Graffiti Art -The Hieroglyphs of Hip Hop Culture! Part #1.. interview with Pop Master Fabel.
Updated: Jan 11
Pop Master Fabel interviewed with us and discussed a few topics centering around the early days prior to HIP HOP. Some of our discussion was on the gangs in the early days and their influence on him and the rest of the kids in the neighborhood of East Harlem. We also spoke about him creating a dance crew with a friend, they named it the Electric Company dancers. Also graffiti crews like TCV & Crazy Vandals. We then discussed a photo shown during the interview, that was captured by Henry Chalfant. The photo discussed during the interview was published inside of the book Subway Art, which was created by both Henry Chalfant (Author), and Martha Cooper (Author).
Link to book Subway Art
Click video below to watch our interview with Pop Master Fabel of the Rock Steady Crew
Also during the interview we discussed a little of the mindset and precautions writers needed to have while creating Wildstyle type of Graffiti that could take the artist 2 - 3 hours to create. Looking out for cops, other crews, having lookouts and tagging in known gang territories were among some of the things that writers had to be aware of. These things just comes with the territory being a graffiti writer. He also highlighted what styles had a flow to it, How to make your own markers called Mops & how throw up tags can take 15 seconds to complete when mastered.
While graffiti has been around before HIP HOP. We also below wrote about some of it's history and how it began and what started the influence of the rest of the world, to accept Graffiti as an actual art through HIP HOP lens.
In 1965, Darryl “Cornbread” McCray, now widely considered the world’s first modern graffiti artist, housed in Philadelphia. McCray loved cornbread so much, in fact, people in his neighborhood gave him the nicknamed “Cornbread”. When he was younger, he would not stop asking folks in the neighborhood to make him the cornbread, he’d grown up eating with his family.
Cornbread spent all day hunting for fresh areas. Every free surface in his neighborhood in Philly, was an opportunity for him to practice his craft. He would tag the hallways, poles, church halls, and bathrooms obsessively. He got so popular writing his tag Cornbread, he was able to later Join forces with friends (and future graffiti legends) like Cool Earl and Kool Klepto Kid to tag walls across the city of Philadelphia.
In an act to further cement his legacy as a graffiti writer in history. As an icon of 1960’s graffiti, Cornbread snuck into the Philadelphia Zoo & painted “Cornbread Lives” on both sides of an elephant.
The 1960’s graffiti movement was also developing in New York City. New York didn’t have much, [and] the kids had to figure out what to do with themselves.”
Taki 183, from Washington Heights, just north of Harlem, created his now-iconic tag in 1969 by combining “Taki,” a form of his Greek name, Demetrius, and “183,” his street number.
Taki used magic markers and spray cans, cut a hole in his jacket that allowed him to hide his hands, Taki tagged any open area and subway cars across New York City, carefully choosing his spots. Taki’s worked as a bike messenger. His name was all over Manhattan. You could walk 20 blocks and see his name on every pole.” He enjoyed the feeling of getting his name up, and he liked the idea of getting away with it. Taki said in an interview.
Writers began experimenting with new lettering styles and flourishes, embellishing their tags with stars, crowns, and eyeballs. Among the iconic writers of this period were Superkool 223, who is credited with creating graffiti art’s first masterpiece; Tracy 168, also had a major role in ushering in a new era in the history of graffiti art.
A native of the Bronx, Phase 2 (born Lonny Wood) created the now-iconic bubble style of aerosol writing -- thick marshmallow-like letters, also called softies. Phase 2 also pioneered many other techniques seen in graffiti before1980, including interlocking type, arrow-tipped letters, and the use of icons like spikes and stars.
The 1970’s graffiti set the stage for the “Wildstyle” brand of writing, a unique style which helped transition graffiti from simple words, to murals of artwork.
All Photos captured by Jason Turner of YSYM Films
Article written by Jason Turner - Sophisticated Kat Mag.
Video of Interview & editing of interview by Jason Turner of YSYM Films