Music Appreciation: Andre Nickatina

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Like so many others who have been lucky enough to grow up in and around skateboarding culture, countless bands and artists have come to my attention through skate videos. Before skateboarding was being #hashtagged and shared across the universe every second of every day, it always felt so cool being able to soak in new music when watching a skate video, as if you were in on a secret only a select few people knew about. The music meant so much more to you than just a song you heard on a radio, it brought you to a certain place and time relative to the part it was from. Cue Sir Andre Nickatina, who is, in my humble opinion, the greatest living Bay Area MC (RIP Mac Dre). What I love about Nicky is that the moment he starts rapping you know exactly who he is, he has a voice that could be recognized anywhere in the world, he's like the Morrissey of the rap world (easy voice recognition is where there that comparison immediately stops). Like so many bands and artists that have wound up in skate videos over and over again (Dino Jr., Smiths, etc.) Nickatina has seen his fair share of video parts, I honestly think of him as a skateboarder first, rapper second. We took a brief look at this contributions to skate videos and picked a couple of our favorites from over the years.

Mike York, Hot Chocolate - "Ayo For Yayo"

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rXpHOtKswC0&w=420&h=315]

Damn, dude. York and Nickatina just make sense. They blend so well, they're like a banana and strawberry smoothie...if the strawberries were cocaine and the banana's were tech manual tricks on a bad knee. While Nicky tells harrowing stories of the destructive nature of a crack cocaine addiction, York is twisting and bending, combo-ing slides into grinds, flipping in and out of stuff, shifty-ing whilst in the city...I mean how could you not just love what's happening here. And what a catchy chorus, you'll be walking around mumbling about the yayo all in yo' naso' the whole goddamn day, and that's ok. But just like characters in Nickatina's rap tragedy, poor York's knee gives out, cutting both his time skating on tour and in his part, all too short. Don't do drugs, kids (jk).

Mike Carroll, The Chocolate Tour - "Crack Raider Razor"

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RveDixxzGs&w=420&h=315]

Like, DUH. This song was made for this part. And I don't mean like that MURS song that James Craig skated to, where MURS was actually rapping about James Craig, I mean that the lyrical assault and all out destruction that Nickatina hands down on the track is mirrored visually by Carroll's merciless slaughter of so many innocent spots across the country. Spike recently won "Best Original Screenplay" for Her, and while that is most definitely an outstanding accomplishment, I kind of feel like he got robbed in the "Hardest Carroll Part Ever" category, though I've been told that this doesn't exist in any industry's award show. Either way, we salute all three of you, Nicky, Spike, and Carroll, because the world is just a better place when you all work together in any context. (A special sorry to Meza if you were the one that edited that part, def not trying to take that away from you, if it was you, you killed it too ;) )

Furby, Via Marina - "I'm A Junkie"

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qMPyk21PL3Q&w=420&h=315]

I should start by saying I'm not really a Furby fan. No offense to Furby or his fan base, just being honest, he's never been someone on my radar. However, if there was ever a time where I did like Furby, it would be pre-gauges/Batman pajamas Furby, faded baggy jeans and kind of a bowl cut Furby. This part is actually really good. And no, I can't think off the top of my head of any tricks that he did, why? Because I'm listening to this fucking song so loud. The song is the part. Honestly they could just nixed his footage and played the song with a black screen loud as fuck and it would have made me want to go skate. Even despite Equipto's presence, this is still one of my all time favorite Andre Nickatina songs. It feels like what would be playing in Nickatina's villainous cocaine cathedral, where crack fiends come to worship the almighty drug dealing pope as he gives his psychedelic sermons. And yeah, Furby's footage is pretty sick to it too...

Jeff Lenoce, Baker 3 - "The Last Rap I'll Ever Write"

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTyYCJfrJiQ&w=420&h=315]

"ANDRE NICKATINA KIDS, SHOW ME WHERE YOUR SISTER LIVES..." I mean need I say more? I actually like Jeff Lenoce a lot, but the Nicky song steals the show here. While Lenoce rifles off clip after clip, Nicky is over the top, spitting more fire than a goddamn dragon. Just before your brain fully melts and you don't think you can take anymore, you get a black screen. OH SHIIIIIIIIIT, DID SOMEONE JUST PUT CODEINE IN MY SODA OR DID THIS WHOLE PART JUST GET SCREWED THE FUCK UP? What an insane way to bring in the hammer section to your part. Start to finish this part's more of a drug trip than a video part. I wonder if Nick ever heard Beagle/Reynolds chopped and screwed version...he'd be psyched for sure.

Gailea Momolu, Battalion - "All Star Chuck Taylors" 

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lE7B25YjRag&w=560&h=315]

Despite being able to sense your skepticism about me posting a part from a Darkstar video, I'll have you know, this video is full of good skating. There was a time and a place where I watched this video almost everyday, start to finish. Nicky actually makes an appearance twice in this video, here in Gailea's very chill part, as well as the credits of the video. A great track for this dude's skating, "All Star Chuck Taylors" has a very calm and collected flow, probably no coincidence when set to Gailea's skating. Unfortunately for us, Gailea does not seem to have been as prolific as Mr. Nickatina, and while we are continually blessed with Dre. Dogs flows, we are very much without Gailea's nollie bigspins/very cool pop shove its. Another reason to thank the seemingly never ending archive of the internet, you shall never be forgotten, Gailea, your legend lives on.

Gilbert Crockett, Cell Out - "Cadillac Girl"

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWw00imhlpg&w=420&h=315]

I saved this one for last because it's the newest on the list but it also has a very high go skate factor, so I won't blame you if you're not even reading what I'm writing and just watching the part. It also is a special Nickatina song because it features Mac Dre as well as Nickatina and like so many dynamic duos in skateboarding (Carroll/Rick, Danny Way/Colin McKay, Jamie Thomas/Jamie Thomas) Nick and Mac Dre together is guaranteed perfection. Now, I understand that Greg Hunt just made the Vans video, and he's probably one of the greatest filmers/editors in skateboarding, but is it wrong if I prefer Crockett skating to this fucking cocaine inspired ignorant bliss, shredding curbs and ripping the fuck out of his hometown? No offense Greg, you definitely did a good job and all but this is just something I can relate to more (the music and the curbs, not really the ripping or the cocaine). Download this song, turn your car's speakers all the way up, and go skate. More stuff like this and skateboarding wouldn't really be so bad all the time. :)