It is no secret that we are big fans of 90s skateboarding here at Muckmouth, and when talking about this era in skateboarding, there are some names that come up in almost every conversation - Kareem Campbell is one of those names. Along with the street founders of the late eighties, this formative period shaped everything that is happening today. Most of the progression and innovation was coming out of the World camp - where Kareem and his friends took care of business for the whole decade, and beyond.
Not only did he skate with power, style and a sick selection of technical tricks, Kareem had something that you can't practice or learn, he was simply cool as fuck - adverts, outifts, graphics, video parts, everything - always at the top of his game, add Menace in to the mix and forgetaboutit. In short, if you skated during this era and wasn't a Kareem fan... then fuck, just stop reading now.
We virtually sat down with Kareem and asked him some stuff that he hopefully hasn't been asked a million times before.
Alright Kareem, thanks for doing this man. Can you just give us a quick intro into how you got into skating? There wasn't a huge amount of black skaters at the time...
I first started skating locally in my neighborhood, then I start going to Venice Beach.
Was World your first sponsor? You seemed to be on there when you were pretty young? How did you get hooked up over there?
My first sponsor was Powell Peralta, for about a week but I was really already getting flowed by World Industries from Jeff Hartsell and Jesse Martinez.
So then you went to Blue for a while with Jason Lee and Dune, who else was on the team? That was with Brad Dorfman right? Is that why it didn't last?
Yes I started blue skateboards with Jason Lee and Dune and I got Steven Cales on. Haha, Brad was cool but he just got greedy a times.
Then back to World, were you tight with Rocco?
We were tight but I was really tight with Rodney Mullen you know, he was like my idol.
I know a lot of people didn't really get on with him, but you were there for ages - what did you think about his way of doing things?
He did business very good, he's the one that changed it for most pros to even get paid big checks.
You started Menace but didn't put yourself on the team, I always wondered about that, what was the deal there?
I felt it was better to give them guys a chance because they were all good skaters and plus we were all coming from the same house, no immediate star at the beginning.
Staying with Menace for a while, I always loved everything that you guys put out. Although by their own admission the team was not technically the best out there, they were just amazing, the whole vibe was. Did you know it was going make such a big impact?
Menace wasn't about having the illest kid that's going out and killing himself to be what the company was, it was about real core skaters.
Anyone that was briefly on Menace that didn't get an ad or anything? There was definitely a certain type of skater that you went for.
Not everybody got ads, but everybody got paid and travelled worldwide.
He's one of my favourite skaters, but Pupeki didn't seem quite as 'gangster' as the others, whilst still managing to fit in perfectly - where there any riders that tried to get on that just didn't fit the Menace mould?
Pupecki always fitted in it's just he was a different type of core skater, and there were a lot of skaters that wanted to ride for us but it wasn't really so much that we want to just get anybody, we wanted to keep real skating - not just for a check or to be with the poppin' team.
That lost Fabian section that came out recently was sick, how close were you to actually getting a full length Menace video out? Would be dope to see.
Yea Fabe part was real dope, but with the Menace video we were really trying to bring it to a whole nother level and I wanted it to be at its highest level, so that's pretty much how do I was handling the vid.
Now, I have to ask this - why on earth were you not in the Menace EpiclyLater'd?
All I can say is that Patrick tried a million and 1 times and I kept flaking, plus my travels and different things I had going on in my life, basically I fucked up. But maybe...
It was a sick season, really good to see what all those guys are up to now. Do you keep in contact with any of them anymore?
Yes certain ones we keep in contact on a regular phone basis or if not social media make sure that we all stay in touch.
Is Fabian getting out anytime soon? He was popping off with his acting and stuff for a while there.
Fabian should be out next year around March and his acting is amazing.
Alright, then there was all that shit with the names, some real bad luck there - or just a lack of checking each time?
It was just a lot of mismanagement that was going on internally with World Industries but it taught me a lot.
And so after a brief hiatus, City Stars is back - how is that all going man?
Citystars now is doing really amazing, I like it because it's more of a core skate company and we're takin our time, we doing it right I'm not in no rush.
Is there going to be a video?
There's definitely going to be a video and will probably be the most amazing video ever with Menace love in it too.
You've had some ridiculous riders come through, I mean you gave P-Rod his first break, are you proud of how he's doing? He probably owes you a beer or two man! ha.
I am proud of every rider that has rode for my company and they all have natural talents and gifts, but Prod really just shined, he is God's gift to skateboarding.
My girlfriend was pregnant at the time with Kareem Jr.