We got the man himself, Kareem Shehab, to answer some questions about himself to get to know him a little better in this edition of GTK. Well known veteran for his legendary FGFS videos (Death Pedal, BMH, Southern Safari), his skills on the blades, his huge grinds, and his bike company Master Bike Co, Kareem Shehab is a jack of all trades and certainly deserves to get a little more about himself shared with the world. If anything, we’re the ones who don’t deserve this man’s time and attention. Personally, I used to idolize this man and dreamed of meeting him one day, so being able to interview him is truly humbling. He’s seen this tiny FGFS community start from it’s roots and continues to be a driving force of content and components to keep the scene going. Here is, the Kareem Shehab interview:
(Photo by Devin Tolman)
First off, How’ve you been? What you been up to?
Yoo, life’s been good. Livin it up in Seattle and playing a ton of super smash bros 64, riding a bit and hangin with my lady.
How often do you get out to ride these days?
Really not that often in the wintertime out here although I did just spend a month in Japan and Taiwan riding with Wonka and the homies. Shoutout Seitaro, Hislow, and Taishi! When the weather is good I probably go on 3-4 road rides a week on my track bike or road bike and maybe ride FGFS once or twice a week when I can or go blading.
Favorite tricks to do currently?
Luc-e, Unluc-e, and dubs. I like grinding big shit.
(Kareem Hold Fast Edit, Circa 2013)
What does a normal riding day look like for you?
A weekend sesh will probably be me waking up around 11 or noon and hitting up the homie Ben or Jacob and jibbing around the neighborhood or driving to some spots if we are on a film mission. Sometimes we go to skateparks.
What does a normal non riding day look like for you?
Hahahaha honestly hard to say, I spend my time doing a lot of weird shit so it could be anything. You’ll probably find me out on the town with friends on the weekends for sure.
Other hobbies outside of riding bikes?
Tons! Right now I’m super hyped on competitive Super Smash Bros and play a lot with the Seattle Dale boys and also travel to tournaments and stuff with my brother Shereef. I’m also pretty into table tennis, I’ve had a coach for the last 5 years and also enter in tournaments sometimes. Of course rollerblading which I’ve done for the last 20+years. Oh! and my homegirl Isabel hooked me up with a DJ controller a few months ago so I’ve been learning to mix some music as well.
(Kareem Street Heat Blade Section)
(Kareem competing at Genesis Smash tournament)
I know a ton of people (including myself) got into riding cause of the Death Pedal videos (thank you for that). What got the guy, that got everybody into riding, into riding?
My buddy Chris Rosi got me into riding fixed sometime around 2006. I had recently broken my ankle rollerblading and needed something else to do while I was healing up. I focused all my attention into it at that point and it kind of snowballed from there. There was so much energy and people that were into it back then and it was all super new and exciting. I had a background in making skate videos already and just started filming with the people around me. That was definitely the golden era of fixed gear. Happy that the videos got you and others hyped on FGFS!
(Death Pedal trailer, Circa 2009)
How many aluminum Leader frames did you break when you were sponsored by them?
I only broke a couple. I feel like probably within a year of riding for them, Leader had come out with the TRK. I broke a bunch of those though hahaha. I actually still have a couple that still work. RIP Leader.
(Kareem shredding on a TRK, Circa 2010)
Hows Master going? Anything new in the works?
Master is going well! Sellin a couple bikes here and there and have a badass group of dudes riding on the team. Once we make enough money from selling frames and forks I want to make a hub + AXLES.
(Master team lookin’ cute, photo Devin Tolman)
Which video project or edit that you’ve been a part of are you most proud of?
I’d say the Death Pedal videos were super fun to make. I put a ton of work into them and got to meet a lot of dope people through the process of filming the video and premiering it different places. Other than that the Master promo was probably my longest video project ever. We had been filming for that thing for 2 years and traveled all over the world for it. I really like how that one turned out and everyone on the team really pushed themselves hard.
(Death Pedal 2 Trailer [aka best FGFS DVD in history])
Favorite edit/video/DVD throughout FGFS history?
hahaha man don’t get me started… Obviously I can’t pick just one. I’d say Pucketts houston fixed edit where’s he’s on the cutter and they use that Japanther song is super nostalgic for me for some reason. The Shredwell videos. Tom’s specialized edit where he jumps over that huge fence gap was fucking dope. Old Keo videos. Stevens Zlog edit. Wonka’s early gorilla edits. Your tarck edit. Tylers skylmt edit. Torey’s last Wrahw bb17 edit. Joes edit when he did the 720. Stay strapped and Gang Signs were rad when they came out, I’m really proud of Matt and Jackson for carrying the torch and putting out such high quality content and wish more people would follow suit and do the same.
(Eric Puckett Houston Fixed Edit, Circa 2009)
Favorite FGFS dudes to watch on a bike these days?
Watcha, Gus, Jensen, Marco, Nasty, You (Jball), Wonka, Miguel, Ramon, Wolfdrawn, Slum, Randy Rush, Andy, Congo, Pissy, Schmitt, Elliott, Valentin, Jackson, and Tyler. All these dudes have such a unique approach to riding and make it look super good. How cool would it be to make a DVD with these guys hahaha?
Any new video projects in the works?
I’m working on a new Master edit to promote the forks and introduce a new team rider. Should be done soonish. I’ve been toying with the idea of making a new DVD for some time now but really don’t have the time for a project like that. I feel like I’ve got one more left in me though it’s just a matter of when…
(Miguel Zendejas for Master [This is the edit he mentions above])
Current camera setup?
Canon XF100 with century death lens. Second angles on iPhone 6S-Rosegold baby!
What music you been in to lately?
I’ve been listening to a ton of trap lately. Been getting my crates up since I’ve started mixing music.
It’s no secret, the FGFS industry is in a tough state these days. What are your thoughts on the current state of the sport? Anything you think could be done to help?
I’d really like to see people step up and make more conscious decisions to support the industry. When you buy a cheap chinese bike, products from dead companies, or someones used bike you’re not supporting the future of the sport all to save a few bucks. Right now all of the popularity and money has dried up in our sport and there are a small handful of companies that are left are those which are run by people who love FGFS. Turf, Ruff and Master are all run by people who have been in FGFS since the beginning and will never stop riding or being involved. Me, Jacob, Matt and Mike all have day jobs and just do this because we all love the sport want to see FGFS survive the slump that it’s in right now. Do your part to support your industry by buying stuff from rider owned companies, making edits, taking pictures, progressing, bringing new people in, and being a good ambassador for our sport.
Shoutouts? Special thanks to my family, friends, team, my lady, and anyone who’s helped me along the way. www.masterbike.co
Follow us on instagram @masterbikeco
Follow Kareem on insta too @killakareem