A study of graffiti culture in New York

Praised by KRS-One, Tony Silver’s 1983 film is a study of graffiti culture in New York that also exposes the growing hip-hop scene from a time of great creativity for the city.

As the history of graffiti unfolds from the early tags of TAKI 183 up to it beginning to earn respect as a gallery art form in its own right, a lot of the interview footage depicts that age-old battle between the establishment and the rebellious youth.

Whilst the focus is on the graffiti, the expanding hip-hop cultures of break-dancing and MCing are also caught in vivid detail. Even the contrast between NYC then and now represents a story in its own right.

Expanded to a double-disc release, it’s telling that the bulk of the artists reinterviewed for the bonus material have become respectable figures, yet few have became the establishment themselves. It’s as if a part of that spirit will always endure.

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