Tyshawn Jones Am Spotlight

At a glance, you might be one of the unfortunate souls tempted to lump all the Supreme/FA kids into one basket. Over the past few years, specifically since “cherry” (’14)—they have undeniably crashed the party en masse and become a new face in the team huddle. Tyshawn Jones rose up with the Bill Strobeck wave along with the rest of them, but he too is entirely his own person. He doesn’t drink or smoke weed, his favorite skater growing up was Andrew Reynolds, and he even once rode for Toy Machine. On the cusp of cementing his first solo video part ever for Away Days, and after skitching the curtains to Pussy Gangster in Paris, here are 101 reasons Tyshawn Jones should not be a name you lose in the bunch.-Mackenzie Eisenhour
Photos by Dave Chami

 

Kickflip Crooked Grind
Kickflip crooked grind. NYC, NY. (click to enlarge)

How’s your part looking?
Yeah. We just been out here trying to get it for the last little bit.

Is this the first big video you’ve filmed a part for?
Yeah. I hadn’t done like a solo part before. I did “cherry,” but that was more like everybody together in like a big montage. This feels a little different because you’re on your own—you ain’t got nobody else to back you up [laughs]. I try not to think about it too much. I just do my thing and whatever happens happens. I just do me and it seems to work.

It must be a different vibe too from filming just with the homies. Has anyone blown you away in person?
I would say Lucas [Puig]. I like Lucas’ and Dennis [Busenitz]’s skating a lot.

What was growing up like between Jersey and the Bronx?
I lived in Jersey for a few years. I wasn’t born there, but I just moved there for a little bit. Then I moved back to the Bronx. That’s different because Jersey isn’t really cityish. When I moved to New York it definitely changed me. I got street-smart living in the Bronx. I know the streets. I be in the streets all the time.

Do you prefer the city life to the suburbs?
Yeah. I hate the suburbs [laughs]. It’s boring.

Who were some of your favorites growing up?
I didn’t really have a favorite skater ’cause I didn’t know who anybody was. I was just doing it at first. When I got more into it I liked [Bryan] Herman and [Andrew] Reynolds and those kinds of dudes. I’ll fuck with the way he skates. That was kind of what I wanted to skate like.

 

 

Front Crook
Frontside crooked grind. NYC, NY. (click to enlarge)

First video?
First video was YouTube [laughs]. I used to go home every day though and watch Reynolds’ Baker 3 [’05] part. That was the first one I had ever seen, so watching him skate I was psyched. I wanted to skate like him. I wanted to be on Baker when I was a kid.

I’m sure a lot of other kids did too. As far as getting sponsored, I read the story of you showing the iPhone clip of the 360 clip to one of the dudes at Supreme. Was that pretty much the first hookup?
Yeah. Supreme were the first people to notice me and sponsor me. I started getting boards from that shop. Then I sent my footage to Toy Machine and got on that.

You just sent it in cold?
Yeah. I just got the email from somebody, and I sent Mike Sinclair my footage. At first he was just like, “Maybe, but keep sending footage. I want to see how your progression is.” So I sent him another tape, and he was like, “All right, we want to put you on Toy Machine, Dekline, and Pig Wheels.” I was like, “I just want to ride for Toy Machine,” because I always wanted to ride for Emerica to be like Reynolds and the Baker dudes [laughs]. I wanted to be like them, so I wanted to ride for Emerica and Spitfire. So I just started getting Toy Machine boards.

And then eventually you were one of the last new guys to get on FA when you quit Toy Machine?
Yeah. I think I was the last of the younger kids to get on.

 

 

TyshawnJones-Backside360
Backside 360. Stuttgart, Germany. PHOTO / Rubio (click to enlarge)

Can you break down your current living situation? I was told you live with your mom and sister in the Bronx. I also heard you have a pit bull.
We have a bulldog. It’s cool. It’s just normal, nothing too crazy. I live in an all right area.

What do they think about you traveling around the world skateboarding?
They don’t know. I don’t talk to anybody in my area like that. I just keep it moving. Go skate.

Are you still growing? I was told you’re already in the “tall skater” zone? Does skating get easier or harder?
My dad’s like 6’3”, so I don’t think I’m done yet. Maybe I’ll get to like 6’2” or 6’1”. I don’t know. As far as skating, everything gets smaller the taller you get.

How was the whole adidas filming mission in Barcelona? I guess they had like 30 or 40 people out there to film the video intro.
It was a crazy one. There was like three different groups because there were so many of us. I don’t think I’ve rolled with that many people. I roll deep in New York though. Everybody knows me. You see me, you probably see 10 other of my homies with me. I’m always with my homies and my niggas.

Was this your first time in Barcelona?
Yeah. It was cool. I liked it. It was fun. I didn’t talk to too many people, but everywhere you go is different from where you’re from. Especially if you go out of the country. It’s just a different environment.

Can you break down half-Cab flipping that BCN seven block? Do you call it a half-Cab? I know you kids like to say fakie 180 flip or whatever.
Half-Cab flip. Everybody said those stairs were really big, but I thought it was pretty okay. I don’t like to take people’s word on spots. They’re always like, “Oh my God, this spot is huge.” Then when I get there it’s like, “It’s not that bad.” I just kind of got there and was like, “Damn, I want to half-Cab flip this.” Another one I learned from Reynolds [laughs]. I started trying it and I was riding so fast fakie, I tried to do a powerslide to not go on one try and spun back around to regular and twisted my ankle. Like rolling up to it I rolled my shit. It was swollen, so I was like, “Fuck, I can’t try anymore.” So we sat there and everybody put their stuff away, and we were just like, “Damn.” It took me maybe 15 tries or 20 tries to start flicking it right. The first 10 were going like Cab flip or half-Cab double flip. But it started getting closer, then the rolled ankle happened. It was the second to last day, so everybody was saying like, “We’ll come back tomorrow.” But I was like, “I don’t want to come back tomorrow.” I hate going back to spots. I mean, if you have to do it, you have to do it. But I would prefer to always do it the first day ’cause otherwise you gotta go and start all over again. So I was like, “Does anybody have some painkillers?” I took like two painkillers and the pain in my ankle just went away. Everybody else had already left because they thought we were done. So it was just like me and two people there. I took the painkillers and started trying it again. I don’t know, the first one I caught I just did it. It took like six or seven tries.

 

TyshawnJones-Fontside-feeble-grind
Frontside feeble grind. Philadelphia, PA. PHOTO / Taketomo (click to enlarge)

Kids go with half-Cab. Can we just lay down that marker right here?
It’s a half-Cab. That’s the name of it. That’s how I grew up hearing it. I’m not gonna switch it. It’s like when people say front nosegrind but back overcrook. I always say front overcrook if it’s an overcrook. It’s not a nosegrind—a nosegrind is straight. If it’s turned, it’s an overcrook. You going over to crook. Likewise, I’ve always heard it as half-Cab flip, not fakie 180 flip. I mean, it’s the same thing. But fakie 180 flip could be any way. I just say half-Cab flip because everybody knows what that is. If it’s frontside, I call it a fakie frontside flip. People calling half-Cabs fakie 180s are just making things difficult [laughs].

You guys were just in Paris for Pussy Gangster. How many times have you been there now? What are your thoughts on France and the city?
I’ve been out there like four times now. I like Paris. It’s a fun experience with all the homies out there.

Was the bus skitch ender after the back lip improvised?
Yeah. That wasn’t planned at all. Everybody know me. If you see me, you see me in the streets. Everybody see me flying past on a car. That’s all day every day.

How long did you hold on? Victory lap?
I don’t know. Just like a block or two. I wanted to go back and see my clip more than anything [laughs]. I came back around because I wanted to see my clip. But I would have held it otherwise.

That’s your second ender after the shirt ripping in “cherry” [’14]. Are you making that your trademark?
End every video by ripping my shirt off? No [laughs]. It’s just how it worked out. Nothing is planned; it’s just what’s going through my mind at the time. The bus was right there, I wanted to grab that shit, so I did it.

 

Tyshawn-Jones-switch-kickflip-frontside-boardslide
Switch kickflip frontside boardslide. Miami, FL. PHOTO / Taketomo (click to enlarge)

Are you still not smoking weed or drinking?
No. Everybody that knows me knows that I don’t do that. If you know me personally that is. Kids seem to think that I do because my friends do or whatever. Kids hit me up all the time like, “Do you smoke and drink?” I’m like, “No.” If you don’t know me, you can’t really speak on me.

Related to that, you seem pretty focused on succeeding in the long run and taking advantage of these opportunities. Was that something that came from growing up without much?
It’s just the way I am. When you don’t have certain things… Some people have nice houses already. Some people’s parents have that and they have access to that. These are things that I’ve wanted growing up. I wanted a big house. I wanted a nice car. And those are things I want to work towards doing. So I’m trying to do that. It’s funny though. People are always saying, “You’re crazy if you think you’re gonna get that.” But I like when people tell me that, because I just can’t wait to say, “I showed you.” If I tell people, “I want that house, but it’s two million dollars,” and they tell me I can’t get it… I can get whatever I want if I put my mind to it. You can’t put somebody down. That’s just what I believe. Whether it’s from skating or not, I know that I’m gonna get it, because I’m gonna do what it takes to get it. I’m going to work hard enough to get what I want in life. And I just think smoking and drinking is a waste of time. It’s a setback. It’s a distraction from the goals I’m trying to achieve.

I suppose we have to do a Hardies question for the plug, right? It’s supposed to be you, your friend Claydee, Na-kel, and Kevin Bradley, but I heard you actually do all of the work.
[Laughs] Yeah. Everybody thinks it’s just me, but it’s all of us. But not for long. We got workers now—we getting into big business. We got big deals now.

Moving it out of the garage?
Yeah. Moving it out of my room [laughs]. I ain’t rich. Ain’t no garage in apartment buildings.

You also have Illegal Civ ties too. Where did it start?
I think the universe works in weird ways. I feel like we would have all met somehow regardless. But I met Mikey [Alfred, founder of Illegal Civ] when I was out in LA filming for “cherry” (’14). He knew Nak and Kevin and all those guys obviously, but they weren’t there. Bill was filming a line at Lockwood, so to help out, Mikey drove me to Hollywood High. We ended up getting In-N-Out and have been friends ever since.

I was told you’re pretty well informed about luxury cars. What would your dream car be?
Yeah. That’s another one that a lot of people tell me I can’t have. I don’t really like saying dream car because there are new cars every year. I like a lot of cars. I can’t even name one. I like Luxury cars: BMW, Lamborghini, Rolls-Royce. Some people dream to have a Toyota. That’s their preference. I don’t. I like nice cars.

 

Halfcab Flip
Half-Cab flip. Barcelona, Spain. (click to enlarge)

Have you had anything new as far as acting projects?
We got some projects in the works. I don’t want to speak too soon on that. But if you see me on your local TV, it’s on.

Are you still rapping and making music?
We got some tracks. We might go on tour.

What’s your rap name?
Scrilla—because I’m about my money.

Who do you think lives a better lifestyle, pro skaters or signed musicians?
Signed musicians of course. But I guess it comes down to what you prefer. Skaters get to have a lot of fun in the streets. They [musicians] probably make more money though. Some people don’t care about money. Some people do.

Last meaningful conversation with Jason Dill?
I can’t think of any. We talked in Paris. We were talking about Hardies stuff. We’re gonna take him out of retirement and put him on. He’s got to get a trick first though [laughs].

Keys to life in 2016?
Do you. Don’t worry about nobody. Be happy. Don’t listen to “them.”

Best adidas shoe of all time?
Busenitz ADV.

Favorite Strobeck/Supreme release to date?
Joyride [’14]. That one was tight.

adidas’ Away Days available on iTunes now!

Stay tuned for the online premiere of Tyshawn’s part right here tomorrow.