Originally printed in the June 2014 issue.
You may know Dave Willis, aka Black Dave, as one the Zoo York rippers.
This was his second year performing at the Death Match, and he shows no signs of slowing down with his skating or his rapping. After talking to him it is very clear that he’s extremely dedicated, so look out for more video parts and
mixtapes dropping soon. Interview & photo: Jordan Joseffer
Since the event was called Death Match, if you could put two characters together in a fight to death, who would they be?
I’m gonna have to say Barack Obama and Gerald from Hey Arnold!—the black nigga with the afro.
Who would win?
Gerald from Hey Arnold!. I don’t fuck with Obama. I don’t know if y’all can print that. I might have to switch that. Nah, keep it. Fuck it.
One thing rad about you is that you actually skate. Do you think there are a lot of rappers trying to associate with the image even though they’ve never even slammed?
Yeah, I definitely know for a fact that people jump to skating as some stuff they think is cool and trendy. But you know, I grew up in New York City and growing up skating, a lot of people would tell me, “You ain’t gonna be shit doing that skating.” There’s a certain group of people that are not for you, but I stuck with it. Now to see how skating has elevated and people rocking with it—kind of more mainstream people supporting it—I’m not mad at it. I’ve been reading Thrasher since day one. Now you see a lot of rappers rocking Thrasher hoodies, and I think it’s cool. That’s dope. But the real skaters know what it is, and I’m definitely doing this for them.
You’ve got Thrasher-inspired art on your Stay Black mixtape. What does Thrasher mean to you?
Pretty much the feeling behind Stay Black was not about skin color. It was more like, stay true to who you are—what you represent—no matter if you’re just coming up, you don’t have a lot of people supporting you or you don’t have major funding behind you. That’s what it was. I felt like from the jump I wanted to be straight forward and stay raw. And what’s more raw than that graphic cover in your face? So I wanted it to have the same layout as my favorite skate magazine. Tryin’ to pay homage to that.
Who’s your biggest rap influence and who’s your biggest skating influence?
I couldn’t say I have one biggest rap influence, but I would definitely say people that stay true to who they really are and definitely my peers, too. I’m hugely influenced by my peers. People representing the same things as me. People like Lil B and Tyler, the Creator. People who kind of start their own movement. Plus my homies doing it; watching them get better and better. For skating, most definitely Harold Hunter is one of my biggest influences because of his personality. Everyone that’s spoken to him has a great story about him. There’s no one like him. Through his skating, you know his personality. Kids is one of my favorite movies, so he kind of represents what I’m trying to represent—just showcasing our scene in a positive way, and he made it funny.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Definitely shouts out to Thrasher, shouts out to Zoo York, shout out to Hundreds, Big Trill and Stone Rollers, which is like my crew of skaters that make music. And just be on the lookout for that new music, new skating and just keepin’ it going, man.
9/24/2018Shakey Graves discusses his new album, his hardcore roots, bombing parking garages and why it’s important to keep evolving as an artist. This is a good read with a rad dude.
9/24/2018If you're in the Bay Area September 28th come out to support the Sam Vincent Foundation and see some killer bands.
9/24/2018Cannibal Corpse singer George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher is a comic-book fanatic, Golden Rule practitioner and dedicated family man and he was stoked to talk to Thrasher.
9/24/2018We mashed up music and skating to create the Death Match back in 2010. Now we’re taking the party beyond Austin, Texas. October 5th and 6th we’re bringing the noise to New York. See you there.
9/24/2018Atiba sat down to talk about the many layers of life and music with Stephen Malkmus.
9/24/2018Randy Blythe looks out for his people, loves what he does and just wants his fans to know where he’s coming from.
9/24/2018Our dear friends and constant contributors to the KOTR videos, The High Curbs, have released their latest music video for "Never Bothered."
9/24/2018We got a few words with Tommy Guerrero to talk about his musical side.
9/24/2018Come out for a day of music, BBQing and skating in Seattle, WA.
9/24/2018Slashers are hitting the West Coast. Check the dates here.