Wu Tang Gets Ski ‘Inspired’

How Henrik Harlaut's Olympic shoutout turned into a legendary ski movie soundtrack, a timeline

So how did a dreadlocked freestyler from Sweden become the Wu Tang Clan's favorite skier? PHOTO: Henrik Harlaut's Instagram.
So how did a dreadlocked freestyler from Sweden become the Wu Tang Clan’s favorite skier? PHOTO: Henrik Harlaut’s Instagram.

Ski movie director Eric Iberg is no stranger to the music world. After all, Iberg, the director of modern ski classics like 2001’s Royalty and 2010’s Like a Lion, hired reggae artist Cali P to record an entire original soundtrack in his Oregon living room for 2007’s Idea, and he also co-founded a record label with Tanner Hall, artists Cali P, and producer Phantom in, of all places, Kingston, Jamaica.

But the Inspired Media co-founder’s latest foray into music may be his most ambitious. For Iberg’s latest, and reportedly final, ski movie—a two-year project with freestyle kings Henrik Harlaut and Phil Casabon titled BE Inspired—Iberg is putting together an original soundtrack with Walshy Fire, a third of the DJ trio Major Lazer.

“If we’re watching something that’s never been done before, why do we want these songs that are iconic where you already have a feeling or a memory from it?” says Iberg. “I thought it would be pretty cool to have an original movie with original music.”

According to Iberg, the original soundtrack is set to feature 10 tracks with top dance hall and rap artists, including a signature track with the Wu Tang Clan’s Raekwon and Kingston’s Kabaka Pyramid.

That’s right, Harlaut and Casabon’s ski movie is set to feature original music from Wu Tang, the crew that brought us 36 Chambers, taught us Tiger Style, and put out some of the most appreciated rap songs of the 1990s and 2000s.

We all remember where we were when Harlaut famously delivered his “Olympic shoutout heard ’round the world,” but many don’t realize that those 15 seconds of fame were the beginning of an unlikely alliance between skiing and one of rap’s most legendary posses.

In honor of the Inspired trailer release featuring an original Raekwon track, we put together a short timeline of one of the strangest, yet coolest musical courtships in ski history.

2003-2008:

While just a young ski racer in Sweden, Harlaut and Casabon learn that Wu Tang Clan ain’t nothing to f*%k with. “It’s like their lyrics have a lot of this energy,” says Casabon. “I think that just fits our skiing.” (Disclaimer: The song in this video is not Wu Tang, but you get the idea).

2011:

For their first major collaborative movie, Blackout, Harlaut and Casabon adopt the nicknames E-Dollo and B-Dog, respectively, references to their favorite rappers, Wu Tang members Method Man and Redman.

February 12, 2014:

Harlaut delivers his now-famous “Wu Tang is for the Children” declaration, an adage to the 1998 Grammys when Ol’ Dirty Bastard hijacked the microphone and told the world that Wu Tang deserved an award. (Which, in hindsight, is an interesting parallel for anyone who watched Harlaut’s run in Sochi). “I hadn’t planned it or anything,” says Harlaut. “When I said that I had no idea it was going to catch on so big, but it did…and it was incredible.”

Februrary 17, 2014:

Raekwon Tweets his appreciation over said shoutout. “I think Wu Tang sees it as a sign of appreciation,” says Iberg. “Like, ‘holy shit, look that’s what my music did?’ My music reached a Swedish kid that’s a skier?!”

January 2015:

Henrik and Wu Tang’s Masta Killa partner up on a collaborative Wu Tang helmet for Bern.

Go get your Wu x Bern colab helmet at www.hharlaut.com. Protect yo head… @bernunlimited #protectyoneck @wutangbrand

A photo posted by Henrik Harlaut (@henrikharlaut1) on

March 2015:

Masta Killa attends and performs at the B&E Invitational in Les Arcs, France.

And later that month, Harlaut and Casabon meet the owners of CL-95, a Miami-based outerwear company (and a different story for a different day) that also sponsors Raekwon.

So grateful for all the opportunity life brings. by @bradyperron @raekwon @olskool1974 @robsantana23 @cl95inc

A photo posted by Henrik Harlaut (@henrikharlaut1) on

April 2015:

Harlaut attends Coachella, a music festival in California, to chill with Raekwon.”I never knew about Coachella, I’m not a big music festival fan,” says Harlaut. “But I got to hang out with Raekwon and see him perform—it was lovely.”

November 2015:

Iberg and Harlaut ask CL-95 and Raekwon if he’ll lay down some verses for their upcoming project. The song, “Be Inspired,” drops with the BE Inspired trailer.