by Beck Trebesch
Rat Ratz 5 is a 14 minute skate part released on the Quartersnacks Youtube channel in November of 2020, featuring a talented team of youngsters from Milan, Italy. Posting a 36k view count at the time of writing, Ratz 5 is a charmingly grisly, effortlessly stylish, and undoubtedly promising look into what's to come from the peripheries of the skateboarding world.
First and foremost, what the Ratz lack in skating ability, they make up for in creative problem solving genius. One might walk away from a Ratz 5 thinking: “Wow! They really fucked that spot up!!!” And you would be right. I feel in most other instances, this would be to the detriment of the part, a distraction even, but in this unique moment, it comes off as endearing and authentic. The Ratz team finagle every little gap, ledge, and angle at the Mensana in a feat of distinctly urban ingenuity, building on each other’s technical prowess and creativity. There are so few shots in this part that feel the same even if it's the same 3-stair or ledge. Even when it seems the crew is going to run out of features to hit, they manage to pull out a new maneuver to keep the video fresh or in Italian, nuovo (see the 50-50 to late shuv, Rach’s Muska flip, and the back 5-0 to tailslide nose grab combo which is downright electric). As fun and accessible as the skating is in Ratz 5, Brisquit’s unpolished but patient filming and editing is the touch that elevates this video from novel, underground edit to contender for part of the year. Follow cams, side by side, front, back, above, below, you name it. Brisquit got the shot. It may not be as flashy, colorful, or manicured as other skateparts but it's so well-suited to the skaters, the spots, and the scuzzy beauty of Milano.
The second aspect of Ratz 5 that has kept me coming back probably once a week since its release is the compositional variation and cross cultural hybridity in just about every sliver of this part. Off rip, the music. Oh yea, this soundtrack fucks. If anyone reading this has also read my Collage review (ski movie), they’ll know how much music choice and sound balance can disrupt a part, no matter the quality of the actual talent on display. In this case, Brisquit loads up his utterly nasty quiver of ‘No Slack in My Mack’ by Lil Ugly Mane, ‘One’ by Ghostface Killah, ‘Für Elise’, ‘Doomsday’ by Discharge, and ‘My Kitchen’ by Gucci Mane and hits pacing and energy dead in the heart. Pairing with the tasteful Supreme garb and variety of Nike Dunks showcased through the entire video, the music has a uniquely American flare (minus ‘Für Elise’ and ‘Doomsday) that shows a keen ear and a sharp eye for the global skateboarding diaspora. Furthermore, given how young a lot of these kids are (I’m talking 13-16), it shows an unspoken maturity, confidence, and sense of community that pulsates through the entire part. I also love the Ratz’ incorporation of graffiti into the part. The motion of the arm arcing bubble letters on abandoned freight trucks, the quip of the can spitting white paint, and the public stealth of the taggers leads to a supremely enjoyable set of moments that whisper volumes about Milan’s underground.
Upon first watch, I was left with a few burning questions. Where would I be if I was this cool at such a young age? What’s next from this crew of kick-flipping, cigarette-smoking rabble rousers? Why don’t more people know about this incredible video? And while the jury’s still out on the outcome of my possible foray into a hypebeast-clad street skating career at age 14, we can now confidently speculate on the future prospects of Ratz. It seems (given my Ratz littered Instagram feed) that famed skateboarding filmer/director/editor William Strobeck and the Supreme Crew linked up with the boys in Milan for at least a good month or two, meaning the follow up to Strobeck’s 2019 ‘Candyland’ (the most watched video in our friend group for both unironic and ironic purposes) could be right around the corner. I’ve never been more excited to watch wheels turn and ollies pop!
Ratz 5 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXToyTHS-0s
Candyland - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yk1cLKpzHck