Way before Zoo York gravitated into the realm that Eckō Ltd. stepped into in 2000 (i.e. “the mainstream”), they were known for being deeply saturated in Hip-Hop culture. To the Hip-Hop purist, the name summons memories of graffiti splattered over subway cars in New York City. They were also profoundly submerged in core skateboarding culture as well, with greats like Harold Hunter (R.I.P.), Jeff Pang and Vinny Ponte representing the team / brand / culture. In 1998, they released their first video titled Zoo York Mixtape I on VHS, which married Hip-Hop music (and video footage from ’93 & ’94) with skate footage filmed in 1997.
The video starts off with a vignette of the late, great DJ Roc Raida (of the world famous X-Ecutioners) cutting and juggling like only he knows how, then segues into Jeff Pang’s Mix (part) accompanied with footage of a pre-Terror Squad Fat Joe freestyling with the hilarious & shocking Keith Nut. The freestyle footage was recorded by Eli Genser while lurking at the Stretch & Bobbito show (back when Stretch Armstrong was known as DJ Skinny Bones). Eli Gesner is to blame for the loss of lots of classic Hip-Hop video footage that many would die to see these days, including the acclaimed Jay-Z & Big L freestyle and Large Professor writing a rhyme and freestyling it for the first time before it became his verse for Main Source’s Live At The BBQ. Shame on him!
Although the full video of this has been on the internets for awhile now, I just recently stumbled on it, so I’m assuming there are other heads who have yet to see it in it’s entirety themselves. Props to the original uploader. Enjoy this nostalgic piece of skateboarding and Hip-Hop history, and you can read a behind-the-scenes interview with Jeff Pang & Eli Genser over at T.R.O.Y..
DOWNLOAD: Zoo York Mixtape I (Full Video)