who is also swimming in women.
A rap David Lee Roth, if you will.
However, the Twitterverse left out a key figure from this discourse: the Weeknd.
If the girls in Drake’s and Abel’s compositions exist in the same universe, their approaches diametrically oppose each other. Drake is over here thinking, as on the new album, “I would have texted you, but you were probably courtside.”
Abel doesn’t give a fuck that she’s courtside, and he’s not going to text her. He doesn’t text anybody. Texting isn’t in his repertoire. He’s too busy sitting in a dark room scribbling lyrics on a yellow legal pad or some shit.
Drake will knock a couple back with the boys; for Abel, the drank, drugs and women are a means to an end — to fill the void within, reach some modicum of transcendence. Real nihilistic Gen X-type shit.
ANYWAY, around the beginning of August, Abel dropped “Take My Breath,” which is peak upbeat Abel and catchier than anything off CLB. The Euro vibes would complement Reid’s effortless assault on the ledges and low-impact rails of midtown/downtown/wherever NYC, not to mention the most authoritative kickflip backside noseblunt since… Tim Gavin?
Reid also dropped a banger in Tim Savage’s Grace full-length, which brings us to:
Cochise & $NOT: “Tell ‘Em” x Sean Evans’ Grace Part
FROM THE TOP OF THE KEY FOR 3 — VILLAIN.
Utilizing the above-quoted De La f/ MF DOOM track stands as one of the most inspired music decisions in recent memory. As the Boston Ledge Technicians’ presumptive number-one draft pick, Evans ventures out of Eggs territory to do battle with Boston’s moderate impact rails, ledges and bump-to-bars, including a frontside bluntslide involving a passive-aggressive civilian.
Just as Evans’ part signals his arrival to the majors, “Tell Em,” which dropped around the beginning of June, served as a call to arms for the upcoming humid, hazy summer vibes.
Olivia Rodrigo “Good 4 U” x Joey O’Brien’s “[Untitled] 005” Part
A song this far out of my demographic has to be pretty fucking ubiquitous to pop up on my radar. Like most inescapable S.O.T.S’s, I mostly heard it while driving around. Catchy tune!
Apparently, the lawyers thought so as well, because they got a hold of it and gave Paramore some of the publishing, because it’s so similar to that one song.
More mid-00s nostalgia! Maybe someone will rip-off AFI next?
ANYWAY, when one considers the classic video parts of yesteryear, one commonality appears: a catchy-as-fuck-tune that stays in one’s head all damn day.
“A Whole Lot Less” from Hokus Pokus, “Weakness” (the “Rock Around The Clock” of catchy skate vid music) from that Powell vid, “Grey Cell Green,” “Whoa,” I could go on all day.
Out of all the video offerings this summer, O’Brien and Mulhern’s stood out as a throwback of sorts to the aforementioned parts: a ten-minute epic, in the Gilgamesh sense of the word.
O’Brien has an out of body experience here, unlocking a fourth dimension at Muni via a bigspin on the rail/wall thing on the side, and remastering the Trenton rail with an….alley-oop 180 nosegrind(?). This is Barcelona-level tech on the northeast’s most rarified crust and plazas; the part deserves to stand the test of time and retain some space in our A.D.D-addled collective mind.
One final note: I’d have to edit it so that “like a damn sociopath” hits at the same time as the double-kink gap to nosegrind.