The Brothers
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The Brothers

SNAKE 1, STATIC 5, FLASH 191 and STITCH 1 at the P.S. 189 school yard in Washington Heights, New York. Circa 1973 Photo: SNAKE 1

The Problem With Origin Dates

Philadelphia Inquirer, Today — Sunday May 2, 1971 a full two months before the NYT Taki article
(Clockwise) Tags from Joe Cool, Bow Cool, Lew, and Cool Block — were a far cry from the legible, straight letters that were prevalent in 1970 NYC (courtesy of Wall Writers)

The police view them as destructive pests who are hard to catch. Many young people think of them as folk heroes, even celebrities. Sandy Padwe

Until recently, only residents of the predominantly black (sic) neighborhoods knew the identity of people like Cornbread.

Typical 1972 Tags featuring Lee 163rd, Stitch I, and two of the most famous of the women writers, Barbara and Eva 62. Note: Tags were starting to get the outline treatment
La-Zar Tag circa 1970 (courtesy of Wall Writers)

Styles were coming out. We got into this thing with colors. First it was two colors, then three colors, then four. Then it was the biggest piece, the widest. Then it was top-to-bottom, whole car, whole train. We worked on clouds and flames. We got into lettering. Everybody was trying to develop their own techniques.

In that sense, it’s a lot like rock ‘n’ roll in its pre-enlightened phase. To me, it announces the first genuine teenage street culture since the fifties… …If all this begins to seem as compelling to middle-class kids as the (?) style did twenty years ago, then we are in for some inventive times.

Cindy Campbell, the first Hip-Hop party promoter

There was no such thing as hip-hop. The music was rock, funk, Latin, and world music. Anything that had a beat got through. If it was the Doobie Brothers and it had a beat, it got played.

It was only 25 cents for girls and 50 cents for the guys. I wrote out the invites on index cards, so all Herc had to do was show up. With the party set from 9 p.m. to 4 a.m., our mom served snacks and dad picked up the sodas and beer from a local beverage warehouse. Cindy Campbell

Without being romantic about the frenzy of graffiti that burst upon the city, it is illuminating to find that their creators are now apt to perform onstage for others rather than just for themselves. Anna Kisselgoff, NYT

Twyla Tharp’s Deuce Coupe, 1973

Whatever these documentarians do gets hyped to the hilt, regardless of whether the right people were consulted, regardless of what assumptions and misrepresentations are concocted to suit an audience. And next thing you know, it’s part of the hip hop canon, and nobody will criticize it. Phase 2

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