Minnesota and the Juicy Lucy, sunshine and beautiful women, and skateboarding and hip hop. Some things just go well together and last weekend at US Bank Stadium the latter was on full display for locals of the Twin Cities. The festivities kicked off Thursday with a cast of Rhymesayers talent taking the stage MOTO X as the weekend progressed. A first for everyone in the cities, the X Games felt larger than life from the ground floor of US Bank Stadium.
The Pre Party
The X Games was off and running on Thursday, but Thursday night offered the world a little insight to one of the things that make Minneapolis so great. The music scene here, from national artists stopping through to local artists making names, is one of the most under rated parts of the Twin Cities. At First Avenue, my personal favorite venue and a historic one at that, the X Games Pre Show kicked off with local favorite deM atlaS and Prof alongside fellow Rhymesayer Aesop Rock. This show offered a small sample of the variety that makes Minnesota hip hop so great. First, deM atlaS took center stage to offer his grungy, “happy that I'm sad” style of hip hop. The way he creates a 90s grunge-feel in his voice while still bringing energy and happiness to the stage makes him one of the most unique artists I've seen live. Also, he has ups. Next up would be an artist who takes unique to a whole new level. Aesop Rock has the largest vocabulary in hip hop and sometimes is so much its off putting. I'm not the only one that thinks this, as he himself takes a look at himself and his wordsmith ways in his song "Shrunk," which he performed live. Personally, even though I have to look up every third word to understand him, Aesop, alongside DJ Zone and Rob Sonic, offered my favorite performance of the night. The night ended off with an action packed performance that was better suited for the ground floor at the X Games. I have seen Prof a handful of times now and it never disappoints. From his deafening screams to his unsavory dance moves to all around goofy personality, Prof was the perfect kick off performance to the high octane event.
Skateboard Big Air
I have watched big air on tv before, but I can't even put into words the intensity of the event. Standing at the bottom looking up was a surreal experience as the towering drop in was seemingly another day at the job for these competitors. While Elliot Sloan was the big winner on the big ramp, the crowd was the real winner. It was a day filled with firsts for Minneapolis. First time for many athletes competing, the first year of US Bank Stadium and the first X Games in the Twin Cities. Big Air's biggest moment was a last. Bob Burnquist, a legend and personal favorite of mine, announced this X Games would be his last. It was an honor and privilege to watch him perform one last time for the onlookers. While he wasn't able to put together a solid run in the finals, it was incredible just to watch a childhood idol compete.
Nothing quite feeds my soul like the combination of skateboarding and hip hop. The street skate saw its most notable competitor Ryan Sheckler take an early bow as he didn't advance to the finals. While Sheckler may have been the most known to the world, Minneapolis was focused on another skater, hometown hero Alec Majerus. He took in the moment and rode the crowd's energy all the way to a Silver Medal, falling just short of Kelvin Hoefler. Skateboard Street has always been my favorite comp to watch as the style is so prevalent. From rails to gaps to ledges and stairs, this comp brings everything into play. The experience of watching it up close and personal is something I won't soon forget.
While Skate Street is my favorite, and Big Air is the most death defying, Skate Park offers a healthy mix of both. With bowls, gaps and a unique Viking Ship in the middle, the Park competition was set to go. I was excited to watch Tom Schaar take to the course and he didn't disappoint. While he came up just shy of the gold medal, that honor went to Alex Sorgente, he did take home the silver. The Park comp offers a high-speed assault of tricks that keep the skaters on their toes. In what is essentially a four sectioned bowl, the skaters flipped, grind, and stalled in an event that slowly moved up my list of must see events at the X Games.
Closing Show: Atmosphere
While nothing quite compares like skateboarding and hip hop, there is one thing I can think of, Atmosphere and Minneapolis. The father and the son of a Southsider, Sean “Slug” Daley took to the stage with his lifelong friend and DJ Anthony “Ant” Davis. While legends took to the courses inside US Bank, this legendary duo was the main event of the weekend for myself. I have seen them a handful of times and each time it feels like the first. Slug brings a smile and personality that is rarely matched on stage and Ant spins crisp enough to forget it's live. The duo reminded me why they are can't miss by taking the crowd on a roller coaster of emotions. Reaching highs after a quick “wardrobe change”, Slug went right into "Sunshine" and dipping lows with hauntingly beautiful "Guarantees" and everything in between with songs like "Yesterday," "Trying To Find A Balance," and "Modern Man's Hustle." With the new US Bank Stadium in the background and the Minneapolis skyline in front of them, Atmosphere launched steam and streamers into the air as they put on a show to remember.
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