Lil Wayne and Tony Hawk on Roast Beef Grabs, Broken Bones, and Drake
Over the last decade, Lil Wayne has become so enamored with skateboarding that he installed a quarter pipe at his Miami studio, and spends most of his free time on tour at skate parks around the country. So when the owner of five platinum albums, five Grammys, and a legitimate claim to the mantle of best rapper alive got on a call with the skate god Tony Hawk, music was the last thing he wanted to talk about.
WEDNESDAY 6 PM APRIL 5, 2023 MINNEAPOLIS
TONY HAWK: Wayne?
LIL WAYNE: It’s the god. How you doing, brother?
HAWK: Good man. How are you?
LIL WAYNE:I ’m great. You look fucking 22, man. What are you using?
HAWK: Filters, all day every day.
LIL WAYNE: [Laughs] I appreciate you for doing this, for real.
HAWK: It’s an honor.
LIL WAYNE: Holler at me, man. What we doing?
HAWK: How you been?
LIL WAYNE: I’ve been great. I’m in Minneapolis. We just started the tour last night. Tonight was supposed to be Fargo, but there was a snowstorm.
HAWK: How long is the tour?
LIL WAYNE: Man, I think I go all the way till the end of next month.
HAWK: Oh, damn. I remember those days. I think they’re behind me now, but I feel you.
LIL WAYNE: [Laughs] I have a whole bunch more in front of me.
HAWK: I just want to say, I love your new track “Kant Nobody” with DMX. We happened to be in the same place at the same time around 2003. We were at an event in Vegas with my ramp, so I have all these photos of him on it.
LIL WAYNE: Wow. Like he’s about to drop in?
HAWK: Yeah. I’ll send them to you.
LIL WAYNE: That’s dope.
HAWK: He was so down for everyone. He signed stuff, took photos. I was really stoked to meet him.
LIL WAYNE: X an OG as far as the game goes, but to me personally—one of our biggest tours when I was with Cash Money was the Cash Money/Ruff Ryders tour. We toured for what felt like half my damn life. It was the perfect hip-hop tour because both companies had a shitload of artists, so there was no need for opening acts. I met X then. I had to be every bit of 16 or 17 years old. Those were the days, man.
HAWK: That’s so great.
LIL WAYNE: They rolled so deep. Rest in peace, X.
HAWK: I was just on a call for my foundation, and we have a fellowship program with a bunch of advocates for skate parks in local areas outside of Atlanta, Brooklyn, South Chicago. I got off that call to get on with you, so I said, “I have to go talk to Lil Wayne, but is there anything you guys want to ask him?” One guy asked, “What’s your favorite skate trick?”
LIL WAYNE: Fakie pop shove-it.
HAWK: I told him that! And then one of them asked, “Did you try to get Drake into skating?”
LIL WAYNE: That’s a good question, because there’s a real good answer for it. I skate after every show, we have parks booked. So yes, Drake has been on the scene at a park with a skateboard in his hand, and we’ve all quickly stopped him, like, “Don’t even attempt it,” because he’s a very clumsy guy. Drake hurts himself by just performing, and he’ll get real injuries. He’ll be on crutches the next day, and you be like, “Wait, all you did was fall onstage, right?”
LIL WAYNE: So he’s one of those guys. But he plays basketball a lot, so I think that has a lot to do with why he gets hurt. But as far as him on the board and me trying to get him to skate? No.
HAWK: So instead of introducing him to skating, you prevented him from skating.
LIL WAYNE: [Laughs] Exactly.
HAWK: That’s just as important.
LIL WAYNE: I couldn’t stop Meek Mill, though. I had a quarter pipe in Miami in the parking lot of a studio called the Hit Factory. A lot of artists record there, so when they would pull up, they’d be like, “What is that?” Some of them don’t know what a quarter pipe is. So he stood at the top, skateboard ready, lifted up like he’s about to drop in. I’m like, “Please don’t, man.” He’s like, “Nah, man. I ride bikes all day. This can’t be nothing.” I’m like, “It’s not the same.” And of course, he totally fell and taught himself a lesson about that. I tried to stop him.
HAWK: That gives me anxiety because a lot of times they’ll break an ankle.
LIL WAYNE: My man Ty Dolla $ign just hurt himself real bad recently.
LIL WAYNE: Dropping in.
HAWK: Oh, damn. That’ll sneak up on you for sure. I have a friend who used to skate in his youth, and he came to my office where I have a three-foot quarter pipe, and he was cruising around and as soon as he went to drop it, he tried to back out.
LIL WAYNE: Back out? Ugh.
HAWK: That’s when you sit on your ankle. He didn’t break it, but it was close enough.
LIL WAYNE: Oh, no. Ty was fully committed. He dropped in on—from what I saw, it was about the size of the one at The Berrics [a skate park in Los Angeles]. The big one at The Berrics.
HAWK: Oh, damn.
LIL WAYNE: Exactly! I don’t even drop in on that thing!
HAWK: What’s the biggest thing you’ve dropped in on?
LIL WAYNE: I’ve dropped in on a mega. I’m just saying, when I’m at The Berrics session, I’m not about to be dropping in on that, especially if I don’t skate every day. So what happened was, he came to skate with me one night in L.A. We skated Paul’s park [Paul Rodriguez Skate Park] and when he got there, I’m in a full-blown sesh. So he’s like, “Man, you really skate.” It happens a lot. A lot of artists are like, “Yo, where you at?” I’m like, “I’m going to a skatepark after the show.” They’re like, “I’m coming through.” He gets there and there’s literally no conversation between he and I because I’m sesh-ing. I’m locked into some trick I haven’t landed, and he’s like, “You really, really skate.” I guess it was motivating to him.
HAWK: We didn’t come here to party.
LIL WAYNE: Exactly. So he ended up sending me a clip, and the clip was of him dropping in, falling, and hitting the back of his head. The next picture he showed me was him in the hospital bed plugged up to all kinds of shit.
HAWK: Oh, damn.
LIL WAYNE: And he was like, “Man, you told me not to.”
HAWK: You’re a bad influence!
LIL WAYNE: [Laughs] I feel you with the anxiety, man. As soon as they stand on the top of any quarter pipe and put that board there, I’m like,“Yo, yo, yo, have you done that before?” Ask Chris Paul.
HAWK: [Laughs] I want to hear about you getting your own skateboard model.
LIL WAYNE: That’s the homies being cool. It was all Torey [Pudwill], Phil [Lopez]—they put that together. You already know what this skate thing is about. The moment I stepped into this world, I met nothing but amazing people. This was an example of that.
HAWK: Do you still have your park in Miami?
LIL WAYNE: Hell yeah. And since I live in L.A. now, usually a lot of homies that be down there from multiple skate teams, they just hit me up and ask if they can use the park.
HAWK: You’re spreading the joy.
LIL WAYNE: Of course. Just to say that they was in there, and to see them do things that have literally never been attempted in that park is amazing.
HAWK: I love that, too. I have my ramp, that’s my version of my own skate park, and when people come from Japan—we had this kid from Spain recently—and they’re doing shit that I’ve never seen, it’s like, “Wait, who are you? What is this? That wasn’t in the magazine. That wasn’t on X Games.”
LIL WAYNE: Exactly.
HAWK: It’s so fun to see it in your facility.
LIL WAYNE: You thought you’d seen everything that could be done there.
HAWK: Yesterday I was skating, it was a heavy crew, I call it the X Games crew. It was the best vert dudes and the old-school guys. So Steve Caballero and Mike McGill were in the mix, too. Tate Carew, in one of his runs, did this trick, backside 360 flip to stalefish. I’ve never seen it, and he just threw it in a run. I was like, “Dude, what the hell?”
LIL WAYNE: In a run?
HAWK: Yeah! And he goes, “Oh, I just did the kickflip varial and decided to keep it spinning and threw it behind me like a stalefish.”
LIL WAYNE: So it was a natural thing for him?
HAWK: Yeah, he knew how to do it already, but I’d never seen it. I made him do it again for me so I could shoot the slow-mo Instagram clip. That’s the kind of thing that happens when you have your own facility and you’re welcoming to other people.
LIL WAYNE: I got a question. Who’s done the craziest trick in your shit?
HAWK: Oh damn, I’m gonna get in trouble. [Laughs] The craziest thing I’ve seen almost done was Jimmy Wilkins did a 540 to disaster. And the way that he does disasters, he does not stop.
LIL WAYNE: He’s ridiculous.
HAWK: He just slaps his board when he comes in. We were talking about it and he tried one just to appease me, and got real close. Other than that, yesterday I saw Moto Shibata from Japan do a frontside front-foot impossible lien to tail. Caught his nose after the front-foot impossible and went down to tail.
LIL WAYNE: Then back down to tail? Wow.
HAWK: But I mean, he did it. Those guys are so confident, he just did it in a run. It wasn’t this big hoopla setup. It was just onto the next.
LIL WAYNE: When you were talking about the other trick, I thought it was a setup and then you say it was in a run, that fucked me up.
HAWK: Yeah, that’s where I live though, at the ramp.
LIL WAYNE: I’ve seen some crazy things in mine, but I always tell everybody, “I haven’t seen nothing crazy yet.” But my man Braydon [Szafranski], I don’t know how to say his last name, he did the craziest run in my park. It was packed, we was all chilling, homies, everyone’s talking, no one’s looking. But I was. He didn’t say nothing, not that he had to. He dropped in, went to the top of my wall. No one’s been on the top of it. When I say no one, there’s dust on the top.
HAWK: Oh, I know those ramps. Have you seen this little girl vert skater, Reese Nelson?
LIL WAYNE: Yes, I have.
HAWK: Ten years old. The other day she did a NBD because she’s just exploring everything, so she did a Caballerial kickflip to roast beef grab. We’ve never thought of it, never wanted to try it.
LIL WAYNE: How old did you say she is?
HAWK: She’s ten.
LIL WAYNE: Ten?
LIL WAYNE: She did a roast beef grab?
HAWK: Cab kickflip roast beef.
LIL WAYNE: What?!
HAWK: Yeah, it’s amazing. How did you like being a character and secret character in THPS 5 [Hawk’s video game series Tony Hawk Pro Skater]?
LIL WAYNE: First of all, do you understand that there’s kids that don’t know I was a rapper?
HAWK: [Laughs] Just that you’re a video game character.
LIL WAYNE: Yes!
HAWK: I feel you there because after our game came out, a woman said to me, “My son thinks that you’re named after the video game.”
LIL WAYNE: [Laughs] It’s bigger than yourself.
HAWK: You’re a pro skater video game character, and then a rapper as a hobby.
LIL WAYNE: Exactly.
HAWK: Well, I just wanted to tell you thanks for being such a great advocate for skateboarding. You’ve opened the awareness to a bigger audience with your passion for skating, and you stuck with it. I’m sure people were accusing you in the early days, like, “He’s just trying to connect with skateboarding because it’s cool.” But you are truly walking the walk, and you’ve been skating all through it. And you know how hard it is and you take your hits. I appreciate that.
LIL WAYNE: Thank you, man. For real, for real. I appreciate the skate world for accepting me with arms wide open. That’s just who they are. If you ever get to know this world or get to know anybody in this world, you’ll know that it is what it is, and there’s nothing like it.
HAWK: Yeah. Well, we got to get a session in some time.
LIL WAYNE: I cannot wait to sesh with the homie. And by the way, that session that you did in The Berrics, that last one you dropped the 50 joint, that was so motivating. I think I went out and broke all kinds of bones that night.