Last night at recently reopened Greenhouse, Lil Wayne the rapper welcomed Lil Wayne the skater to the world via the premiere of DeWeezy. Maybe it’s because he started rapping professionally at an age when most kids where still learning their multiplication tables, but Wayne has always seemed to have one foot out of the rap game and the other in something new, or at least different. He tried the University of Houston in 2005 for a spell; then he tried to play guitar.
Wayne has of late been learning to skate, and he’s been incorporating skate lingo into his verses and videos. Taking it a step further—like when he was just carrying around an electric guitar instead of actually learning how to play it—Weezy F Baby has built a ramp at his house. He’s being taught the ins and outs hands-on, and he even got nine stitches over his left eye from a skateboarding accident last year.
Such mishaps have not deterred the Young Money honcho from falling deck-over-wheels for the pastime, though, and he’s teamed up with Mountain Dew to put his own spin on the skateboarding video.
Though the video was more snippet tape than sampler, there were some gems within. Wayne unsteadily attempts a trick on the board and fails, but the camera cuts before you can see the big spill. The frame after, Wayne lands the trick and the crowd cheers. The man does work hard; that much is undeniable.”You can always catch me on set, in the studio, or on stage,” he says. “The three Ss. I try to always be on one of those three, or on my way to them.”
Another highlight came when a narrator (who sounded a lot like Hot 97’s Angie Martinez) told the viewers about Mountain Dew’s efforts to build a skate park in New Orleans not too far from where the levee broke, and about Wayne and Mountain Dew giving away 700 skateboards to less fortunate children. The clips, though, were over before you could say “Ollie of the curb,” and for the rest of the night the guests were treated to the sounds of Marley Marl taking it back to the LQ.
If we’re judging the videos on “skate doc” merits, I’d have to say the highlight came when Paul Rodriguez got to show off (and actually land) some neat tricks—a wise inclusion, as Wayne is still a novice at best. But each episode was pretty short; none of them featured anything dynamic enough to make them not run into one another. And the clips might fuel the critiques of Wayne as someone who got into skateboarding due to its trendiness. (Usually the audience imitates artists, not the other way around.)
The charity work is the project’s saving grace, conveying that its purpose is about more than showing Wayne learning to skate. That says, even if he never gets the hang of skating, who is going to tell Wayne he shouldn’t be trying out tricks for the first time so late in life?
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on August 9, 2012