After Lil Wayne made headlines this week with a head-splitting skateboard accident, it’s a no brainer that the YMCMB rapper is exploring a newfound passion for skating. Following his I Am Still Music tour stop at the DTE Energy Music Theatre on Saturday, he skated a private session at Transitions Skatepark in Dearborn Heights, Michigan. Among the select few involved was local skater Jordan Garland, whose footage from the session has already accumulated over 400,000 views! I wasted little time getting on the horn with Jordan to discuss how this was set up, what went down during the session, and what has happened since…
First off, can you explain to my readers who you are, what it is that you do, and what your affiliation is with Transitions Skatepark?
My name’s Jordan Garland. I skateboard, and that’s pretty much all I do. I work at Transitions Skatepark, so that’s kind of how it all came together.
Are you just a local skater, or professional in any way?
Oh yeah, I’m just local. I travel and do all the contests across the country, though—all the stuff that people trying to break into the industry are doing. But, so far it’s still just AM level.
So you skated with Wayne at TRP from about 3am – 7am after his show on Saturday. How was the session set up in the first place, and how far in advance was it booked?
They contacted us. But they were supposed to come Monday night, before they went into Canada for the Canada leg of the tour, so we were waiting on them Monday night. They ended up texting us back and they were like, ‘Yeah, Wayne’s recording some songs (on his studio bus).’ They just ended up setting up his little quarter (pipe) from the video in the parking lot. So he was recording…skating…recording…skating, because he was too busy to come out. Then they felt bad because we sat there for so long waiting, and everyone was excited because it’s Wayne; he’s like the Elvis of our time. Then they hit us back and they were like, ‘Well, we’ll be in Detroit this weekend,’ and they gave us two free tickets to the show…like five rows back—super good tickets. Then they told us they’d be in to skate that night after the afterparty.
Was it hard to keep it under wraps for the week?
It was hard to not tell people because I’ve listened to him for a long time, but people knew he was coming to one of the parks because he was always tweeting about it. So by the time people found out I was at the show, they knew [Lil Wayne and his entourage] were coming back here. It was just hard—they told us to keep it low key and to tell all our friends ‘no’, and people are taking it personal. But they didn’t want people there, so we kind of had to keep it that way. By the end of it, everybody kind of got the point. But it was just like, nobody wants to be told ‘no, they can’t come skate with Lil Wayne’.
Your video is pushing 100,000 views on YouTube, and already has well over 300,000 on WorldStarHipHop. Now that you’re a local celebrity after skating with Wayne, what are the groupies like?
[Laughs.] I don’t even know. I kind of try to stay away from—it’s just weird, you have old girls I knew in high school that haven’t talked to me since high school blowing up my Facebook and stuff. It’s just like, ‘seriously?’ The dude’s a person. He’s sick, but I’m not famous yet so why are you trying to hit me up? I think they’re trying to get in my phone and see if I have his number, but I don’t.
I looked at your Facebook and saw that, and it seems like the two words that people—especially those who aren’t close with you anymore—like to throw out there are ‘lucky’ and ‘jealous’.
Yeah, there’s a lot of that. Other than that, I think the most asked thing is, ‘How’d you get Wayne to come there?’ And it’s like, ‘If I told you guys, then you’d be trying to do it for next time and he’d be less prone to come back to where we are.’
Judging by your video, it seems like Wayne took quite a liking to you. He gave you fist pumps, and props for being ‘crazy’. He even had you sign his ramp for ‘putting a trick down’. Did you guys talk about anything besides skating while he was there?
It’s kind of one of those situations where, before he came in, they were like, ‘This is his only time to skate. Give him his space.’ And I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m just here chillin’ anyways because I work here.’ But then by the time he came in and he was skating around, we were talking about getting tricks. In the video, there’s this wall ride and it has a piece of metal that connects the ramp to the wall. He was skating it for like a half hour, and I’m like, ‘Dude, you really like that ramp, huh?’ And he’s like, ‘Yeah.’ And I’m like, ‘You gotta hit the metal.’ Because that used to be like the proving point for me and my friends years ago—you had to hit the metal because it’s higher up. And he looks at me and he’s like, ‘I gotta get the metal,’ and just started gunning for it until he did it. So after that, it was cool. I was skating with them instead of just being there. It was like a normal skate session. Everyone was feeding off each other’s tricks; everyone was trying better stuff because the other person was trying better stuff.
That’s cool. It sounds like it felt pretty natural after a while.
Oh, yeah—it definitely did. And I’m not the type to fan out over anyone, even though he’s like the sickest dude ever. I was just more hyped on how excited he is to be skating. The dude will be falling and getting back up with that diamond grin, smiling from ear to ear. Like, ‘I have to do this.’ He seriously is exactly what you see on TV. He’s so determined, and so ready for progress.
You had the chance to smoke with Wayne, but passed it up. How come?
[Laughs.] Oh, yea. I mean, I don’t know. Actually, that’s probably one of the most asked questions. I don’t know, the dude was like—it was him and his homie T. And the craziest thing is, is when—a lot of my friends smoke weed, but I really don’t that often, or try not to at all—but when they used to smoke, there was a Wayne song where he goes, ‘Hit the weed, T,’ and we would always say that. And that dude was there. I almost fanned out more about him being there than Wayne being there, just because it was so crazy.
Was that before the skating, or after?
I’m not trying to put his habits [out there], but it wasn’t like people think. It was probably like two blunts the whole time of him being here.
I didn’t even realize that Wayne still smoked while on probation.
Yeah, neither did I. That was the thing I said. They called and asked if it’s okay for him to smoke in the park, and we’re like, ‘Well, it’s Lil Wayne. Of course it’s okay.’ But we didn’t think he still smoked because he’s on probation.
In your video, Wayne was pretty pumped about landing a Pop Shove-It and doing a few wall rides—as you had mentioned. What was his best trick?
Even by internet standards—on his little quarter, he did a trick called a Feeble Fakie, and there were so many people commenting on it like, ‘I’ve been skating for six years and haven’t learned those,’ just because it’s kind of a scarier trick. So he’s definitely getting it, and it’s his skate coach who’s putting him on so hard—this dude Adam. He’s a super good skateboarder and teaches Wayne how to do the stuff, and it works out for him because the dude is seriously progressing so much.
There’s footage of Wayne skating in Tampa earlier this month and his board was still in pretty good shape at the time. But when he lifts up his 5boro board in your video, you can’t even read the label on the bottom because of all the use it’s gotten.
Yet some people feel like skateboarding is a publicity stunt (no pun intended) for Wayne. Would you like to set the record straight for those who seem to think he’s a poser?
Personally, I just think that’s crazy because you can get hurt so bad skateboarding. It’s probably like the last thing [his management] would want him to do. Because if he gets hurt—think if he got hurt at our park; broke his ankle or something, I’ve seen it here in the time I’ve worked here so many times…kids breaking wrists and ankles—that ruins the rest of his tour. His label, everybody would lose millions of dollars from him not being able to perform. His skate coach Adam, when he was here, was telling us, ‘They don’t like him doing this. The don’t want him out here skateboarding. They want him out in the clubs networking.’ A lot of skateboarders just don’t wanna see a celebrity doing it. I think they still think it’s underground, even though it’s blown up to ridiculous proportions.
He took a spill in your video and wasn’t wearing a helmet, which I suppose is common—although maybe not for someone of his importance and lack of experience. What was your reaction to Wayne injuring himself—a head injury, no less—while skating the following night?
It was kind of crazy just to hear about it, but you kind of just knew from how many times he would fall here—even though they weren’t as bad of falls. He would just get up smiling. He probably hit his head, was bleeding, was probably a little nervous—because I’ve seen it happen with my friends, too. You know you’re alright, but it kind of shakes you up. But you figure the dude’s just gonna go on with what he’s doing. And then he posted the next day that he was skating with Sean Molto and stuff, so he didn’t skip a beat over it.
Which again just goes to show that he isn’t a poser.
Oh, yea. Even if you just watch the video—the one in Tampa, the one here, any of them—he is smiling so hard. You can not fake that enjoyment. When he says, ‘I did a Pop Shove-It,’ the dude is so excited. He would run up to the camera and look at his footage. He’s a skateboarder for sure.
The video filmed by Kevin Zarycki and uploaded to your YouTube account was used without permission or credit by Missouri’s Fox 2 in their report of Wayne’s accident. Have either of you looked into pursuing a lawsuit, or do you know if you would even have a case?
I don’t even know. It’s one of those things where…it’s more publicity for [Wayne], even though he doesn’t need it like we said. But at the same time, I’m not up there in the same status yet, so for me it’s just cool that that many people are using our stuff and that it’s hitting that many views on WorldStarHipHop. Because our goal was like 30,000 views in the first month, and when we doubled that in the first day, we were just overwhelmed. So anything that happened after that, we were excited. I think him hitting his head actually boosted the views, as bad as that is. Because everyone seems to think that it happened here, and that this is the St. Louis park—which kind of sucks because we’re trying to put Detroit on the map here, not St. Louis.
Not to benefit off someone else’s ill fortune, but I do think his accident helped you guys out.
Yeah, it definately does. To me, though, it helps him out a lot too. I feel like the comments on the YouTube account—I actually do follow that stuff, even though it’s rare I comment back…I think I commented back once because someone said something really hateful towards him—I think they changed a lot since he hit his head because then they realize once he’s skating again that the dude is actually skating because he likes it. You’re not gonna split your eye open, be a celebrity, and then keep doing it otherwise. He’s just keeping at it.
What do you guys plan on doing with the extra footage that wasn’t used in your video?
I don’t even know. I didn’t even think of that. But I put out a lot of videos, like we put out a lot of local DVDs, and we put out this one called TRaP Or Die…it’s filmed here. TRP, we just added the ‘a’. But we put it out every winter, and we were kind of thinking about just having the raw footage on that DVD just so people can see it. I’m sure they’ve watched it enough online, but the raw footage is cool because it’s more stuff of Cory Gunz, who was like the nicest dude ever, and all the rest of the people who were there and a lot of talking.
How much total footage is there, length-wise?
I wouldn’t even know. When we came up here to edit the stuff the next day, we were on like three hours of sleep trying to edit it. We were just trying to get it out as fast as we could, and I knew we wanted to do it like a skate video so more people would watch it. But there’s got to be a lot, because the dude was filming pretty much the whole time—they were here for four hours. There’s got to be a ton of raw clips.
Is TRaP Or Die 2 going to be a free release or do you plan on selling it?
Well, we release it online for free. But then we sell the DVDs in the shop. We sell them for super cheap anyway, just because it’s park stuff so people aren’t as concerned with that as outdoor street stuff.
Have Wayne’s people contacted you at all since you posted the video?
The only thing we got was, the dude Adam, who’s seriously the coolest dude ever, he just hit me back and he’s like, ‘Wayne is super hyped on the video. It really hit the spot for me. You guys did a really good job.’ All that stuff. Because we kind of did it differently than everyone else that posted [similar videos] and I think that’s why it blew up how it did.
I feel like this is an appropriate time to plug the all-nighter at Transitions this Friday.
$20 admission with free food and drinks! Anything you’d like to add to that?
Don’t throw the speakers across the park this time if you come in. Other than that, no. [Laughs.]
Has that happened in the past?
Oh dude, everything gets thrown. All the free pizzas, speakers. One time, there were iTouches flying across the park hitting kids in the face. There’s just a lot of stuff. That’s just a different situation altogether, though. [Laughs.]
And then there’s a $5 skate contest on Saturday at 9pm, right?
Oh yeah, yep. There’s that too, which will be cool. Hopefully a lot of people turn out—the more people that turn out, the better prizes there are.
Lastly, is there anybody you’d like to shout out?
Wayne for coming in and being the nicest dude ever. Cory Gunz. Adam Z, most importantly. Kristen and (?) that work here, and then Transitions Skatepark because without them, it wouldn’t have even went down. 5boro skateboards, gotta shout them out for everything. And you for doing this interview man, for real. We appreciate it.