Philly Flavor

Interviews, Published Material, Sports

My latest interview for Steve Stoute’s The Tanning Of America website was with pro skateboarder/DGK brand owner Stevie Williams, the self-proclaimed “Jay-Z of skateboarding.” We had a very in-depth and candid discussion about his career, race, business, and hip-hop. Here’s the synopsis, with link below…

When Stevie Williams asserts that he is the “Jay-Z of skateboarding,” he doesn’t mean it as a hyperbole. After obtaining his first sponsorship at 11, a 15-year-old Williams left his humble Philadelphia roots to pursue a pro career in the popular skate hub of San Francisco. He lived homeless in The Bay for almost four years, sharpening his skills and making connections, and eventually his grind paid off. As skateboarding grew in popularity through the late ‘90s and early aughts, Williams bubbled along with it, building relationships with sponsors, touring the world, and founding his own brand, DGK (Dirty Ghetto Kids), which he eventually licensed to Reebok. Now with the popularity of skateboarding at an all-time high, and an inner city skate movement continuing to blossom due to hip-hop co-signs from artists like Pharrell Williams, Lupe Fiasco, Lil Wayne, and new kids on the asphalt, Odd Future, Stevie Williams’ fame is sizzling, and his DGK brand is more prominent in the marketplace than ever.

In this extensive interview, Williams brings us back to how he used to get made fun of by other black kids in his Philadelphia neighborhood for skateboarding, his early bouts with racism as a professional skateboarder (though he maintains there is no internal racial tension in the skate community), and how he got invited to hang out with Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch. He also explains how he learned the hard way to embrace Pharrell’s efforts to help skateboarding grow in the inner city, why he’s inspired by Lil Wayne’s dedication to the sport (they skate together all the time), and how listening to Jay-Z’s music helped him in the business world.

The Tanning Interview with Stevie Williams

One topic that came up in the interview was Philly rappers. I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Stevie Williams favorite Philly rapper is Oschino from State Property. How real is that? So to celebrate Stevie’s favorite rapper, and his Philly roots, here’s a video for one of my favorite State Property songs featuring Oschino, Sparks, and Young Chris, “Do You Want Me”….

And how could I post Philly rap videos without putting a clip up of Peedi Crakk?!?! Check this footage of him going in for almost twenty minutes on the radio in Delaware. This is how you’re supposed to spit when you’re live on the air. No Blackberry, no major flubs, no excuses. Just endless bars. This is crazy….

Plus, some brand new shit from Peedi Crakk’s right hand man, Indy 500, featuring Freeway and PC, called “Run It.” Shout to my dude Ariel, a WP native turned Philly resident, for putting me on to this. Indy 500 and Peedi had some shit on this Best of Peedi Crack mixtape I made with DJ ROZ. Check it out…

Also, since we’re talking about Philly, The Roots have a new album that dropped this week, Undun. And since I already told my The Roots story a couple years ago on Westcheddar about how I rapped on stage with them live when I was 18 at The Knitting Factory, I thought I’d post their recent appearance on hip-hop podcast Juan Epstein with my dudes Cipha Sounds and Rosenberg to promote their latest release…

Juan Epstein with The Roots (Black Thought and ?uest Love)

Thanks for the flavor, Philly. Haven’t been to visit in a while, but hopefully I’ll see you soon. Oh yeah, if you missed my interview on Complex with Philly rapper Asher Roth, read it HERE. Uno.

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