Profilin’ With Neftalie Featuring Kareem Campbell

Hello folks, welcome to the latest installment of Profilin’ with Kareem Campbell. I thought it would be great to continue with one of the people that Guy felt had the most impact on the game, the legendary Kareem Campbell. I caught up with Kareem to shoot some photos and touch base on what’s going on with him, the Dallas scene and the new City Stars squad.profilin-solo-with-kareem-copy

Hey brother how is everything going?
Everything is great, the new site www.citystarsskateboarding.com just launched and it’s looking lovely. The new squad is already out there making it happen.

Nice! I saw that new footage of Andrew Pott and it was sick.
Yep, that’s the ‘hood Tom Penny right there. You can print that I said that [laughs]. Game anywhere you put him; Pott equals tricks going down, and smooth style. You saw him bang it out at Wallenberg. He held it down at the Maloof Cup, too, just slidin’ into the mix.

He definitely put in work there. He’s a skater every kid would be into because he’s just like them—working! I laughed watching him at the Go Skateboarding Day contest in Venice, he was just getting’ money. They had to start making him do two tricks to everyone else’s one for prize money because he was cleaning house.
Yeah I heard about that [laughs]. That’s how you know you’re from the streets, you gotta work twice as hard to get the same thing

He still got paid though, they told him two tricks and he just did two. I also think a lot of people were really impressed with him all around at the Maloof Cup. Everyone asked whether he was on Nike SB because he fit the team, and has been rocking their gear for a while. Care to shed any light on these rumors, brother?
Yeah, I know all about those rumors, but we can’t talk about that just yet. You’ll just have to wait and see on the that one [laughs].

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Now I know he came from Shorty’s, where did Aquil come from?
Ahh, Aquil. He came from Zoo and I’m not sure which is more crazy, his skating or his mouth [laughs]. He’s like me when I was younger, just skating and being reckless.

I definitely experienced those things with him, the mouth and the skating were both off the chain.
That’s the truth, I remember you telling me he acted crazy, but he got the hardflip backlip in three tries.

Yeah, it was pretty gnarly. I don’t know what popped more sh-t, his mouth or his feet [laughs]. Ok, let’s talk about the rest of the new squad. Who’s on the team now and can you tell me a little about them and did you find all the new ams in Dallas?
The new pros are Andrew Pott, Aquil Braithwaite, and myself. The new ams are Ke’chaud Johnson, Ryan Strader, Josh Love who are from Texas and Tulio De Oliveira, representing for Brazil. Each of them has the quality that we looked for within the last City Stars Crew. We wanted kids who were just going to be 100 percent skateboarding everyday, and that’s what we have again.

I heard Chris Ortiz said they murdered all the spots when they came to L.A.?
Yep, you know how we do, industry takeover! We just put up Ke’Chaud’s footage and his press release and that kid is a beast. He can skate anything and just has no fear. He rolled into LA a few weeks ago and won the hometown heroes contest at the X-Games, too. Ryan Strader is like the Texas Marc Johnson, just on some next level sh-t. He’s getting his part done right now and it’s serious. Then there is Josh Love, the newest am, he reminds me a little of Tosh Townsend, not so much in tricks selection, but because he’s such a natural—that’s the way Josh is. But he’s tech, too, so he feels like an updated version. Just straight skate ability and he just shines every time we go out the way it used to be when we would go out with Gino [Iannucci] in the old days. Last, but not least we have Tulio, and he just proves once more that the Brazilians straight kill it. He’s been putting it down; there, here, and all over the globe for us, he actually just got back from Japan the other day. Those are all the new ams, but then we have the terror-squad, and those are cats we are grooming as our next ams when they are ready. Florida is about to represent on the terror squad pretty well soon too.

Is that where the best of the sponsor-me-tapes go?
Exactly. Kids send me your best footage, but remember I said your BEST footage. No slow-mo switch crooked grinds on benches. You need to send me the footage that shows you’re ready to be a City-Star.

Damn, I’m sure people remember how your old crew changed the game and can skate street and contests. It’s sort of the blueprint of having the best of both worlds and being pro these days.
Exactly, they’re all like that. Killin’ the streets, skate contests—it doesn’t matter. I’m telling you it’s the same as last time, City Stars raises top ams who become the best pros in the industry. I’m also going to let everyone know that I see you tryin’ to go after my ams ‘cause they tell me all the time. We have a family over here though, so I’m not tripping.

Now I know you have been in Dallas for a while, but I heard a rumor that you were moving back to L.A.?
Damn, where you getting all the dirt from [laughs]? Yeah, I’m getting a new spot here in L.A., so it will be easier for me with meetings and staying connected with the industry. I always love L.A. and it’s good to be here and have a steady base of operations. It also helps because the squad can always come back and forth to L.A. and have a place, too. We also have the place in N.Y., it just makes business flow easier. Then your east coast accounts know you have their back and are available, and the same for the West Coast and Midwest.

So, City Stars is handling their distribution this time right? How is that going and is it stressful?
No, I know what needs to get done and I have a good team under me. Right now we have Push Distribution, which distributes City Stars and we have Hype! Skateboards under our roof, as well. I’ll was at ASR with the boys, so everyone who wants to know what’s up can come by and see me.

You guys were tearing it up last ASR!
Well, you know how it goes, we know ‘Reem knows how to have a good time!

Do you plan on going on tour anytime soon? And how is Street Cinema II coming so far?
[Laughs] You do know everything going on huh?

I keep my ear to the streets! That’s my job. We haven’t even talked about Axion yet [laughs].
Ok, well I’ll answer all that but you sure you got enough space for all this [laughs].

I’m sure I can convince these guys to let me keep the tape going.
We are working out our tour schedule right now, so if people want to get on the tour they can just hit me up at the show. Japan really wants us to come through—we’re working on that and Spain, and we have been doing little domestic tours in the Midwest lately. Just going on missions and doing surprise appearances at contests, etcetera. We are going to do a big domestic tour in a minute too. My main thing is to be available to the shops to let them know City Stars is down for them and what’s gonna stoke out their kids. None of us are far from where we started, and I want the company to reflect that, we are all just skateboarders, man.

Well said. Do you feel like this new squad is going to be as big as P.Rod, Mikey, Devin, Spanky and the boys?
This is just the new version with the same strength as before. Trust me the future is lookin’ bright.

The rest of my interview with Kareem went on for another three hours. We talked about the old squad, his favorite skaters, Axion’s history and relaunch, Guy and Gino, Menace, Girl/Sister, Rocco and Rodney, and the joys of skating in Japan. However ‘ Reem was right, we can only have so much in one interview… stay tuned for part 2…

But here’s a gem for all those who can’t wait….

So tell me how Axion started?
Originally, I had done some designs for Jeremy Wray’s company Dukes and I got a call from Steve [Rocco] when I was in Japan on tour. It was totally out of the blue and I didn’t expect it. He said, “Kareem those designs you did came out real nice, but Rodney and I want to talk to talk to you about something.” I wasn’t sure if I was in trouble or not. I kept asking him what it was about, but he wouldn’t tell me. It definitely made me think about whether or not I had done anything wrong in the past weeks, which of course I had [laughs].

To be continued…
—Neftalie