Tag Archives: Inspectah Deck

GUEST POST: INFINITE SKILLS CREATE MIRACLES

this guest post written by Matt Hall (@mattisonherenow)

Those of you that know me probably know that I’m about to turn thirty. Thinking about that upcoming milestone has led me down more than a couple of retrospective paths, which more often than not end up focusing on the music that’s been important during different stages of my life. To be honest, I don’t remember the first time I drove a car, and no offense to the girl in question, but my first kiss is a total blur, but I can vividly remember the first punk rock show I saw, the first time I heard Illmatic, and the first time I landed a kickflip like it was yesterday.

Skateboarding hasn’t always been as super prevalent with both established and imminent young rappers as it has been in the past few years, but rap has certainly been integrated into skate culture for over 2 decades. I don’t know if you hung out with skateboard dudes at all when you were younger, but I was pretty into that whole scene, and it’s really the reason that I ever got into rap music. I got into punk rock pretty young, but it was really skate videos and magazines that made me more interested stuff like Gang Starr (who I wrote about in my previous post),

Gang Starr – Above the Clouds (feat. Inspectah Deck) [from Steve Olson in Fulfill the Dream]

early Wu-Tang solo cuts,

Method Man/Ghostface Freestyle [from Harold Hunter in Zoo York’s Mixtape no. 1]

and eventually even earlier videos with dudes like Fu-Schnickens.

Fu-Schnickens – La Schmoove [from Sean Sheffey in Plan B Questionable]

Anyway, my favorite skate video of all time is from a company called Girl. The video is Mouse. If you’re interested, you can watch it in its entirety here. I promise it’s worth it. [editor’s note: he’s right]

Mouse was directed by Spike Jonze back before anybody really knew who he was, and the soundtrack is amazing. As far as I know, it’s the only skate video ever that has a (mostly) soul/R&B soundtrack instead of punk rock and/or hip hop. I can remember going to the record store at the mall (that used to exist!) to order a Cymande CD when I was 14 because of this video.

Among skateboarders, it’s mostly remembered because it helped to usher in a new era of style-heavy technical skating, but I really like it because it made me interested in music that was totally unfamiliar to me at the time. Even if you don’t feel like watching the whole thing, at least check out the soundtrack, it’s a pretty solid collection top to bottom, and every track on it still makes me more than a little nostalgic.

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MESSAGE FROM A BLACK MAN

This is one of those little details that I’ve thought about figuring out for a long time but never quite did, but now that I have this blog going, I’m a little more motivated to get to the bottom of things.  See there’s this sample that I’ve heard in tons of songs that is just one of those super simple, easily recognizable samples but it’s just so sweet that hearing it over and over in different songs doesn’t really get old to me.  I knew it was from this song called “Message From a Black Man”, but I didn’t know which version because the version I always had didn’t sound quite right.  So today I decided to do some research, and it turns out the song was originally written by Norman Whitfield and Barrett Strong for the Temptations in 1969.  But when I listened to that version, it didn’t sound like the right version either.  A little more searching uncovered the version I’d been searching for.

The Whatnauts – Message from a Black Man

If you don’t already recognize this, check out what King Geedorah, RZA, and Nas do with this track.

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