How hip-hop, hardcore and punk music defined skateboarding videos (and vice versa)

The widespread and subversive influence of skate culture on fashion, film, art and music is often overlooked. 

Operating as a counterculture which carries a specific energy and attitude, the influence of skating on music, specifically, often has little to do with the sport itself, but with the aura of rebellion that is seen in those who participate in it. 

Naturally, the spirit of skating as a counterculture finds its relatives in compatible music genres.

skate punk bands

It’s why the soundtracks of the most popular skateboarding videos are littered with songs from hip-hop, punk music and hardcore rock, three genres which, at one time or another, carried the same rebellious spirit as skating itself. 

Below, we’re taking a look through some of the hip-hop, punk and hardcore songs in popular skateboarding videos, and tracing why they became synonymous with the sport, and vice versa.    


The worlds of skateboarding and hip-hop were destined to collide. Both born from the streets and both maestros of rhythm and flow, the two countercultures find traces of themselves in fashion and music, a connection some have said dates back to the 2000s.

2008’s seminal skateboarding video Baker Has A Deathwish — which features starry skaters like Terry Kennedy and Dustin Dollin — has a soundtrack that reads like a who’s who of old-school hip-hop. 

The Notorious B.I.G. soundtracked the manoeuvres of Antwuan Dixon with Living In Pain, while Snoop Dogg’s Nuthin’ But a G Thang and Lil Wayne’s Blowing Up Fast appear elsewhere in the video’s hip-hop catalogue.

The involvement of the latter rapper is particularly notable, since Lil Wayne is a notoriously passionate skater, and owns a private skate park in his home. 

Elsewhere, in the Spike Jonze-directed skateboarding video Mouse, skaters like Little Keenan are seen kick-flicking in tandem with LL Cool J’s I Can’t Live Without My radio, while fellow Girl Skateboards production Yeah Right! features hip-hop legends like Talib Kweli (Get By), Ghostface Killah (Apollo Kids) and Nas (Made You Look).

Those are perhaps the starriest hip-hop names in some of the more popular videos, but even the more recent productions, like Trailblazer, feature soundtracks brimming with the likes of Playboi Carti, A$AP Rocky and Chief Keef. 


Far beyond providing the pulsating, adrenaline-pinching soundtracks to any number of nimble skating manoeuvres, hardcore rock dials up skating’s unkempt aesthetic and takes it to the stratosphere.

Guns N’ Roses in particular seem to be a muse for the grungier skaters in the scene, with their teeth-baring 1987 track Out ta Get Me appearing in Baker Has a Deathwish. 

For their part, Dinosaur Jr. found themselves in what is perhaps the most formative skateboarding video in history, with Just Like Heaven soundtracking 1991’s Video Days.

That video, also directed by Jonze and featuring future movie star Jason Lee, is littered with rock’s greatest names from Black Flag to Hüsker Dü.

Jonze later helmed Girl Skateboards’ fellow classic Mouse, which features the namesake song English hardcore band Black Sabbath.    


So intertwined is the love affair between skating and punk music that the two forms birthed a whole new genre in the 1980s, as skate-punk began tearing up subcultures around the world.

California punk bands like Black Flag, Adolescents, and Circle Jerks paved the way for skate punk with their fast and raw music, which replicated the feel of skating. Punk music created the soundtrack that would epitomise the skateboarding revolution. 

While there would simply be too many punk bands with skate-influenced songs to name, honourable mentions are in order for One Man Army and The Loudmouths, whose tracks Another Dead End Story and Don’t Wanna Go featured in Think Skateboards’ 1998 classic Dedication.

For their part, Creature Skateboards paid homage to seminal punk rockers The Spits in Born Dead, showing Al Partanen’s skills alongside their track Bring Down. 

Meanwhile The soundtrack of Virtual Reality — the 1993 video starring kick-flip and flatground ollie inventor Rodney Mullen — is populated with enough punk bands to induce an eardrum rupture.

Olivelawn, Primus, and Tilt Wheel appear on the soundtrack, though it’s The Offspring’s 1992 track Session that steals the show in terms of punkish attitude.