Editor’s Note: KCRW is hosting an outdoor screening of the iconic 1983 graffiti flick Style Wars at Oscars Outdoors in Hollywood on July 28, with live art by Mear One (hear his Guest DJ set!), b-boys and more . Our RSVP list is full, but we will have a stand by line the night of the event. Find out more info here.
When I was younger, I remember a bunch of kids and I sharing a VHS copy of Style Wars.
From DJ battle videos to graffiti documentaries, they served as our guide into a mysterious world of counter culture art.
Every Summer, my grandfather use to take me to back east to Queens to see family. I remember looking for Style Wars to come to life!
I took my polaroid camera and I would snap pictures of murals, trains and carts with tags on them. I would see firsthand what Tony Silver and Henry Chalfant caught on tape. I would also record late night NY radio on cassettes — rap battles, freestyles — and bring it all home to LA and share with friends. But no matter how hard I tried, I could not capture the essence of Style Wars.
As I grow older I realize that Style Wars was not just a documentary about the birth of the elements of Hip Hop, but the story of what happens when youth begin to find a code of communication that begins to give them a sense of pride and community.
I also grow fonder of the exploration perspective of the films creators who took risks forming bonds with these kids and documenting all this magic during the ‘80′s.
This was my first introduction into street photography and capturing the reality of what surrounds us every day on the streets. These subjects in Style Wars created something from nothing. That is the true inspiration of this documentary.
Before rappers compared themselves to Jesus and boasted of fame and wealth, kids and young adults use to boast skills and encourage community and unity in the park.
This is my mix that documents that special time in American history when the Lower East Side was crack central, social programs took a cut, we thought Russia would attack, Hulk Hogan was the champ and the A Team was on NBC every week. Hope you dig!
Style Wars-Inspired Mega Mix Playlist
Cold Crush Brothers Vs Fantastic Freaks – Basketball Throwdown
Marley Mar – Marly Marl Scratch (Feat. MC Shan)
Fat Boys – Can You Feel It?
(Jean Michel Basquiat Interlude)
Kurtis Blow – If I Ruled The World
Sweet G – A Heartbeat Rap
Various Artists – Subway Theme
(Style Wars Interlude)
Fab 5 Freddy – Cuckoo Clocking
Funky 4 + 1 – That’s The Joint
Spoonie Gee – Love Rap
Whodini – Five Minutes of Funk
The Younger Generation – We Rap More Mellow (12′ Version)
Sugarhill Gang – Apache
Incredible Bongo Band – In-AGadda-Da-Vida
Futura 2000 – The Escapades of Futura (Feat. The Clash)
Details about the upcoming event here: http://events.kcrw.com/event/1757320