THE KADER SYLLA INTERVIEW

March 10, 2022/ Alexis Castro/ INTERVIEWS/ Comments: 26

photo: ritt pontepsiripong

Skateboarding is ridiculous because it’s one of the only disciplines where you can get kicked out of summer camps, post selfies with fat blunts, cheat your way through high school, and still be considered one of the best.

In a world where a lot of skating’s greats are kept under a microscope and are toning back their image for the sake of corporate paychecks, Kader is cashing those same checks while not compromising on how he carries himself or lives his life.

Since our first convo with Kader back in 2017, his career has skyrocketed. He’s landed on some of the biggest and coolest sponsors out and he’s amassed and released a hefty amount of footage in the recent past—the kind of output that you might usually associate with an upcoming SOTY run.

We caught up with him to ask about how he’s keeping himself on the path toward even more success (while still having fun), taking the leap of moving out on his own, and how much weed he actually smokes.

How much weed do you smoke these days?
More than most of these rappers probably.

How much would that be?
Maybe like – I don’t know if I can say. If I say it that’s going to make it real and motherfuckers are going to be like what the fuck? It varies. Some days I’m balling through an ounce. If it’s a rough day – fuck dude, I don’t know. Just know that I smoke a lot.

Out of all the skaters who rap, who’s the best?
I’d say Lil Dre is probably the best skater that raps, and then the worst would probably be Jereme Rogers.

Lil Dre is up. He knows all of those fools, he really kicks it with them. I back Dre. He’s so unique. Like, he’s black and Asian. That’s like the craziest thing. I wish I was black and Asian. That’s legendary.

You mostly smoke Runtz? Is that the best shit out right now?
Definitely. Anyone who could get their hands on Runtz, that’s a good day for them. You’re smoking nice that night. It’s just super expensive, like $4,000 a pound.

photo: ritt pontepsiripong

What was your first time being high like?
The first time I hit a stupid-ass wax pen that had me tripping. We were sitting on my homie’s bed just watching a movie getting super faded. I just kept hitting it thinking I wasn’t high. I get up and I was like, “What the fuck is happening to me?” I couldn’t hear my voice. I was tripping the fuck out. Then I went and laid back down and fell asleep. Then I just kept smoking after. The wax pen, it’s like hitting air so you don’t know if you’re high or not, and it’ll hit you in the face out of nowhere. That shit will have my chest feeling like I’m having a heart attack. Fuck those pens. Fuck weed honestly, I need to quit this shit too. My money manager is always calling me a stupid idiot.

When you started smoking, did Reynolds or any of the older heads lecture you?
I definitely heard some shit, but I definitely did not listen. I didn’t start smoking until a year and a half ago when I was like 17. As a kid, I shouldn’t be smoking, but now I can’t stop.

It’s funny because when they were the OG Bakers that was their thing.
They’re OG Bakers for real! They have their shit on YouTube for everyone to see what they did. Like, come on now. But they’re definitely telling me because they know what’s good. They don’t want me to burn out, which obviously is not going to happen. I wouldn’t let that happen.



The last time we interviewed you, you were just a little kid and still in school. Did you end up graduating?
Yeah, I ended up graduating. Not going to lie it was not the easiest. I wasn’t paying attention and shit. I just never had that school trait, like studying and doing the extra work.

How much of it was homeschooling?
I did that for the last two and a half years. It helped a lot. If I had to go to school it would’ve fucked everything up. I wouldn’t have been able to go on half the trips I went on.

They give you packets that you have to do, but you join Zoom calls and you have to do all the lessons with the teacher.

My mom did some of it too, so that helped me a lot. If I was too tired to do school one night, she’d log on for me. She fucking helped me out a lot. I miss those days.

photo: andrew james peters

What is one of the biggest things you struggle with now that you’re not living with your mom?
Cooking, cleaning… basically everything. Fucking everything is trash. I don’t cook for myself, I order out every day. My crib is getting dirty as fuck. There are so many clothes on the floor it looks like a laundromat.

Is there anything you cook that’s easy to make?
Every day I would make sugar crepes for me and my homies, but I just stopped. I don’t know why. Actually, I know why I stopped. My aunt used to give me the batter to make it, but I haven’t seen her in a minute. I’ve never made savory ones, but I wish I did. I should put a bacon egg and cheese in there or some shit.

Now that you’re making more money and can afford your own place and a car, are you helping out your mom too?
I’ve been helping out my mom since I first started getting money because that’s what you’re supposed to do, but I’ve definitely helped her out more throughout the years. I’m still trying to expand my money and get paid in like 10 different ways. I’m thinking about starting some brands with clothes and shit. I’m talking with Andrew about making pants and shirts and stuff, but shit just takes a while.

“I’m still trying to expand my money and get paid in like 10 different ways.”

Does that conflict with Supreme?
I have not gotten there [laughs]. Sean Pablo and everyone else has their own brand. I hope they let me do it, but if they don’t that’d be pretty fucked up.

Do you have someone helping you manage your money, like The Boardr?
Nah, I know those guys though. They’re homies. I have some other fool named Greg. He does money management stuff, he’s not a [talent] manager type of guy. He’s the homie. I’ve been with him for like three years. He was Reynolds’ guy first then he started helping me. He usually does actors. I don’t know why he would fuck with some skaters but I guess he fucks with us.

I noticed you have the Ivory Coast flag in your Instagram bio. Is that where your family is from?
Yeah, that’s where my mom’s side of the family is from. My mom was born and raised out there actually.

My mom was telling me the story of how she met my dad on some crazy shit. That was tripping me the fuck out. My mom was in Africa and like… I don’t even know if I should be saying this. My dad was about to marry some other girl and some crazy shit happened where my mom and dad crossed paths. That shit fucked my head up. Like some weird true romance type shit.

photo: andrew james peters

You went out to Ghana as a kid, right? What would you do if you went back as an adult?
I mean, turn up! I want to turn up with my fellow African men. I want to meet some women out there. It’s probably so lit out there.

When I went as a kid, it was like super Africa-ed out. There weren’t like establishments everywhere. It was like dirt roads and shit, but there were buildings and stuff. I was talking to Adidas to let us do a trip to go somewhere and there haven’t been any decisions yet, so maybe it’ll be Africa.

I want to do something with my Adidas shoe that does something for an African organization. I did this Baker board that raised $40,000 for this other skate organization, and that shit was a good ass feeling, so I want to do that again.

“I want to turn up with my fellow African men.”

Is that something that you’d say is important, supporting your community and all that?
I try to. I’m not going to say I’m like fucking Gandhi or some shit. When this shoe comes out I want to try to bless everyone around me. They sent me like 200 pairs of shoes and I want to drive around LA and give them out.

Are there other parts of the world you wanna see, not just for skate trips?
Somewhere else I want to go is Australia. I want to see Sydney or Melbourne. I just want to see what the vibe is and chill with some women out there. Just go kick it. It seems so fire. I want to hear their Australian accents like [in Australian accent] “Kader, Kader.” Lit! I got all these Australian vibes yelling my name and shit. That’s where I need to be! Maybe I might go there, low-key [laughs].



There’s a video of Leo Romero driving you around when you were a kid and he clowns on you for your nollie flips. Do you remember that?
Bruh, I’ll clown Leo’s dumbass right now. His nollie flips are garbaggio. Dude’s are rocket as hell. My shits were fucked though, I took a lot of shit for my nollie flips. Andrew and Bryan Herman were always like “You’re never going to lose the knee, you’re always going to flip it like that.” Now I’m like fo sho bro, where you at? You see now? Fuck you, motherfuckers.

You just had to hit your growth spurt. You used to be mad small.
I was like 5’0. I was shrimpy. Now, I’m like 5’10 or some shit. I need to hit the 6s soon. I need to start working out. My brother is like 6’2 and my dad is 6’2 I think. My mom is 5’9.

If you run a 3-on-3 in basketball with the Supreme team, who’s getting picked first?
I’m picking like Sage [Elsesser] first, then like Caleb [Barnett], and Tyshawn. Maybe KB [Kris Brown], just so he could box out people and push fools out of the way and shit.

I feel like mixing skating and sports is more valid these days.
Definitely, fools used to be like, “We’re not jocks!” Nowadays you can do anything. You can even be a model and a skater. It’s sick as fuck.

Have you been asked to do any of that?
Actually, yeah. I was asked to do this Heron Preston modeling shit but it was conflicting with my Supreme contract so I couldn’t do it. Hopefully next when my contract is up I haggle it, cause I didn’t tell them. I’m a fucking idiot [slap sound]. I didn’t see that. I didn’t even think that that would be a problem, but I need to change that.

photo: andrew james peters

One of the things that people say about LA is everyone there is obsessed with Instagram and clout. Do you feel like that’s true?
Yeah, I feel that 100%. If I didn’t have the fame I have, it would not be the same, of course. Fools are just acting differently. They have different attitudes around me. It’s just the way it goes, I guess. LA is definitely full of different breeds of people. It’s weird.

Do kids come up to you a lot and recognize you?
Umm yeah, it happens sometimes. That shit is overwhelming. It makes me feel like I’m in The Matrix or some shit. I’ll just be there like, “Damn, this fool really loves me.” It’s some star shit. It hypes me up for sure.

Sounds like you handle it well. Some people don’t like it.
I don’t think I’ve ever not taken a photo with someone. I feel like someone might say some shit to that, like, “You missed my photo!” Maybe I didn’t hear someone, but for all I know I’ve never said no, and I would never say no.

“I feel like skaters end up thinking that they’re way too important.
Fools have big egos.”

As a skater, your whole career is pretty much built on people liking you.
Yeah and skating is not like acting, so you’ve got to appreciate it. These actors really have to deal with people wanting to stalk them and shit. I feel like skaters end up thinking that they’re way too important. Fools have big egos. This cool guy shit is not it. Skaters think they’re bigger than everything. You shouldn’t have a problem taking a photo with any little kid or anything.

There are obviously times when I’ll be bummed out and have bad days, but even if I do, I’ll do anything. We know we’re not bigger than any of this shit.

photo: andrew james peters

You mostly film with Bill Strobeck nowadays. Do you like his filming?
I fuck with it. I fuck with Bill. I think people just see so much of it, and they see other people copying him so they want to say some shit about it. They know who started that. They know who did that.

Bill is a legend. I love filming with him. He’s made me look the best in videos, I feel like, easily. Tyshawn looks like the greatest skater ever, even though he is. Bill plays a big role in this shit.

Has he ever messed up any of your clips with his technique?
Definitely. Sometimes he does and I’m like, “You’re wild. You’ve got…” what’s that shit where old people move their hands a bunch?

Parkinson’s?
Yeah. “You’ve really got Parkinson’s.” He’s just shaking and moving randomly and shit. But Bill is the best filmer ever. Sometimes he’ll go a little weird though, I feel like.

“Bill is a legend. He’s made me look the best in videos, I feel like, easily.”

In the newest vid, he started doing that tilting the camera sideways shit.
The Berlin shit? People are gonna have some seizures watching his shit. You’ve gotta chill bruh.

Before you settled onto Adidas people were like, “Kader is sponsor hopping! Fuck that little kid!” Did you ever hear any of that?
Yeah, I kind of was, I’m not going to lie. It was only to get where I’m at today. If I didn’t have this Adidas shoe coming out, I don’t know what would be coming out with any of these other companies. I’m really not concerned now and I’m not planning on leaving Adidas.

I was wearing Nikes a bunch and I was fucking with them, but I would not have had a shoe with anyone else this quick. Adidas is really blessing it. They’ve really shown love.

Adidas isn’t cutting the OGs. They’re not about to fuck someone’s life over. They’re not about to do someone dirty when they know they need the money. Adidas is as loyal as we are to them.

photo: ritt pontepsiripong

There were rumors that Nike was trying to put you on but then they lagged on the contract.
It wasn’t really like that. It was more like Adidas was showing more love and I was seeing random people at Nike getting cut. Everyone was telling me Adidas was the best route. I talked to Dill and Andrew, fucking everyone. That shit really helped.

Did Cariuma ever ask you to ride for them?
No [laughs]. Wait let me see. Maybe they did actually. Ca…ri…uma. Oh yeah, they did.

On Instagram?
Yeah. They were like, “Hey what’s up?” on October 11, 2019, “I’m with Cariuma, a sustainable shoe company and we would love to give you a pair of our sneakers. They’re great for skating and we think you’d love them. If you’re interested I’ll send you a gift code to use on our site, Cariuma.com – Max” and then on November 13 the same year he fucking said, “Hey, just following up. There’s no obligation for you to post. Just looking to give to cool people like yourself.”

“I wouldn’t even put [Cariumas] on, honestly. I couldn’t even. That’s just too crazy.”

That’s funny. Would you ever skate their shoes?
I wouldn’t even put those on, honestly. I couldn’t even. That’s just too crazy.

Does board size matter to you, or are you not that picky?
I would ride anything from an 8.3″ – 8.5″ as long as it’s long enough, honestly. If it’s a short board, I’m scared of sacking rails and my foot falling off the board. They flip better for me. It really feels way more controlled.

Do you know the wheelbase that you like?
Maybe 14.25”. I don’t know exactly. I want to get my tech up. I’ve been riding my big wheels and I need to go a little smaller. I went down to 54 mm a little while ago.



The time that you got kicked out of Woodward skate camp, what happened there?
It was definitely our fault but they were telling us we could smoke, just not in the cabins. Then some other person would come and get mad at us. It was just a bunch of bad things that will never happen again.

I want to go back to Woodward but I hope they’ll let me back in. I’m fully banned right now. I’m fully blacklisted. Hopefully, they read this interview and know that I am very sorry for ruining the walls and shit. I want to come back, please. I am begging you to come back.

Did they hit you with a bill for damages?
No. They might have, but I don’t know. They said I can’t come back. I want to go back so bad. I feel like they were just too clean-cut and not ready for us. We kind of caused too much havoc.

“I want to go back to Woodward but I hope they’ll let me back in.
I’m fully banned right now.

What are your favorite things to watch in your downtime?
I’ve been fucking with Euphoria. I’ve been fucking with this show called Vice Principals. This show called Peace Maker. I watch a bunch of shit.

I started watching Game of Thrones and The Sopranos and this other show called Entourage, which is probably the best show ever. This other show called Californication is super fire. All the shows that my homies put me onto. I’m like halfway done with The Sopranos.

What pisses you off?
Trying a fucking trick for five hours and not getting it.

What about outside of skating, in the world and society?
I don’t know. Give me a second I need to think about this… I don’t even know. I don’t hate that much shit.

I feel like I heard some lady say something the other day that pissed me off. It was probably some dumb shit, like, “I love green tea matcha.”

So you hate Brads and Chads and Karens.
Yeah. Where I live in Santa Monica is filled with them though.

photo: ritt pontepsiripong

In school, was there a subject you were interested in that you’d want to learn more about?
Maybe history. Like, just knowing some shit, cause I barely know anything now. I think I would’ve liked paying attention in that shit.

Did you hear that we’re possibly about to be in a war?
With Ukraine and Putin and Russia? That shit is so fucking stupid. I’ve seen the videos. They exploded an airport. Fucking sad dude. There’s some fucking terrorists running a whole country. I probably shouldn’t have said that because now Putin is gonna be gunning for me.

In terms of bigger skate goals, how much do you care about things like winning SOTY?
I definitely care about that type of shit. When it’s the right time, I hope I get it. Tyshawn deserved it that year because he did all that shit, everyone knew it was him. There was no question about it. I hope it’s the same for me.

I’m going to push myself this year to put some things out that are amazing, but in the next three years, I’m about to really push myself. I’m gonna try and make it to the top.



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Comments

  1. Ya mother

    March 10, 2022 1:37 pm

    Dudes got a good head on his shoulders doing all that charity stuff and supporting his mom, you love to see it

  2. skatebeer

    March 10, 2022 2:17 pm

    Solid interview. “super Africa-ed out” is the best thing I’ve ever read. And someone not naming a band “Brads and Chads and Karens” is missing an opportunity. But why the clip of him in Vans? Confused me at first.

  3. Nike Rep

    March 10, 2022 2:51 pm

    Come back, we miss you! We’ll cut the US Soccer budget and bring the homies back!

  4. Rodney Dangerfield

    March 10, 2022 2:58 pm

    >> Maybe history. Like, just knowing some shit, cause I barely know anything now.

    Accurate.

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