Music has always been involved in the world of skateboarding since its earliest history. The counterculture of skateboarding, in fact, is known for its wide variety musical styles. Today, there are several different genres that are closely identified with skateboarding. The music most identified with the sport tends to have a fast beat to pump up your adrenaline while skating.
Since skateboarding grew out of surfing culture during the 1950s and 1960s, it follows logically that the music and culture of skateboarding was originally quite similar to that of surfing. However, skateboarding would soon be seen as more counter-culture than surfing, and began to develop a rebellious attitude displayed through clothing and music. This punk influence is still quite evident in today's skateboarding culture.
One of the first music styles to be associated specifically with skateboarding was reggae. In the late 1980s, the SMA Rocco Division skateboarders, including Jesse Martinez and Jef Hartsel, helped to usher in the emerging reggae-skateboarding culture. The song “I N I Style” was credited to Jef Hartsel and fellow skateboarders from Rocco, Jamie Zebulon and Albert Naphtali. Throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s, several of those involved in the skateboarding industry recorded reggae-style songs.
While skateboarding has traditionally been associated with punk or rock music, recently hip-hop and street culture have embraced the sport, having a huge influence on the music enjoyed by skateboarders. Today, skateboarding has grown to encompass a diverse fusion of cultures, including punk, hard rock, street, and hip cop culture. As a result, there is a wide variety of musical styles that are enjoyed by skateboarders around the world, though there is also a style popularized in skate shops that is specific to skateboarding and related sports.
One of the more recent moves within the skateboarding culture is the trend towards “emo” or “pop-punk” bands like Fall Out Boy or Green Day. These bands are very popular not only within the skateboarding community but also in the larger world.
Often, skateboarders will listen to their favorite music when skating around town or trying to get themselves pumped up to try new tricks. A perennial favorite among skateboarders is the band “CKY.” The brother of popular pro skateboarder and stuntman Bam Margera (known for his “Jackass” movies) is in the band, one reason for the band's continuous popularity within the skateboarding subculture. Formed in 1996, CKY videos and music have long been favorites of skaters.
MXPX is another mainstay among skaters. MXPX is for upbeat music that is good for practicing tricks. For skaters who particularly enjoy getting their adrenaline pumping before a big race or performing a new trick, check out Offspring, NoFx, Rancid, Dropkick Murphys, or Flogging Molly. All are quite popular among the skateboarding crowd.
If you are a skateboarder looking to find some new bands, head to your local skateboarding shop. Skateboarding goes hand in hand with the local music scene. Often, it is the smaller local bands that are more popular within the skateboarding sub-culture. If you skateboard with friends, ask them to bring some music; you never know what new bands you might be introduced to. While there are certainly some bands that remain popular with skaters year after year, the styles are always changing, and the subculture of skateboarding has grown to accommodate nearly every musical style.