The history of Skateland U.S.A. – the venue that launched the iconic rap group.
Craig Schweisinger opened the doors to Skateland U.S.A. on Saturday Nov. 16 1984. High schoolers mingled with gangbangers and roller skaters who took their choreography seriously. A sign reading NO CAPS — NO COLORS greeted attendees at the door.
Everyone was required to pass through an airport-style metal detector Schweisinger installed as part of his permit arrangement with the Compton Police Department. Schweisinger hated the local cops in the Los Angeles County city and preferred to use his own security detail composed of neutral enforcers from the neighborhood. His system of order was predicated on mutual respect: He gave it to every street kid who came in and they returned it to him in kind. Being tough was an occupational necessity; being fair was his choice.
In a city Balkanized by gangs Skateland became a refuge. Schweisinger thought the skating business could be successful. He didn’t imagine that within few months his rink would become the most important hip-hop venue in the history of South Los Angeles.