Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Strange Phenomenon of the Snowboarder Slash Rapper

Hip-hop has given a lot to snowboarding over the years, from the music in videos to the baggy gangster clothes, but has snowboarding given anything back? Well some people have really had a try.

We start with the original snowboarder slash rapper.
Shawn Farmer is a snowboarding legend. He is the man who showed us just how dangerous freeriding can be if you are nuts. He brought a punk attitude to the sport in the way he rode, the things he said and the way he partied. Whitelines magazine bestowed this honor on him…
“If Winston Churchill is the reason you and I don’t speak German, then Shawn Farmer is the reason we don’t all monoski in one-piece suits.” 
In 1991 he came to the world’s attention for his part in the movie Critical Condition. People got their first taste of his snowboarding style and also his rap technique. 
So lets take a look at Shawn Farmer, his riding and his song ‘Farmer’s Way’. The lyrics are mint.
In Whitelines 85 Farmer is quoted as saying, “I was actually thinking of launching a rap career off Critical Condition, but I never got connected with the right people. The timing was there, but I’ve always had trouble hanging about in cities; like I freak out when I’m in LA – I have to get the fuck out of there.”
He was also interviewed by Transworld...
You were ahead of the curve-white rapper and snowboard superstar in like 1990 …
“You see this stuff coming. Kid Rock - I was doing that shit when he was a kid. I was rapping, flying off cliffs when Kid Rock was in sixth grade. Everyone knows about the snowboard stuff, but this other shit, I’ve been doing it for ages.”
“I want to sell records. I want to make a movie. But I need money. If anyone out there has a hundred Gs, send it my way and watch it blow up. I have raps, but you need like five Gs to get a good beat done. I’ve been fooling around with these guys who are all, “Let’s do a song,” then I get the beat back and it’s some weak-ass shit. You gotta pay to play-and you get a weak beat when you’ve got no money.”
It’s been almost twenty years since he blazed a trail for snowboarder slash rappers everywhere. During that time has he got better? Judge for yourselves:
Next we bring things right up to date with

Travis Kennedy is a guy from ghettos of Alaska who just loves the hip-hop lifestyle. 
Here he is miming being a gangsta in the Forum movie ‘That’: 

Kennedy has just been dropped by Forum but is looking forward to be able to dedicate more time to “working on his music”. What’s his music like? Check out Scrilla The Kid’s MySpace page.

If your ears have stopped bleeding we will continue.
The snowboarding game Amped 3 took the snowboarder rapper genre to a new level when they got imaginary snowboarders involved. 

Not sure how imaginary that was. I think it’s might have just been Travis Kennedy again, moonlighting under another pseudonym.
Let’s take a look at the efforts of some amateurs who have been influenced by the likes of Farmer & Kennedy.

Let’s quickly get back to the final two pro-snowboarder-slash-rappers.

Quebecoise snowboarder/rapper Nic Brunette can rap badly in both English and French. 

And lastly we have another Canadian snowboarder slash rapper who has managed somehow to blag himself a recording contract.

Trevor is a famous as a snowboarder for his appearances in the 1998 and 2002 Winter Olympic Games and his World Cup wins. Trevor is most famous as a musician for being the fiancĂ© of Santigold
In 2004 after suffering form a bad injury Trevor took up rap because he was bored and had nothing better to do. Now he has gained at least seven new names and a MySpace page which includes an incredible stream-of-consciousness rammed full of just about everything you will ever need to know about him without a single pause. (You might want to skip this at some point and get to the video). 
“I am Trouble Andrew aka Trevor Andrew aka TRZA aka Private Joints aka Billy Lotion aka Trev Dirt aka Trev Hollywood. "Crunk rock" aka Douche Wave, Douche core lol, a sound that we created mixing the musical influences of my youth. I discovered most of my favorite music through the soundtracks to snowboard and sk8 videos. I have been a pro snowboarder for Burton Snowboards, Analog, Pro Skates, and Oakley for the last 10 years. I was born in Nova Scotia, Canada. When I was 15, I dropped out and moved to the mountains. I now spend my time between British Columbia, Brooklyn, and road. Snowboarding and sk8ing is my life. My heros growing up were guys like Hosoi, Gonz, Tony Hawk, Frank Hill, Danny Way, The Bones Brigade, Chris Roach, Brushie, Terje, Craig Kelly, Palmer, Keven Young and Sean Johnson. If I never picked up a skateboard or a snowboard I really don't know what I would be doing. Music has inspired my riding as my riding has shaped my music! Gonna be Trouble this year!!! In 2004, I tore my ACL snowboarding and needed surgery. I was off the snow for nine months. Looking back, I'm so thankful for that knee injury because it led me to this part of my life. I moved to Philly to stay with my girlfriend Santi White and rehabilitate my knee. At the time, she was fronting a band "Stiffed". Stiffed got me stoked on punk rock again. When I was a kid I was listening to bands like, Bad Brains, DK, Black Flag, Husker Du, Descendents, Minor Threat, Agent Orange, Suicidal, Sub Society, SnFU, Mcrad. In 90's I listened to a lot of rap like Spice 1, Ice Cube, Ren, Master P, 2PAC, B.G, Lil Wayne, Snoop, Tripple 6 mafia, Gangsta Pat, Black Moon, Beastie Boys. Rap represented a lot of the things that punk rock once had for me. At the end of the day, Punk Rock, Hip Hop, SK8, Snowboard, and Surf cultures have a lot in common. We all made something amazing out of what little we had. My sponsors/family at Burton and Oakley have been the greatest supporters of the Trouble movement. Many of the first Trouble shows were at their events surrounded by our community. While recovering in Philly, I would mess around on an SP1200 drum machine I bought(thinking i'd make hip hop beats), a guitar Santi got me for my b-day and some Keys that were laying around her house. I wrote on a few songs on her Stiffed record andit opened my eyes to creating music. Santi got me a 4 track recorder and encouraged me to do something with the songs I was writing. "Chase Money" was the first song I ever wrote in 2004, Uh Oh second, Young Boy came next and so on. I really never planned to release my music. I didn't even want my songs to be heard. Music was private for me. The thought of performing was a total nightmare. Santi snuck a few tracks to Shitaki Monkey, a NYC production team made up of John Hill, Pete Wade, and Calib. That winter they flew out to my house in Squamish, B.C, Canada to record. Squampton aka Squatamala aka Squamish is my winter home. It is located between Whistler and Vancouver British Columbia. With Shitake I put down the vocals for the "Trouble Andrew" EP in my loft every night after snowboarding. I loved recording there. We fill my whole house with equipment and have a ramp out back and piss of my neighbors. The original "TROUBLE ANDREW" record that we recorded there in 2004/05 is now available on itunes and 05, the record has been remixed and remastered is available everywhere.( Virgin/Trouble Records) I put together "my band" aka "Trouble Gang" in 2006. I spent a whole year putting together a crew that fit. The most important thing to me was finding the right people that share some of the same passions and influences . When traveling the world, I feel its important to be with people you can spend the time with without loosing your mind. My band is my family, we been through a lot together.IAN Longwell aka Big City on drums, programs, and LSD. MASSA aka Nijassa aka Massita bonita on Bass. The Trouble gang also hails fellow Nova Scotian rapper JOFO. Sk8ahollic Jake The Snake. BIG DOUCE on securtiy and fan. And me, TROUBLE ANDREW baby! On the mic, on the mountain and on my grind bud! I got to give major thanx to the O.G Trouble gang! It's a movement and it's growing every day. We've been on the road the past 2 years playing shows around the world and laying down the new LP in hotel rooms and studio's where ever I am. We're proud to have rock stages with The GZA, Justice, Amanda Blank, RICK ROSS, STIFFED, SANTOGOLD, De La Soul, Mickey Avalon, Spank Rock, Steve Aoki, Controller Controller, Wyclef Jean, Group Home, KUDU, Silverstien, Dave Navaro, Dizzy Rascal, MCRAD, Lady Sovergn, blah bla blah.... Trouble Andrew and The Trouble Gang's coming to you're town soon! The new Trouble Andrew " DREAMS OF A TROUBLED MAN" full length record and Trouble Gang mixtape coming really soon! Trouble gear coming soon! New Burton 7 designed by Trouble Andrew coming soon! Trouble Andrew Oakley Frogskins in stores now! Trouble Andrew remixed and remastered LP on iTUNES and everywhere Feb 10th!”
So it looks like with Nic Brunette and Trouble Andrew on the case Canadian music has a strong future, adding to their illustrious musical heritage, which includes the likes of the badger-faced Avril Lavgine, Crash Test Dummies, Alanis Morissette, Barenaked Ladies and Celine Fucking Dion. Jesus Christ won’t somebody stop them? 

We asked at the start of this whole regrettable mess, has snowboarding given anything back to hip-hop? The answer is not much so far, but I have a sinking feeling we’ll keep trying.

Related Links…

Talking about Amped 3, a number of the riders from that game also appear in this article:

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