Hip Hop and BMX: Cultures of Parallels

Apr 9, 2015 at 17:57
by Justin Schwanke  
Views: 5,365    Faves: 29    Comments: 7

Back in December I traveled to Santa Cruz for what has become an annual tradition of escaping winter’s wrath. Although the trip was a wet one (hence the somewhat lackluster clips), we still managed to enjoy ourselves through other sources of entertainment. One such activity was listening to a lot of beats. During this time, my friends played a particular artist’s music which was unfamiliar to my Canadian ears. Upon further inquiry, I learned the artist’s name was Daoud (a former local to Santa Cruz) which led me to take a deeper look into his personal discography.

Fast forward a couple weeks, now back home and editing the riding footage I accumulated in the Golden State, I kept coming back to Daoud’s music. It was an obvious fit for the video and so I decided to send him an email through his Bandcamp page. Daoud was happy to let me use one of his songs in the edit and we started conversing back and forth about our own personal passions. As the minions in my mind did their work, it came to me that the video should complement an interview with the man behind the music. I've always found the parallels between various passion driven activities to be fascinating. For this reason, I decided to explore some connections between hip hop culture and BMX culture by finding out what gives Daoud “that Pillsbury-Dough-Boy-level of giddiness.”

So without further adieu, I present to you Daoud, a social media hermit with a knack for musicianship and performance….


Name/Affiliated Acts: Daoud, Sunset Black, Raymond Baek, Wax Roof, Hi-Contact, Rubber Legs, Pat Messy, SPEC, {ego}
Age: 23
Hometown: Santa Cruz, CA
Current Residence: Oakland, CA

When did your interest in music emerge and where did it come from? Did you have any particular influences at that time?
Music and the arts in general have always been ubiquitous in my home; both of my parents engrained in us a deep appreciation for creativity in all forms at an early age.

What role did growing up in a chill surf town like Santa Cruz have on your music?
Santa Cruz is a strange stylistic melting pot where there’s really nothing keeping two (at least somewhat) like-minded people from bonding over a common experience, be it music, or anything else. It’s not always the most inclusive place (especially in the ocean), but it’s very tolerant of any cultural contribution, and if you’re trying to communicate something positive and spiritually-fulfilling with your art, that’s even more welcome. Buncha hippies.

What has been your weirdest experience in Santa Cruz?
There’s too many to count, honestly. I grew up on the UCSC campus in a neighborhood called “Faculty Housing,” which was, naturally, dedicated to professors and their families. I’ve always been intrigued by the eugenic undertones of a housing project like that––building a race of super children––but besides that, I really can’t even think of one experience that jumps out as being “weird,” although I’m certain I had a highly unique childhood.

Turndown. Photo Credit Dominic.

What pays the bills for you? Do you work? Are you pursuing music full time?
I’m employed through the YMCA and am working at an elementary school in San Francisco leading 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in a musical enrichment after-school program. The kids make beats, write rhymes, and gas on the mic–it’s all thoroughly entertaining.

Do you consider yourself a rapper, a producer, or an artist? What elements of music interest you the most?
At the risk of appearing like a “douche” (or daouche), I’ve always thought of myself as an artist since my preschool days when my “punishment” for losing my temper was painting how I felt. I wear a lot of hats when I make music as a result of me trying to work out all the ideas bouncing around in my head at once, but the one I never take off is the artist hat; it’s a beret.

Fufanu. Photo Credit Dominic.

Are you or have you been involved in action sports of any kind?
This was always a long-standing joke with myself and a friend of mine who one day asked me if there was anything I was bad at, to which I replied “basketball, and board sports.” In light of current events and this interview, I would like to append that statement to include BMX as well. I’ve skated as a (last resort) means of transportation, and managed to stand up on a surf board and (possibly?) catch a wave or two, but for the most part I stuck to feet on the grass/dirt.

What parallels do you see between BMX/action sports culture and hip hop culture?
Within all athletic endeavors I’ve always noticed the same principles of improvisation that exist in the arts, especially music, and specifically hip-hop. It’s just freestyling with your body and using the terrain as the beat. Both are contingent upon flow and creativity expressed in a nearly thoughtless manner, making the most out of each moment. One of the best MCs/artists that I know is also ill at skateboarding.

One Foot Euro. Photo Credit Dominic.

What would you say is the source of your passion?
I’m constantly called to create (voices in my head...?). I’ve used music as my primary medium for the past 4 years, but I’ve always been that guy sketching, painting, writing comics and screenplays, and trying to find the means to film a movie. I’m working on transforming myself through these projects and making something that communicates the profound love I have for art.

What advice do you have for people perhaps hesitant about breaking out of the norm, taking risks, or putting themselves out there in an effort to pursue their passion?
My friend recently told me some of the greatest advice I’ve ever heard on this topic: “make it your life before you make it your living.” Couldn’t have said it better myself.

What motivates you nowadays? Has your passion shifted in any way over the years?
Now I’m just excited to develop the different styles I’ve explored previously with my newfound perspective and abilities (I’m starting to sing more). When I can get an idea out of my head and play/sing what was keeping me up the night before or buzzing around behind my eyes at work, I get that Pillsbury-Dough-Boy-level of giddiness. That good good.

Lawnmower. Photo Credit Dominic.

Do you have any upcoming shows or projects you would like to talk about?
2015 is shaping up to be, if not big, then an incredibly busy year. I’m working on wrapping up about 5 projects I have a hand in as a producer/songwriter/performer, all of which I can’t concretely nail down release dates for, but I can promise you that they’ll come out before Dre’s Detox drops.

What do you do to promote yourself?
Not enough! My friend is helping me through the processes of creating social media platforms for networking purposes and lining up more show opportunities. She’s also encouraging me to not be such a hermit; I’m trying, I really am.

How can people connect with you?
Check out my Soundcloud page, and shoot me an email if you want to reach out. I can’t guarantee that I’ll reply if you hit me up on Twitstagrambook though.


Sunset Black on Facebook (Daoud being one half of the duo)
Daoud's Soundcloud
Daoud's Bandcamp Page

Weird & Revered on Facebook
Merchandise: Weird & Revered on Big Cartel
Instagram: @weirdandrevered


  • + 2
 Awesome write up bud! The video came out great as well, I saw Daoud not too long ago and the first thing he brought up was talking to you haha. Stoked to see you used such a classic song of his for the vid, straight fire
  • + 2
 Thanks Dom! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

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