Posts Tagged ‘Prodigy’

Cypress Hill is Now Figure-Skating Music

Adrian Schultheiss

Swedish figure skater Adrian Schultheiss finished 13th overall after the free program. (Luke Winn/SI)


Cypress Hill makes the scoreboard. (Luke Winn/SI)

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The first five men to take the ice in Thursday’s free skate at Pacific Coliseum stuck to standard music: The Godfather soundtrack, Cirque du Soleil, Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo, Go Chango by Les Baxter, and Stazione di Palermo by Salvatore Vali.

The sixth figure-skater pulled his songs from considerably different genres: Trip-hop, for Massive Attack’s Teardrop; electronica, for Prodigy’s Smack My B–tch Up; rock, for Van Halen’s Right Now; and nasal hip-hop … for Cypress Hill’s Insane in the Brain. When B-Real released the famed stoner anthem in 1993, I doubt he expected it to go triple-platinum in the U.S. And I’m fairly certain he did not forsee that, 17 years later at the Vancouver Olympics, it would appear on a scoreboard during a men’s free skate, as a central piece of music in the routine of 21-year-old Swede Adrian Schultheiss.

Schultheiss only skated to an instrumental version of the song, as is standard. (The lyrics, which are hilarious in written form, with lines like Cops/Come and try to snatch my crops/These pigs wanna blow my house down, aren’t Olympics-safe, although they would’ve been appropriate in a city that’s been called “Canada’s marijuana mecca.”) He chose Insane in the Brain because, he said, “We thought it was in the same theme [as my routine]. I wanted to be crazy, and I was thinking, ‘OK, maybe this schizophrenic person would dance to hip-hop,’ and then I wanted to be even more crazy and funny for the public in a hip-hop way.”

(The following video is Schultheiss’ free skate from the 2009 Rostelecom Cup in October:)

Schultheiss apparently found the Massive Attack track because it’s the theme to the Fox show House, M.D., which he admits is only “a little crazy.” That segues into the Cypress Hill. “It’s a stoner band, but [crazy] is the theme,” he says, “And I have a — how do you say this in English — a suicide jacket, so everything is together in this one.”

Oh — did I not mention the “suicide jacket”? What Schultheiss intended to say was straitjacket, because that’s what his costume looked like. It was a white shirt adorned with brown-leather straps and buckles, most of them on the back, in traditional insane-asylum style. For inspiration, Schultheiss said he used Google to search for “different crazy stuff,” found the perfect prototype, and gave it to his choreographer, Galina Loutkova, who’s also his coach’s wife. Loutkova drew a mockup for a costume-maker, who turned the “suicide jacket” concept into reality:

Adrian Schultheiss

Schultheiss was more than willing to pose in his straitjacket. (Luke Winn/SI)

I didn’t spot any stereotypical Cypress Hill fans in the crowd at Pacific Coliseum — these were more the kind of people who bring teddy bears to throw at Patrick Chan as congratulations, or spend hours making a crown of roses for Johnny Weir — but Schultheiss said he’s received only positive feedback from fans about his approach: “People say to me, ‘This is what figure skating needs, somebody to do something new, to wake up the public a little bit.’ Because if you watch the classical [music], as I have in my short program, people get bored easy. You need variation. That’s what I’m trying to show.”

Adrian Schultheiss

Schultheiss went primal during his routine. (Getty Images)

Sweden has a history of progressive figure skaters: in 1901, its own Ulrich Salchow landed the first-ever jump in competition that featured a takeoff from his skate’s back inside edge, and a landing on the back outside edge — and that’s where the word “salchow” entered the sport’s lexicon. Salchow won the first Olympic figure skating gold when it was a Summer Games sport in 1908, and each of the 2010 medalists performed one triple salchow on Thursday. None of them, however, used hip-hop. Gold winner Evan Lysacek of the U.S. skated to Sheherazade by Nikolai Rimski-Korsakov. Silver-medalist Evgeni Pluschenko skated to Tango Amore by Edvin Marton. Bronze winner Daisuke Takahashi skated to La Strada by Nino Rota.

Schultheiss began the day in 22nd place, due to a sub-par showing in his short program, when he went classical, with two compositions by Russian diplomat David Mnatsakanyan, who serves in Sweden. Thursday, Schultheiss landed a quad as part of a free skate that was strong enough to put him in 13th, a more-than-respectable finish for his first Olympics, given that he placed 12th in this season’s European Championships. He was miffed, though, about receiving only a 6.60 score from judges on the “interpretation” portion of his program components.

“I looked crazy,” he said. “Is that not interpretation enough?”

  • Published On Feb. 19, 2010 by lukewinn