Snowboarding has long been soundtracked by hip hop music – in fact the sport's explosion from the early 90s through to the millenium coincided with a golden era for rap artists. Who can forget JP Walker's ender in True Life, set to Ante Up, Fredi Kalbermatten's debut part combined with Gang Starr's Full Clip or – shit – everything about MFM?
We were therefore pretty excited to learn that YES Snowboards have collaborated with legendary hip hop photographer Chi Modu on a new range of boards. Born in Nigeria, Chi moved with his family a teenager to the East Coast of America, where he defied the more traditional expectations of his parents to pursue a career behind the lens. His big break came at The Source mag, for whom he set about capturing the rising stars of the rap music scene.
Now several of his iconic images will grace a limited edition "Greats X Chi" model from YES – including The Notorious B.I.G, Wu-Tang Clan, Eazy-E and Tupac Shakur. And while it's easy to scoff at snowboarding – the ultimate white kids' sport – associating itself with black artists who came up from the street, Chi senses a shared attitude between the two worlds.
"All art forms have a similar trajectory, especially if they are art forms that come to disrupt what was there before," he explains. "So snowboarding disrupted skiing, and hip hop disrupted R&B, pop music, fashion... everything at once!"
"The new board looks like a step up"
On the technical side, we were massive fans of last year's YES Greats, and the new board looks like a step up. It comes in 151, 154, 156 and 159 cm lengths and features an innovative asymmetrical twin design that encompasses both the flex and an asymmetrical "MidBite" within the sidecut for maximum edge hold. It even comes in a matching soft bag (see above). The Greats X Chi retails at $799 but you'll need to be quick to pick one up – these bad boys are strictly limited edition.
Find out more and purchase one at the YES online store.