Read In Your Language

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.



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