In the era of the preview and early look, it was extra surprising to hear that a new edition of 12ozProphet is fully formed and primed for release. Coinciding with the relaunch of the website and forums (while the idea of a forum for streetwear is out — as the impending end of Hypebeast’s boards attests — in favour of the Reddit and private FB group chatter, graffiti still seems to work well in that format), plus a new store that debuts this week, we get Volume 2.5 in The Official Bootleg Series (contained again in “flavor-saver” packaging). Continue reading MORE BOUNCE TO THE OUNCE
Graffiti backdrops and rap have been coopted by the worst kind of hip-hop conservative — and let’s not get into the live painting festival side of things — but it’s something that’s still interesting when it reaches into other scenes. With a few exceptions, the more rap-centric side of New York hardcore does nothing for me, full of tattooed dudes that would absolutely batter me, stomach rockers and pitbull shots in the videos, plus those clumsy ’92 flows. But there’s a thin wallet chain line between good and terrible when it comes to rock and rap anyway The graffiti and NYHC connection however, is fascinating, from pieces on trains to those hand styles and hooded characters on tape covers. Lately, there have been some strong examinations of the hardcore scene’s aesthetics (this Anthony Pappalardo Youth Crew article on The Hundreds’ site from a couple of weeks back is superb). And last month’s premiere of The New York Hardcore Chronicles, which includes an entire section on hardcore and graffiti with folks like SkamDust, KR. ONE, was tied with a Doc Martens’ project where musician writers reworked the boot that claimed so many teeth on the scene. Building on this classic 2014 feature by veteran Freddy Alva (that SANE Burn piece = mind blown), there’s an entire book on the topic, Urban Styles: Graffiti in New York Hardcore, arriving via DiWulf Publishing at the end of October, that’s at the pre-order stage right now. Freddy spoke to graf/HC pioneers like Mackie, Chaka Malik and Sacha Jenkins (who I’ve long assumed was the reason hardcore featured in Ego Trip every issue). Just as Seen and friends preferred to paint to Sabbath, and a combination of Grand Funk Railroad and psychedelics probably helped evolved style as much as an 808 drum and THC ever did, while hip-hop was integral to altering hardcore attire from cut-offs and DM’s to Champion and Air Revolutions, the assumption that the soundtrack had to fall in line with the parameters of “four elements” to be considered real would be creating a deeply distracted version of history.
It’s easy to wish you were somewhere that you never were and engage in some fake nostalgia, conveniently ironing out the fact we’d probably be total victims, but late 1970s New York always looks like a culturally fertile place to be. The downside being that it was probably terrifying. After getting turned away from some fabled nightclub for being aesthetically displeasing, there’d be a kicking when you tried to hop on the hip-hop scene early in boroughs that didn’t want your culture tourism. Factor in a stifling heat wave, a blackout and the risk of David Berkowitz shooting you in the head, and it’s probably better left to the residents who were built for that shit. The Kino Library just upped some 1977 NYC footage from that summer that I’m sure I’ve seen extracts of in a variety of documentaries. Seeing as it’s silent, I recommend supplying your own soundtrack: Jimmy Sabater’s This Is Love, Rufus and Chaka Khan’s At Midnight, Richard Hell and the Voidoids’ Blank Generation or anything off Destroyer by Kiss might work well. Continue reading SUPPLY YOUR OWN SOUNDTRACK
After my friend Charlie lent me Brookynite Nov York’s self-titled 2002 book my imagination was fired. The stream-of-consciousness intensity in that first person prose was infectious, even if that take no prisoners confrontation and the outsider over thinking was going to send me over the edge beyond the final page. As a topic, graffiti takes well to words over pictures when it’s visceral tales of beefs, chases and anti-authority ranting. I’ve read a few pieces by Nov since and all I’ve ever seen of the author is that State Your Name section that just added to the mystery. But here’s the man himself on OG Huskey Radio a few months ago, making a 20 minute appearance to promote last year’s What Do One Million JA Tags Signify? I would have preferred to hear him answer deeper questions on his work rather than having to engage in an earnest conversation about hip-hop’s elements, but Nov York, who now resides in Europe, is as intense and very, very Brooklyn as I expected him to be. Interesting guy, interesting books.
We’ve covered this here before, but I buried it with a load of other strange topics. You can see JA and friends’ throwups and tags in a lot of NYC films, documentaries and TV shows from the late 1980s and early 1990s based on their sheer ubiquity, but it’s the other curious on-screen places they’ve ended up that are mind-boggling. If the quest was to find that visible, hard-to-reach spot, an alleyway in the Shrek the Third‘s computer animated Kingdom of Far, Far Away or the questionable future ghetto of Elysium‘s 2154 Los Angeles were pretty impressive seeing as they don’t actually exist. Continue reading XTC MEETS ROCKY
Can I repeat myself? Martin Jones’ 1988 interview footage with Goldie on the topic of graffiti was taken from YouTube a while ago, but I never realised that it was back up. I’ve posted it before, but with a few dissenting voices on his recent MBE acceptance, it seems relevant to remind people that Goldie repped this nation hard back in the day, getting up in NYC and returning to recount some tales of the tunnels with Jones while wearing the ultimate turtleneck, gold Mercedes pendant and lavish jacket combination. Continue reading ULTIMATE OUTFIT
News clip library channels on YouTube are as good place to waste some time as any. I occasionally spend an unholy amount of time trawling places like Getty or Corbis to see the good stuff in static form, but after browsing the AP Archive channel, I found some more recent, subtitle-free footage based around vintage denim and old shoes in London and Japan (where Bing Crosby’s denim tux by Levi’s was part of an auction). I hadn’t seen the footage of ageing writers like Zephyr and LA ROC (with some commentary from Henry Chalfont) before either, even though it’s only a couple of years old. Provided that there’s working Wi-Fi, I can’t fathom how anyone can get bored in 2015.