Controversy, innovation, humour, brutality, politics, personality, artistry, guts, gore – you name it, it’s been on the bottom of a skateboard, more often than not beautifully executed. And in a moment when skateboarding appears to be approaching the zenith of its popularity – when off-duty models and pop stars are wearing Thrasher garms, when the swoosh and the three stripes (along with other big-money sports brands) are pumping shitloads of money into the scene, when the fucking olympic games are attempting to carve out a spot for skateboarding in Tokyo 2020- it’s reassuring to cling to the things in skateboarding which will (hopefully) never change. Though, like everything, quality ebbs and flows, there has been a tonne of stellar skateboarding graphics throughout the years that demonstrate, concretely, the creativity that resides at the heart of the culture, and the vivid imaginations of those who associate themselves with the scene.
A Tribe Called Quest need little, if any, introduction- but on the off chance that you’re not familiar with the Queens NY collective, we’ll try to clue you up. Simply put, MC’s Q-Tip and Phife Dawg, DJ/Producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad and satellite member Jarobi White – otherwise known as A Tribe Called Quest – are, without question, one of the most celebrated, influential and innovative hip-hop groups in recent memory. This is not shallow hyperbole, nor is it misplaced admiration; ATCQ were at the epicentre of the ‘alternative hip-hop’ movement in the late 80’s and early 90’s, and have inspired legions of subsequent hip-hop artists and groups from Outkast to The Roots, from Kanye to Pharrell, from Kendrick to Cole. For real, if these dudes aren’t amongst some of your favourite rappers, they’re most probably amongst your favourite rapper’s favourite rappers. You follow?