Taking you back to the old school...

Nope, I'm not talking about those clips of Vin Diesel teaching you how to breakdance that are circulating the internet. I'm talking about one of the best movies ever made about b-boy culture in NYC, Style Wars. Film maker Tony Silver and graffiti photographer Henry Chalfant's PBS documentary exposed the mainstream to the inside world of graffiti, rapping and breakdancing.

Today anyone who has thrown on a pair of shelltoes and practiced freestyling after watching 8 Mile thinks they are in the know when it comes to b-boy history. Chalfant was an artist who lived in NYC when graffiti exploded onto the scene. He started taking pictures and was soon embraced by local writers, going as far as to call his house to let him know what trains had the new "burners" so he could get shots and getting interviews at the "Writers Bench". The movie extended past just graffiti, and publicized other aspects of b-boy life, such as rapping and breakin'.

The films features interviews with legendary Rock Steady crew members, as well as writers like Kase 2, Seen, and Dondi. Before, these were just names on a train, and a secret way of life. No these young artists had a face behind the name. The film also exposed the identity of the infamous, Cap. Cap single handedly changed graffiti by tossing up throwups over intricate pieces explaining he was "not a graffiti writer".

This film has become a standard for a culture, like Polo sweaters and wooden rackets and uppity country clubs. The re-release includes unseen footage and "where are they now interviews" that shows how graffiti helped or harmed the young kids featured in the movie. The film is amazing, top to bottom and I have compiled a top 10 list of moments in the film. If yours are different, let us know:
  1. "Don't be talking about my mother".
  2. The drug deal that goes down in the background of the scene.
  3. "Here it is! Here it is!"
  4. "That's never forgive action".
  5. Ed Koch f@*king up his own slogan for the anti-graf campaign, and getting asked if the signs are graffiti proof...and not knowing. Or how he mentions graf in the same context as capital punishment.
  6. "Lucille ball type hairdo".
  7. The Rock Steady break battle vs. the Dynamic Rockers, and the aftermath.
  8. The old dude asking if graffiti tags were a "nom-de-plume".
  9. Dez-y dez freestyle.
  10. "I'm out here to bomb, period. That's what I started for. I didn't start writing to go to Paris, I didn't start writing to do canvases. I started writing to bomb... destroy all lines."

Post a Comment

Word on the Beat



Holler @ us on myspace


 Subscribe to the hill




Powered by Blogger
& Blogger Templates