Like a true leader, Ramelle Knight understands what he must do in order to be followed. Along with partner, Calvin Sayles, the New York native leads Dipskate, a “freestyle rolling” team supported by and affiliated with Dipset and lifestyle brand, B.Unique. Although the extreme sport is relatively new, the culture has always existed, explained Knight, but people are finally starting to get up on game.
“We’re here to show them that the style is bigger than what everybody thought,” he said. “Everybody now, with the clothing lifestyle, is wearing the colorful hoodies with the logos, the chains on the wallets, the style of jeans — That’s all skater-influenced, we’ve been doing all of that for years.”
Although Knight refers to the overall style as skater style, don’t get it twisted, there is a difference between the boards and the blades.
“No disrespect to skateboarders, but we do things ten times better than they can,” boasts Knight, citing that rollerblades are less cumbersome than skateboards, they’re faster and allow for more tricks. He even brags about converting a few non-believers to rollerblades.
“I made 10-15 skateboarders switch from skateboards to skates just because they saw me doing back flips and spins … it must have been big to them in their vision for them to just flip the script like that. Even most kids in my neighborhood are like, ‘aw that’s a white boy sport,’ but they see me in the videos and now they’re like, ‘yo I’m gonna get a pair of skates,’ real recognize real.” An apt statement considering how he and his partner got affiliated with Dipset.
Several years ago, New York filmmakers, the Brown Brothers (Chris and Courtney Brown) ended up delving into the business of freestyle skating and by natural progression developed a partnership with two of the pro-skaters they were following — Knight and Sayles. Their partnership was led by B.Unique & Co, a brand representing the skating lifestyle, by combining the sport with music and fashion. The foursome, eventually seeking new ways to expand their brand and possibilities, got their wish in 2006. Diplomats Records co-CEO Jim Jones approached The Brown Brothers about sponsorship after viewing their documentary (on the culture), “Know Difference,” which received critical acclaim at several New York screenings (available for international release on Fall ’07).
“That’s why I said real recognize real,” said Knight on being approached by Jim Jones, “we just present it in the best way that we like to see it and how we like it to be out there…so whatever you doing, you hustle to get yours and if somebody sees it’s real, they’re going to respect it.”
Respect is something Knight had to earn growing up in The Bronx, where all the other kids played basketball and football. Although he dabbled in the typical sports, being unique was something he always liked to do, and a skater was born.
Now, after years of practicing his craft, he has come a long way from the teenager who used to hang out at New York City’s popular teen club, Skate Key.
“That’s where I got this from,” said Knight. “I used that to build myself and I think that made me a better skater because even at ¡¥The Key,’ you learn how to do those moves on the floor when the music is playing and all that. I learned how to skate backward and forward doing little tricks…so that made my skating now „o my freestyle rolling, even better because I taught myself the fundamentals for several years, and then I started doing extreme.”
With world travel under his belt, accolades as one of the best pro-skaters in the world, music video appearances and other TV appearances in the works, Knight still finds time to be a role model with his own squad of teenage skaters called GK and still remains humble.
“It’s crazy to see all this stuff going on. I never got into skating to do anything like this [be on TV and stuff like that]. We’re just trying to make freestyle rolling big and let everybody know what’s going on over here.”