Shawty Lo died in a car crash early yesterday morning. No, Lo has no place in the canon of skate video music supervision. In fact, he’s exactly the sort of artist whose music geriatric skater types will insist you are using “ironically” in YouTube comments.
Quartersnacks has often utilized a #musicsupervision approach akin to a video like Trilogy: a 1996 video full of songs released in 1996, mirroring what the people involved in making it were actually listening to during the time. For that same reason, there has always been a special joy in major videos using songs that soundtracked a summer, or helped us power through a winter. I had an ear-to-ear smile on my face the second I heard the “I Love It” beat at the start of Biebel’s Fully Flared section for the first time. Even in those middle school years when RJD2 was cool, there was something validating about hearing it in Mosaic.
That same joy of skate videos using songs that pushpin memories into your mind doesn’t exist anymore. A mixtape will come out, and by the end of the week, there are three Insta clips to songs off it, and at least one new video in your YouTube subscription feed using the same tune for a trip clip. Nobody is going to skate to “Brocolli” in a major video next year, and if someone does, who cares.
It was the the start of 2008, and Jeezy hadn’t released an album in over a year. This was when he was at the height of his powers — the most effective motivational speaker on a desperate planet approaching a recession, and in need of a spark. To hold us over, he dropped Ice Cream Man Part 2, which included the remix to Shawty Lo’s “Dey Know.” The regular version was everywhere at that point: the horns were infectious, and the initial beat drop is the sonic equivalent of when the ball swishes through the hoop for the win at the buzzer. The remix gave it a second life, soundtracking every skate trip car ride that spring, and essential at the parties that we were able to sneak into.
Most skaters in 2008 didn’t take the Trilogy soundtracking approach. They’d rather edit to a Big L song, or a remix of a Big L song, or a remix of a remix of a Big L song remixed by a guy who specializes in remixing Big L songs. Someone skating to “Dey Know” in the year it peaked would’ve been massive; it’s the perfect fit for the second part of a video. In 2009, it would’ve been cool. Nobody skated to it until 2013.
Theotis’ part in the Shake Junt video isn’t particularly seminal or even well-edited. It looks like they slapped it together with what they had, but it’s the only thing I remember from that video. It made me remember those spring night drives to skate the Bridgeport ledges, and those nights skating midtown with the “Dey Know” remix on the iPod. Hearing those horns over any sort of skating gave me the same feeling of first hearing “I Love It” in Biebel’s part, even if Theotis’ part in the chicken bone video was nowhere near the generation-defining event Lakai’s was.
There hasn’t been as profound of a moment for one of those songs that encapsulates an entire season in much the same way since — probably because they only muffle under skate noises from iPhone speakers now, 60 seconds at a time.
R.I.P. Shawty Lo. Big up…to all my haters.