Skatemaster Tate: Skate Rock Legend

“One way or another, skating relates to just about every part of my life.”

- Skatemaster Tate  


MC, skater, crate digger, SK8-TV host, Thrasher Magazine contributor, skate rock champion, LA rap pioneer.

Skatemaster Tate, born Jorge 'Gerry' Hurtado, could be labeled a range of guises. An avid thrasher as a teen growing up in Los Angeles, Tate became a top skate competitor quickly, but ultimately decided to ditch one deck for another, establishing himself as one of LA's original vinyl-collecting hip-hoppers making beats and spitting raps about skateboarding, halfpipes, and the best taco place in San Francisco.

Unlike the gang references and extravagance that permeated the lyrical content of most hip-hop in the 80's, Tate's tracks worked to bring together skate and hip-hop; two worlds converging into music that Tate and his fellow skating cohorts dubbed skate rock. “It’s all in the attitude,” explained Tate in an interview with People Magazine in 1987. “It’s punk rock and skating rolled up in a ball of confusion and screaming down the alley in a gutter.” Tate was creating music for skaters, like the Del-Tones did for surfers.

Tate devoted much of his life to pushing around on wheels, and more often than not, popped up in Thrasher Magazine's music section next to feature articles about Steve Caballero. Known for his abundance of knowledge on skate history and underground music - Tate was part of a growing underground movement of hip-hop heads incorporating funk and break beats - Tate was chosen by Nickelodeon to host their hour-long ode to the skate life, SK8-TV.

The show, which Tate hosted with the ever-annoying Matthew Lillard, was the first dedicated to skateboarding and it's encompassing culture, and was highly influential to a generation of skaters in the early 90s. Directed by Stacy Peralta, SK8-TV offered up hand-held camera footage and commentary from its beloved host and relevant skate lords of the time including Tony Hawk, Lance Mountain, Mike McGill, and Christian Hosoi.

After being diagnosed and battling inoperable liver cancer, Tate passed away this morning, but not without much regard for his overwhelming influence and impression he left on not only the skate world, but also the music sphere. Friends, collaborators, and admirers all took to Instagram this morning to show their love for Tate and his infectious character, including Cut Chemist, formerly of Ozomatli and Jurassic 5, pro-skater Steve Caballero, photographer Atiba Jefferson, and skaters Jeff Grosso and Alex Olson.