Board Bangers Interview
|Next Project:||The World Ain't Ready For This|
|Website:||Board Bangers's Website|
In 1988 DJ Jazzy Jeff & The Fresh Prince released their hit single, “Parents Just Don’t Understand.” While the root of rap music has stayed the same for the past twenty years, the trends within the culture are forever evolving.
Big gold chains (Slick Rick), Adidas sneakers with no lacers (Run DMC) and sun glasses with a name written in white out (Soulja Boy) are just a few of the many stylistic fads that have entered the industry. Wheres fashion statements tend to come and go, accessories have a longer lasting effect.
Thus, welcome Long Beach skateboard crew, the Board Bangers. While skateboarding and hip-hop traditionally have not mixed, artists such as Lupe Fiasco and Pharrell Williams have attempted to help bridge the gap over the past few years.
During an interview with DJBooth’s DJ “Z,” the Board Bangers’ Day Day, Sk8board D, Lil Fean, Dymond, and D Mac explain what it takes to join their skate crew, how they were able to turn the Meow Mix jingle into a highly requested club song and why the merger of skateboarding and rap music can be an international sensation.
Listen to the Interview
Board Bangers Interview Transcription
DJ Booth: What’s goin’ on ya’ll? It’s your boy “Z,” doin’ it real big, and joining me inside the DJ Booth are a group of California teens who are seamlessly transitioning hip hop music and the skateboard culture into one and the same. Please welcome Day Day, Sk8board D, Lil Fean, Dymond, and D Mac of the Board Bangers, everybody, what’s up?
Board Bangers: What’s up?
DJ Booth: In order for someone to join the Board Bangers crew, they need to be able to both skateboard and rap extremely well, am I correct?
BB: Yeah, and they gotta have their swagger tight, they gotta be up to par.
DJ Booth: Okay, so ‘swagger?’
BB: Being yourself but pushing it to the limit, man. Trying to do it big.
DJ Booth: What if someone is a really great MC and they love to skateboard, but their board work isn’t the greatest? Does your crew offer lessons?
BB: Everybody can skate on different levels. There are some people who have higher skills than others but we all work together as a team, it’s just a learning thing. You have to learn.
BB: You learn better by skating because we skate [on] every stop before a show.
DJ Booth: Personally, I love to karaoke and I’m awesome at Tony Hawk for PS2. So, is there any hope for me to join the Board Bangers Crew?
BB: Yeah, just keep doin’ what you doin’ and DJ “Z” could be the next member of the Board Bangers Crew. It’s basically about bein’ yourself. Skateboardin’ is different, it’s a really big culture, but a lot of different skateboarders have a lot of different stories. We’re just really addin’ up people’s stories and what they go through and takin’ it out on the skateboard. That’s what we’re promotin’ around the world to the youth.
DJ Booth: From what I understand, the design on the bottom of a board is a reflection of that rider’s personality. So, what do each of you have on the bottom of your boards?
BB: Long Beach! The LB Symbol. That’s where we all came from so…
BB: It really doesn’t matter what’s on the bottom of your board, it’s you on top of it, flippin’ it around.
DJ Booth: The hip hop culture has really fused its style with numerous fads over the years. Some catch on and some do not. How can skateboarding and rap mix so that it isn’t just a regional sensation?
BB: Our movement is exactly us: the skate movement, the rap movement, we’re universal with our movement! We’ve got an album with music videos for every song, we’re showin’ people the movement is not just West Coast, it’s not just East Coast or Down South, it’s for everyone to catch on and really be a part of.
DJ Booth: Notable artists such as Pharrell Williams and Lupe’ Fiasco have both tried to blend their love for skateboarding into hip hop. Lupe’ is from my hometown of Chicago and I can tell you first hand that the combination is not as popular as some people believe. Is there a certain hump that fans must get over in order to appreciate what you’re doing?
BB: That certain ‘hump’ is actually skating. A lot of people these days are getting big off the skate movement by changing their style. We got a skate crew, we’re really skating, ya’ll see it on the documentary. Everywhere we go we’ll skate. Once fans hear the music, they’re going to appreciate the movement a lot.
DJ Booth: Do you think people will figure out that you’re not just some skaters walking around with boards? I think people have a perception that you guys are talking about skateboarding, but you’re not really living the lifestyle.
BB: When you see our music videos, go to our website, you can see for yourself. But at the same time we have to show people in person. A lot of people, they fake it. Like I said, everyone is on different stages, different levels, but we all really do skate.
BB: For us it’s more of an activity, it’s more fun. So when we skateboard we don’t really say that we skateboard; we just do it out of the passion. [In] Hip hop right now, it is really so hard for a new trend to come, because people are so listening to the past and it’s hard for them to open their hearts to a new thing. How we gonna do it is we’re gonna push it to them and see if they like it or not. That’s why we go out on tours and do what we gotta do. On stage we’re actually skating while rapping our songs.
DJ Booth: You were talking about an image there; I want to go off of that. Skateboarders and those who listen to punk music stereotypically have been labeled ‘rebellious’ or ‘lazy’. How have you guys seen your image change, not just in your area, but wherever you’ve toured?
BB: When we all started, normal skaters in our neighborhood [were] white. But we were all black skaters, at the same time the schools that we went to, it was hard for us to even skateboard, or to even carry our skateboards because the other people at our schools were laughin’ at us. We took that [a] responsibility to change it and nowadays in 2007 you can see kids goin’ to school with their skateboards. We just changin’ it around, tryin’ to do what we do, make everything positive at the end of the day.
DJ Booth: The title of your debut album is ‘The World Ain’t Ready For This’. I have personally heard hundreds of artists tell me that that is the case about their music. So, what are the Board Bangers offering that will truly make the axis on which the world spins begin to stop when your music is played?
BB: It’s a whole new form of hip hop. It’s clean, it’s for the youth, it’s for the older crowd. We got our songs that go from the club to those ghetto songs to just feel good music. It’s a new form of hip hop, it’s from the West Coast and it’s well rhymed and really universal. They can check out the CD online at boardbangers.tv, they can pre-order the album and it’ll be shipped on the street date. I hope the world understands that it’s a movement we’re pushin’ straight from the heart and we [been] doin’ it even before money was even an issue (even though it’s not really the issue,) it’s what we do, so check it out at boardbangers.tv.
DJ Booth: Well, it seems like you guys have got the marketing thing down. That’s great, a lot of people who have been established in this industry for 20 years don’t have that down.
BB: [enthusiastic laughter]
DJ Booth: The popular single that radio stations are really starting to pick up and blast out is called, “Cause the Beat’s Hot.” With ring tone sales accounting for the largest increase in music purchases nationwide, will your music be different and make consumers want to purchase a full length album?
BB: They’re gonna wanna purchase the album, not only to listen to music to hear real hip hop, but because it’s something for everybody. They’re gonna want to get the album because there’s thirteen tracks on the album and every song is different. It’s one of those CDs you can’t get tired of. You leave it in and you ride to it, you might even go back and listen to the track over and over.
BB: Nowadays people got file sharing, so it’s really hard to sell CDs, but we just did it different. That’s why we’re gonna make the biggest EPK the world has ever seen.
DJ Booth: At first when I heard it, I realized you guys sampled the ‘Meow Mix’ jingle. I personally dislike cats a lot so I wasn’t thrilled with that, but it’s hot and it works.
BB: Big Shout out to the Internz and Cosign…came straight from Chicago, they helped up produce the album, they produced the track. We all listened to it, we all vibed to it, we thought it was something new, something funny, something everyone’s gonna know because everyone remembers the Meow Mix commercials. We turned it into a hot song, you’ll hear it in the clubs!
DJ Booth: Before I let you all go… I watch a lot of TV and I noticed MTV has a show that chronicles the lives of skateboarders and the injuries they incur while doing their many tricks. What is the worst injury any of you have ever sustained while on a board?
BB: I broke my ankle.
DJ Booth: Here’s the good thing about rapping and skateboarding: you can break your right ankle but still jump on the mic. So you’re good!
BB: [laughter] As hard as we go when we skate, I’m pretty sure we’ll do a couple shows with a cast on so…
BB: But we still gonna give our 100%.
DJ Booth: You’ll come our on crutches and the crowd is gonna love you even more, so that’s to your advantage! I know you guys already gave your website, go ahead, somebody give it again and let everybody know how they can find out more.
DJ Booth: I appreciate your time, everyone, and I wish you nothing but the best. Lots of luck.
BB: Thank you, god bless.