When I was younger, you would be hard pressed to find any public walls that were covered with graffiti. While I had visited New York and other huge cities of the northeast to study my craft, the small town that I was from offered no tolerance for unauthorized use of spray paint. My humble little burb fought the growing graffiti culture off for as long as it could. I took to the streets, throwing up Rock 639 on everything I could, and had tons of wall space available. Sure you might see a little rival crew, scribbling here and there, but the simple “Kilroy was here” left much to be desired. Millions of walls across the world were about to become an official scroll, as b-boys and girls of all ages would take their first steps into the hip-hop family. Graphein would lose its’ basic Latin definition, and explode into today’s dynamic graffiti, whether anyone liked it or not.
While the roads to Hip-Hop culture are many; few can escape the basic first steps of throwing your name up. If you were really nice, you had to catch an ill burner here or there. You had to get your skills and your nerves prepared for your first full car, top to bottom, billboard piece or wall. Instant fame is what it was all about. Graffiti started to spread like a virus. Like Trake with the tags and stickers on everything, from NY to CT. Like all the Vaughn Bode knock offs, all over NY in the ’90s. Like the wild style of west coast writers and crews, doing it real big from Venice to Inglewood, back up to Boyle Heights, and all up and down from The Bay to Long Beach. Like graffiti writers hitting up the Berlin Wall with messages of hope, long before the wall ever came down.Once it got overseas, it broke out severely, giving everyone enamel fever.
The pay off for writers hitting cars from the Bemont Tunnels in LA to the seven train lines in Queens, is immeasurable. The creativity expressed in such a simple and public format like a moving train car, cannot be taken lightly. Names like Futura 2000, Toomer, Zephyr, Crunch, Taki 183, Cope 2, Seen, Obey, IZ, REVOK, Sabre, Dondi, Mr. Cartoon, Seek, and COST and REVS are household names. At least in households that stock spray cans and fat caps. Regardless, the names are legendary, as these writers have achieved fame like they never imagined.