Terell Robinson Interview

TERELL ROBINSON INTERVIEW


GET IT TWISTED

There’s a lot about Terell Robinson you might not expect-like his fascination with Kelso from That ’70s Show. Or that’s he’s a gearhead. Or that a black kid from Compton enjoys the album Seasons In The Abyss. All of that madness has made Terell into one of the brightest personalities on and off his board. Yeah, he may be a little too honest when it comes to mimicking his idols (JT, Reynolds, Lopez), but make no mistake: It won’t be long until kids start mimicking Terell.


Words by Carleton Curtis
Photography by Chris Ortiz


What’s good, Terell?
I’m just chillin’-’bout to get my hair did.

What’s up with that Camaro on your MySpace page?
That’s mine, man. The Z28. I’ve had it for two years and I’m putting a 383 in it hopefully. I don’t really know how to work on cars, so a friend of mine’s doing it.

How’d you get into muscle cars?
When I was a kid, an uncle of mine had a lot of muscle cars. His first car was a ’69, and ever since then I always wanted one of those damn things. I only have one car and it’s a ’94-I’ve only owned three cars during my life and they’ve all been Camaros (laughs).

What’s the fastest you’ve driven it?
Uhhh, not as quick as I’d like. My homey Dompierre’s … whoooo, that sh-t’s quick. I’ve maxed mine out, though, at 150 mph. But it went over a little bit, so I’ll say it went 160, 165 mph.

Don’t you have to be in the desert to go that fast?
Nah, man, you can be on the I-5 and be good as long as there’re no cars-and if you’re smart about it.

Seriously, you’ll get thrown in jail.
Oh yeah, that’s why I do it at three o’clock in the morning.

Have you ever been in jail before?
Oh no, and I never want to. My dad was in prison, but he’s out now. I guess he’s staying outta trouble, so I’m happy about that. I never visited him in prison, though-I don’t wanna go near a damn prison. Not to be rude or anything.

How many times has the Robinson family been shot at?
My dad’s been shot, I’ve been shot, two of my aunties have been shot, and about four of my uncles have been shot on my mom’s side. So there’s been a lot of us (laughs).

No sh-t.
Yeah, a lot of people thought I wasn’t gonna get caught up in that, and it definitely wasn’t my intention. You know, I’m not a thug or anything like that. Luckily, everybody in my family survived the shootings, but my auntie came close to dying. She got shot in the back of the head and the bullet ended up behind her eye or something crazy like that. It’s still in her head. She was just in the line of fire-that’s the wack part of it. Whenever I visit my homeys in Compton now, I just go right in and right out.

You grew up in Compton, right?
Yeah, born and raised. I moved out when I was fourteen, then went to Fillmore High and stayed out there for two years and came back to graduate. That’s when I got shot, so I moved away again ’cause I can’t really try to be skateboarding and deal with the haters out here. They see a young black man doing good and they hate on that sh-t. It sucks.

Why do you think that is?
Just ’cause you have something they don’t-that’s basically what it is. You got a lot of knuckleheads runnin’ around here. But I got a lot of knucklehead homeboys and I always try talking sense into them, you know?

How come so many people are fascinated by Compton?
I don’t know-maybe ’cause of Easy and Dre and everybody from back in the day. Kids get into it at a certain age and are like, “What!” You know what I’m saying? It’s Compton this, Compton that. To tell you the truth, I just got an N.W.A. tat on my wrist (laughs).

Did you ever see Wassup Rockers?
I’ve seen it, but I can’t remember it. I know it was a crazy-ass movie.

How long has Slayer been infiltrating Compton?
Basically, it’s time for some new noise in Compton. I just got sick of rap and threw that sh-t o the window. Growing up, I didn’t really have many black friends. My best friends were all Hispanic, and we were watching Erik Ellington’s part in Misled Youth one day and Slayer was on it. Then one of my friends who just passed away got a mix CD with Slayer on it, and I’ve been a fan ever since. I’m into lots of different forms of music, not just what you’d think would come outta Compton. If something sounds good to me, I’m gonna go and buy that album. I’m not some downloader or some fool YouTubing sh-t-I’m about supporting music ’cause that’s what keeps me skating.

What do your black hip-hop friends think of you?
They’re cool. Most of my fake friends in high school were like, “You’re just trying to be white,” and duh, duh, duh, duuuh. But some other black friends were like, “Dawg, that’s tight. You doin’ it, man.” But I’m not even trying to come up with a style-it just happened.

When white people love hip-hop too much, they’re called wiggers. So when black people like metal too much, does that make you a bonkey?
(Laughs) Naw, I never got called any of that. The only crazy thing I got called recently was “black Jesus” and “the Predator,” ’cause I had long braids, doin’ the black thing. I don’t discriminate against white people who love rap. I think that sh-t’s tight. It’s the opposite for me, because I’m into white music and all that “devil sh-t,” like my family would say.

All right. So how’d you bust your ankle?
That just happened in Australia, and I was psyched it happened at the end of the tour. We were skating that big four that Chris Cole skated in New Blood and I was trying to nollie back three it and damn near almost broke my sh-t. But after a while, I was able to wiggle my toes and put pressure on it. Except the next day, that sh-t swelled up to like a bowling ball, dude. I was scared as sh-t.

What’s the worst time you’ve been broken off?
Probably when I started skating. I was at a park one day trying to half-Cab board this rail and some kid randomly stopped in front of me, so I tried dodging him and whooshed my board out. My leg went forward around the rail and I went backward … and dude, I almost broke the biggest bone in your leg-whatever that sh-t’s called.

The tibia or the fibula or whatever.
That was my worst injury besides being shot.

Where’d you get shot?
In my ass. Everybody know I got shot in the ass. (Laughs) There’s no bone and that’s where all the meat is at, but you still gotta be careful with the important sh-t in front of you, ya know? You never know where a bullet’s gonna go in your body-that sh-t moves around like a worm. It was a 9mm.

How long did it take for you to sit down comfortably again?
Actually, it wasn’t that long ’cause it was the inner part of my ass, not the buttcheek.

You got shot in the taint?
It was actually close as f-k to my asshole. I got like four stitches or something crazy. I was scared that I wasn’t gonna be able to go no more, like I was gonna have to hold it, ’til it healed. But it all worked out.

I’m sure everyone’s glad it did. You’ve had a lot of sponsorship changes lately. What’s the story behind moving from City to Darkstar?
Naw, the changes haven’t been too crazy. I’d never disrespect anyone who helped me out. I was with City for a really long time and I was down for them. Tony’s my boy, you know-he’s like my brother. But I needed change, you know? No disrespect to anyone at Street Corner. There was never a beef.

Everybody thought you’d be a Black Box kid. What happened with Fallen and all that?
I don’t know. Everybody thought I was gonna go to Zero or Mystery ’cause I got on Fallen. Lopez and Jamie were psyched on me. Things just didn’t work out, I guess. I’m working on Fallen’s new video, but my foot’s still f-ked up.

Is Lopez still your favorite skater?
I love Lopez to death-that’s my dawg. It’s amazing skating and being around him. Jamie, Reynolds, and Lopez are always gonna be my favorite skaters, no matter what. I don’t think he would remember, but the first time I ran into him was when they were working on the Chomp On This video and Jamie did that kickflip footplant over the table in Hollywood, and Lopez was in the background in the corner, laying down with his hat over his head, falling asleep. When he woke up, I came and said what’s up to him. I was in shock mode, but I didn’t wanna be a groupie or anything. He was just one of those guys that made me go, “Damn! I wanna be like that!”

What do you think makes a pro skateboarder a pro skateboarder? Is there a secret formula?
There’s no secret formula. But I can say to people who wanna go pro just to keep a positive-ass attitude and don’t be a dick to your fans. Do what you gotta do, go party, go skate, and don’t let the little sh-t get in the way of things. One little slip and you can be done, man.

You seem to have backside 360 kickflips on lock. What’s the next banger you’re working on for the best-trick contest?
I just wanna take that to something bigger than I’ve ever done before when my foot heals. But next up is some Daewon Song-type sh-t, like combinations. But on handrails, not tables or banks. When you see it, you see it, you smell me?

What are you gonna do when you turn 21 this year?
I don’t know, but I have a couple of months to think about it. My friends are talking about getting me a stripper (laughs).

But you can get a stripper when you’re under 21.
For sure, I’ve been to parties when fools turn seventeen and there’s a stripper. Let’s do this damn thing.

All right, when Chet Thomas decides you’re worthy of a Darkstar pro model, what kind of graphic are you coming out of the gates with?
Just something original. The company has to do what it’s gotta do, but I want a twist on my sh-t.


, and Lopez are always gonna be my favorite skaters, no matter what. I don’t think he would remember, but the first time I ran into him was when they were working on the Chomp On This video and Jamie did that kickflip footplant over the table in Hollywood, and Lopez was in the background in the corner, laying down with his hat over his head, falling asleep. When he woke up, I came and said what’s up to him. I was in shock mode, but I didn’t wanna be a groupie or anything. He was just one of those guys that made me go, “Damn! I wanna be like that!”

What do you think makes a pro skateboarder a pro skateboarder? Is there a secret formula?
There’s no secret formula. But I can say to people who wanna go pro just to keep a positive-ass attitude and don’t be a dick to your fans. Do what you gotta do, go party, go skate, and don’t let the little sh-t get in the way of things. One little slip and you can be done, man.

You seem to have backside 360 kickflips on lock. What’s the next banger you’re working on for the best-trick contest?
I just wanna take that to something bigger than I’ve ever done before when my foot heals. But next up is some Daewon Song-type sh-t, like combinations. But on handrails, not tables or banks. When you see it, you see it, you smell me?

What are you gonna do when you turn 21 this year?
I don’t know, but I have a couple of months to think about it. My friends are talking about getting me a stripper (laughs).

But you can get a stripper when you’re under 21.
For sure, I’ve been to parties when fools turn seventeen and there’s a stripper. Let’s do this damn thing.

All right, when Chet Thomas decides you’re worthy of a Darkstar pro model, what kind of graphic are you coming out of the gates with?
Just something original. The company has to do what it’s gotta do, but I want a twist on my sh-t.