Read In Your Language

Happy 50th Birthday, Graffiti!

In 1967, some dude in Philly wrote his name on a wall to get a girl's attention. My how this culture has grown up since then.

Taggin Ass City

A historical look at the origins of the 1st element of hip hop in this new documentary. Culture kicks the facts.

BBoy Salute:DISCO DUCK

A LEGEND amongst legends has passed away in Philadelphia. You should probably know this name if you SAY you love hip hop culture...

The Art Scene: The Fun Gallery

Street Art? New???? Our Big Brother Samo, aka Basquiate and the crew was doin that back in the day in NY, sun. Take peep into the start of a movement.

Da Buze Bruvaz: Hard Liquor

Our favorite rap group is back making that unmistakable hip hop music. Nothin but fire. see if I'm wrong...

Monday, November 6, 2017

To the victor goes the spoils.......

                       Duck TRK

  Graff is funny, and films about graff are funnier. The moment one begins to document it's "history" he embarks on a road littered with embellishments (or outright lies) and ego. Which is why Culture Livingston's "Tagging Ass City" is a welcome piece of cinema, surprisingly clear and well presented. Opening with an action sequence featuring Rame KMD in Philadelphia's Broad Street Subway tunnels, the film carefully begins to craft it's case for Philadelphia as the home of graffiti (certainly to the chagrin of New Yorkers). Yet this isn't a claim made without research, and New York's contribution for the birthplace of hip hop is stated with no question.

  Mr. Livingston carefully narrates of (and openly wonders about), the impact of Chicago gang hands. As if the idea of Chicago being the inspiration for the East Coast is quite reasonable. After dangling this prospect before the viewers in enters Darryl McCray.

  Darryl McCray aka "Cornbread" the World's First Graffiti Writer. You'll find a few people to dispute this, but not many. And even if someone else did precede Cornbread​, his narrative is way more compelling. What red blooded American man can't relate to a love smitten boy writing his name on a wall to get the attention of a woman? Sentiments like that are literally what films are made of, and Mr. McCray knows and sells the commodity which is "Cornbread". And a very legitimate and valid point is made in his interview. Cornbread was the first writer to write his name on a wall throughout a major metropolitan city, completely separate from the gang culture that permeated the era. He IS the Godfather of Graffiti and the modern graffiti writers.

   The film then segues into the history of Philadelphia graff crews, Delta Phi Soul, KCD, SAM1 and ICP (which holds the distinction of being the oldest active graff crew in the world).

  Also mentioned is Notorious Bik (NB) and his popularizing, if not creating the wicked.

  Next up is Task "The Amazing Scribble King" from Philadelphia's storied HCS crew. Task speaks of his experience in the game, and tricks he used to stand out in a graffiti soaked city during the 70's.

  JK of ICP also speaks of his experience, while Mr. Livingston fills in the blanks from a historical aspect.

  Which finally leads up to the unexpected star of the show DUCK TRK. Interviewing Duck on film doesn't really do justice to Duck. To Philadelphia, Duck is much more than an interview in a film. Duck, maybe more than anyone epitomizes Philadelphia graff. For at least four decades Duck wrote on walls... EVERYWHERE. All tags too, no fills or pieces. The man became a Philly institution from solely tagging his name. In his interview Duck doesn't speak as eloquently as Task or JK about the mechanics and history of graff. Nor does he proclaim any titles or credit himself with anything like Cornbread. Duck doesn't need to be either of those things. Duck just writes, he was the oldest, on going graff artist. Simple in his speech, simple in his approach to graff. Write on everything.

   "Tagging Ass City" is worth the pickup for a fair and balanced look at the history of Philadelphia graff. Culture Livingston's ​film is an enlightening historical documentation. Give it a try.

Go the STORE page on this site or go here to purchase.



Dedicated to the memory of Duck TRK.... rest well.......KING.

 
 


Thursday, November 2, 2017

Happy 50th Birthday Graffiti!




In 1967 a kid from North Philly went out and started writing on walls so that he could get at a girl. Like most of what guys do, right? If it weren't for women, most guys would shower maybe once or twice a week. Lol (not me, of course...) But it was this simple act of tryin to get at the fairer sex that  launched a cultural phenomenon.

That was 50 years ago this year! Happy Birthday Graffiti! CORNBREAD, the kid from Brewerytown, North Philly, that started it all, started writing on walls in September of 1967. Altho he officially started taggin in 1965 in reform school, we will take it from the time he started rockin in the plain view of the general public. (this discussed in our movie, "Taggin Ass city", now available in the bboycult.com store, or here.) So, Happy Birthday graffiti!


In the past 50 years graffiti has progressed from what gang members used to use to mark territory to a full fledged art form. It amazes me that the movement du jour started out as some strait gangster shit. It's usually how it happens tho; the common man sparks an idea, someone sees it and finds value. For the kid in the street its a way to get fame. For others, its a full on career. That value is found in the people who use it.

Graffiti for some has been the first major achievements in life. That first taste of  public acclaim has inspired some to move forward in other areas. I think that's a part of its allure. It's the first reality show. People watch in real time the exploits of graffiti writers and the places they've traveled in a bid to stay watched. In many ways, graffiti artist greet people on their journey and become a part of their adventures as they arrive at certain places, see a familiar name and say, "Dam, what the hell is he doing way out here???''. The mystery identity helps to fuel the curiosity that keeps people watching. They become known, all while employing creativity, while being a bit of an outlaw while, ironically, remaining unknown to the people that watch. They know the name tho. They all know the name.

Conversely, graffiti has also been a practice that has served as a major point of disappointment for some. When they get to these celebrated heights, they are now feeling a pressure to live up to the hype. You're a star now, so u gotta look like one. And that translates to the pressure of having things and looking fresh without fail. In Philly, it's almost expected that the top Graff writers are also get money boys. And in a lot of cases it's true. And those that can't rise to the occasion are left retreating into the anonymous world of drug abuse. It happens to the drug dealers too. Drug abuse is the perfect escape from the pressures of life, because, after all, it's not your fault you fell off. You were addicted to drugs. It's happened to a lot of the top players in the game. You come across them and sometimes they are embarrassed to tell u who they are because they see who you are and feel like that they should be better off in the game. Or sometimes it's the obvious disappointment in your eyes, when meeting your childhood hero, the guy you patterned this pursuit after, is a guy who wears the same drawls for a week, shoots heroin and maybe does somethin strange for some change. The disappointment they see in your eyes when you meet helps to push them further into retreat.

Regardless of what goes on in the swamps, the reception halls tell a different story of people finding fame and fortune in the world of high art, earning magnificent fortunes from an art form they found in the gutter. For those that used it to improve their condition, I salute you. I salute all poor people who have used this culture to change their lot in life. What better use for culture can there be? The beautiful thing is that graffiti STILL has the same utility deep down in the slums, in the underbelly of the city's subways systems and train yards, as it does in MOCA or the various art galleries across the world that embrace it. It still holds the same basic premise; you must be excellent to excel at it. You must be persistent to be recognized. It is the only pillar of hip hop that still requires individual excellence in order to be celebrated.

Happy Birthday graffiti. Thank you for all you've given to me and to my homeboys both dead and alive, those fallen soldiers in the war against their current circumstance, those who set out to make the world recognize them. Thank you for providing a vehicle for the road to success. You are truly a crime of passion.

New graff Documentary: TAGGIN ASS CITY



We here at bboycult are proud to to announce the completion of our first full length documentary, ''Taggin Ass City, The History of Philadelphia Graffiti Tag Styles". The history of the tag styles in Philly are really a history of graffiti itself in its first iteration, before it was exported to New York and enjoyed it's next phase of development.

The film was written by your boy, me, Culture, mainly in an attempt to set the historical record strait. It seems that there is or has been some reticence to accept or give Philadelphia the recognition it deserves in the development of the culture of hip hop. Ironically it's usually from the people outside the culture. The last time I was in New York, the homie Tramp Daly took me to a panel discussion where I was the only Philly writer up there. Grandmaster Caz was also on the panel, one of my favorite MCs of all time. The NY dudes showed mad love and gave CORNBREAD his just due with no hesitation. It took me by surprise, because growing up with a dad that used to live in Brooklyn and the Bronx, sayin stuff like 'graffiti started in Philly' could get ur ass whooped. Or laughed at and clowned. So fellas from the panel, excuse me on that day if I seemed a bit on the defensive. You guys showed me nothing but love. I appreciate it.

On the other hand, when I attended a screening of Style Wars at Drexel University, I got up during the Q&A and asked Henry Chalfant if a retraction was in order. He asked, "Why?'' I said, ''In the film u state graffiti started with a kid named TAKI in 1971 when I'm fact it started with a kid named CORNBREAD from North Philly in 1967.'' The crowd erupted. "YEAH!!!" So Chalfant says ''No''. He says if that's the story, then I need to tell it myself. So I ask him, "Well, what about the historical record? Isn't the reason for documenting the culture is so that we can commit it to history responsibly?" Same answer. I was stunned. The wild thing is that NY graff legend BLADE was there with him. He was sitting next to Chalfant. All while I was speaking, he was nodding 'YES ' the entire time. And anybody who has ever heard BLADE talk about graffiti, you know he's a real historian. He's a real writer. And he goes waaay back in the history of graff. And he didn't hesitate a one bit giving credit where it was due. Like a real writer would. I respect him forever for that.

So I took Chalfant's suggestion. I made a film discussing just that, because it was obvious he had no intent on correcting the film. It's a steady stream of income for him, and has been since 1982. Regardless, the story of graffiti's origin isn't nearly as interesting as the story around how it all developed afterward. What it develops into is also very interesting because here you have a completely different graffiti writing tradition that is fiercely guarded and protected, that is unlike any other form of writing in the world. In Philadelphia, we even write like the gang war boys of the 50s and 60s, a style of writing that existed before CORNBREAD started venturing into the city. Our community of writers are devoted to the preservation of these traditions and history. We are the only place on the planet that still expresses graffiti styles from the 50s to now. The story is worth committing to the historical record. So I did.

The film discusses all of these things, plus more, set to a soundtrack designed to take you back to those times. I'd love for you to check it out and give me your honest feedback. Cause I'm certain if you're reading this, You care about this culture. No pun intended....



Enjoy this excerpt. To purchase the film, just go to the 'store' tab on this website, or go here.






Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Bat.....

......as a kid I liked comics. All kinds of comics. Sunday newspaper comics(color), the black and white comics during the week. All the cartoons, you name it I loved it. I loved live action too. Ultraman and Godzilla on Channel 48 in Philly. Kung fu, karate flicks, ninjas and bald headed monks who were martial art masters. The whole shebang. My Mother had old photos of me with a towel around my neck pretending to be Superman and I can vividly remember perching on coffee tables and trying to stick to walls unsuccessfully like Spiderman. Since I loved to read, my Mother bought me all kinds of comic books. Marvel, DC even Archie. I didn't care, I loved them all equally. Then one day she bought me a Batman comic book. Now, of course I was already in love with Adam West and Burt Ward as Batman and Robin. Watching them "bam" and "pow" their way through evildoers like the Penguin and Joker. And of course I tuned in next week, same bat time same bat channel. But I knew very little about Batman until I started reading him. It wasn't Batman I immediately identified with in the books. It was a young Bruce Wayne who witnessed his parents murdered. My Mother and Father fought constantly, every night in bed under the covers I listened as bitter arguments murdered their marriage. By 9 I was a kid shellshocked by divorce. I retreated into Gotham. Surprisingly Gotham and it's villains didn't scare me. It was a dark shadowy place with cruel people, but Gotham had what I felt I was missing. A hero. A hero who wasn't afraid of the shadows, rather he thrived in them.....and he had no problem HURTING bad guys. Hurting them bad, brutally, but not killing them. Rather promising to return and inflict more pain if needed. I....I identified with that kind of anger mixed with grief. The desire to hurt someone to feel better. But I couldn't I was helpless. But here was a guy who represented hope for me. See, I didn't have to get bit by a radioactive spider, or be born with an X gene to get satisfaction. Batman was someone a kid could realistically dream about being. Lift weights, learn martial arts...kick ass. I hadn't figured out the billionaire part or how to buy a Batmobile, but that stuff was secondary. I wanted to kick ass....I wanted to hurt the bad guys (I wouldn't dare hurt my parents, although honestly it was their fault in my mind) but definitely bad guys. I wasn't even certain what constituted a "bad guy" nor care. I just wanted...I don't know what I wanted...I just wanted to get outside myself. As I grew to an adult, and Batman grew in popularity. TV shows...movies, cartoons. I was there for it all. After all, he is my childhood hero. But I've grown now, and made peace with my past and my childhood. Sadly poor Master Wayne never will. He shall forever patrol Gotham dishing out pain, trying to stop the hurt.

*

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Thoughts on Luke Cage......

.......I don't want a second season of Luke Cage. Here we have a depiction of a black man we haven't seen before. Ever. He's bulletproof and superhumanly strong. He's big, bald, black(darkskin)....and he's from Harlem. He's also an escaped convict. Yet Luke doesn't kill...shit, Luke doesn't curse....*puts a dollar in Pop's tip cup*.....he's not a bully. He's humble, he sweeps hair for a living, but he's intelligent.....he actually reads books! He's kind, he's understanding. Luke carries himself with dignity. He's not effeminate in walk, talk or outlook. Luke is also a sexual being. Not a leering, hypersexed, catcaller. He's a protector, with a sense of duty to his community. Luke is a man. Even Luke's enemies are men and women of shrewd intelligence. Actual organized criminals who are intelligent themselves (not "nigger stickup men who fall asleep in the getaway car). This show was written and depicts a section of black America accurately. Luke Cage doesn't deserve a second season. Luke Cage deserves a movie franchise. Luke Cage deserves a larger audience. America needs to see we are more than rap videos, sporting events, protesters, and mugshots. America as a whole needs to see Luke Cage. America needs to see Luke Cage as a hero. I don't want a second season of Luke Cage......

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