23-year-old Jarred "AllStar" Haynes hails from the town of Wyandanch in Long Island, NY. The aspiring hip-hop artist first appeared on skiers' radar screens after he composed an original hip song for an episode of Salomon Freeski TV. This year, a skiing-related mixtape complete with a controversial courtroom-inspired song has made AllStar into a significant musical figure throughout freestyle skiing.
The first time that I heard of you was when you did
the song for the season wrap up of Salomon Freeski TV last
year. It stuck out to me because it was a rap song made
specifically for a ski video, and yet it sounded like a real
rapper, as opposed to somebody pretending to be one. How did
that collaboration come about?
[Laughs] I appreciate that.
I did this freestyle battle in college — that's how I made money in college — I went to all these freestyle battles. We'd go to the University of Albany, and there'd be nothing but black people in the room. And here's Mike, with his little camera, and everybody's all dissing at me like, "Haha, you brought a white boy with you!" and all this yadda yadda. But then I would win, and after that we'd have to run out of the school like there was a fire, because we'd be scared for Mike's life. It was hilarious.
Mike was always down with what I was doing musically from way back then, this was 2004. So he showed me a ski edit that had a Dipset song in the background. He said to me, "one day you should do this. See, skiing and hip hop go together." And I was like, "Whatever" [laughs]. I just kind of blew it off.
We went our separate ways, but we stayed in touch. He'd call me all the time, whenever he was with friends, or with a girl that he wanted to impress, like "I know a rapper" [laughs]. He'd call me like, "Yo AllStar, I'm in Lake Placid with three girls, Tiffany, Andrea, and Lindsay, and there's a dog in the room, his name is Shea, and they want to hear you freestyle about all that stuff." So I would do it.
But this one phone call, he calls me and says, "I'm in a room with a bunch of skiers, and I want you to freestyle for them." So he gave me their names and I did a freestyle for them, and Steve Horton [who works for Salomon Freeski TV] liked it, and got my contact information from Rogge. And later Steve came to me with this idea, "What if we do an original song for the recap of last year's season?"
He sent me the idea, and I sent him back a track, and he was like "that's hot." And he sent me back kind of a script — I didn't know any ski lingo, I knew no skiers [laughs]. So I just kind of did my thing, and they were like "this is ridiculous."
So you're a pro at rapping about skiing. Have you
ever skied yourself?
No! And I've gotten so many invites. I'm still waiting for somebody to call me and say, "Come on, Jarred, come to Whistler." I was supposed to be going to Whistler at the end of the year. But I still haven't had a chance to jump on some skis yet. But I'm willing to. I'm willing to do it. I'm not casually unwilling. I hope I don't get unwilling, or get scared, but that's another story.
I listened to your mixtape
"The Urban Segment" though, and it's nearly all skiing.
How much non-skiing-related music do you make, compared to
the amount of stuff about skiing?
Well, to be honest with you, I made that mixtape in three days. I had been telling myself, "I wanna do a ski mixtape," because after I attended IF3, I felt like I had learned enough about skiing to do it. Especially the Simon Dumont movie, the Transitions movie, that was really like a beginner's guide to skiing for me. So I watched that, and I started picking up some of the lingo. When I got back, I felt an obligation to this new culture that I'd met, to do something for them. So I came back and put everything on hold to finish the mixtape over the weekend.
photo wide photo
Great question. And I really wish I could quit my other job [laughs]. But I do marketing for Sears, oddly enough, as my part-time job. They offer a tuition discount for my master's program.
What are you getting your master's in?
I'm getting my master's in higher education. Like college administration, or something like that to fall back on. I guess I consider myself an educating artist. I'm graduating from that program in January, and I hope to leave that job in January as well, and officially dedicate my living to music. You know, you skiers, you make me mad at my nine-to-five job. Why can't I just live in a one-bedroom apartment and hit the slopes all day?
There's this anti-WME rap by you floating around on
the Internet. What inspired you to do that?
Uh oh [laughs]. That's like the most controversial song I've ever done [laughs].
Well, it's the most controversial thing that's ever
happened in skiing, too.
Well, I met Decker and Coty at IF3. And Decker showed me the B-Side of the movie Refresh and it was based off the movie Belly. And I thought it was hot. It stuck in my head more than some of the movies I saw. When I got back home, and I'm listening to The Ski Show and Rogge is talking about the legal dispute going on between Level 1 and Warren Miller Entertainment and it kind of made me upset. So I decided to do this song. I sat down and read some of the news articles, and the blogs, seeing people's reactions to it.
I put names in the song. I probably shouldn't have done that, but I did. I just felt like I met those people [from Level 1 Productions] and they were cool. And as far as the culture goes, if you say you're a part of something, trying to make the sport as great as it can be, you can't try to hold me back when we have the same goal. I felt like WME was being hypocritical about the whole situation. You can't tell me that you love making ski movies, and then another company is doing the same thing and you're going to hit them with some litigations. It's like a little kid, you gotta spank them sometimes. So that's what I did.
Two things: First, on Newschoolers there was this blog, and it was like a black versus white debate.
Oh yeah. They happen all the time. But there's never
a black person involved.
[Laughs] I'm reading this, and I'm like, "what's going on?" Every ski movie I've ever watched has a hip hop song in it. So I'm reading this like "what are you talking about?" It just doesn't make sense.
I actually sat down, not because I was confused about it myself, but I was just wondering, you know, what the signs were, that all these ski cliques were throwing up. I sat down with Mike Douglas, and he kind of explained to me that everybody's young, they just kind of form into cliques. And that made sense to me.
I don't feel like these guys are pretending, or posing, or none of that nonsense. I simply think it's like any sport. When you're involved in something and you want to be the best, you have to have a personality that goes along with it. Something that people can gravitate towards, and grab hold of.
If you're in a profession where every day, you're doing your passion — if I'm 40, thousand, however many feet in the air, and I land, and I stick that? I'm not gonna be like, "Yeah, that was cool." I'm gonna be like, "Listen" [laughs]. You know what I'm saying? "You see what the hell I just did?" I'm not listening to Mozart while I'm flying through the air. I'm listening to something that's gonna pump me up and make me fly through the air. When I land, I'm not gonna put the thumbs up. No, I'm going to want to land, and put a gun in the air like I shot something.
It's the thrill of the game. It's the thrill of the hunt. Hunters don't shoot a deer and then say "that was cool." They scream and shout and throw their hands in the air and they act stupid. It's not about trying to be black or trying to be white. It's about a love for what you're doing.
You've got a new album, Genre, coming out
soon. What can people expect to hear on that?
The album is called Genre because I don't like to classify myself. Even if I'm rapping on most of the tracks, none of the songs is going to sound like your typical radio hip hop song. One song has like a punk vibe to it. Another song has a soul vibe to it. Another song has kind of a reggae bass tone to it. It's like a melting pot of music. Gospel undertones, street hip hop, but it's all my voice. If you liked "The Urban Segment," you'll like Genre. And if you like listening to lyrics, Genre will not let you down.