Growing up in the Jamaica area of Queens NY, I didn't pay too much attention to the E, F, R, G, J, and Z lines that rolled by or the handball courts and streets that were covered in graffiti.
Sure, graff caught my eye from time to time, I still remember a panel by DOSE T.C., then another by ENUF & EDGE I.F. and a handball court by SPLASH T.V.S.Q. and floaters of Smurf-faces by SMURFY G.L.K. because they were bold & readable but it seemed like a world away so it was mentally filed aside for later use. This was 1988-1990, my earlier memories of it, when I was listening to HOT97, WBLS, and KISS FM trying to emulate the mixes from my favorite dj's.
I spent every penny I got on records, reading all the information on them and looking at all the cover-art and that's where I first noticed easy-to-read yet funky-enough graff-lettering and became more interested in this "new" style.
The records I spun were my into this whole bio that you're reading,
particularly the "Strictly Breaks & Beats" series, with cover-illustration by KEV T.M.7 and all the nightclub-flyers advertising my favorite clubs drawn by A. Charles aka ZONE T.C.T. kept repeating a message to me, this is what you want to do!
But an interest alone didn't manifest into identity until I started traveling out to Avenue U in Bklyn to NY's first Techno-music record shop GROOVE RECORDS, a quiet place on weekdays, where many days I would "talk music" over all the beats and noise blasting from the speakers, with, writers turned dj's, BONES F.S.U. and VEN A.O.K. and watch them sketch pieces, throwies, and tags, and spin records, while I thumbed through the 99cent bins, looking for a misplaced treasure, I found many! But back to graff... Thier markers moved like air & water with bursts of dot, dot, dots. I would walk over to peek at what they were doing, and things started making sense. The why's, not only the how's. Then everything came to life, (circa 1990-1991) bombed subway stations, rooftops, streetsides, storefronts, handball courts, and highways... it was everywhere! Now what!?
A friend of a friend, was also a dj, wrote AGE, started frequenting the record stores I went to and would drop tags along the way. And there were alot of record stores back then! We'd hit some of
the stations on the way to and back, and commercial vans in the
neighborhoods - that was our thing! Then our friends would tell us that they saw us up! He was my first writing partner.
Forward 1994, I met SONAR T.W.B. an old-schooler from the J-line, mentored by BABY168 & PEO, he liked my stance against trendy-graffiti (anyone who knows me knows my disdain for it). He did some stuff in my blackbook then that still boggles me today, my style instantly skyrocketed based off it.
I learned enough style to now hold my own throughout the years and made more friends along the way. Main cats who stood by me, as well as provided healthy competition, were VEN, SONAR, SNATCH, DIEGO 127, BIS, REM 311, BOM5, EASE IHS, BARES, GOSH, SWAE, and of course my brother The original OPTICK ONE! The paint flowed freely!
I don't live in NY anymore & do miss it, but I'm blessed with good memories, even through the worst, it was all part of growing up. Now I'm in a different city but undoubtedly bring the flavor that I grew up with. I never said that I bring anything new to the table, I just wanna do what I like and that's what I remember...