BAN TWO INTERVIEW
©1999 @149st Do not republish without permission.
What inspired you to become involved in writing?
I was fascinated by subways as well as motorcycles from an early age, like 9 years old. I used to ride the 3rd Avenue El with my moms, shit back then you could ride the rails by yourself! I'm talkin' like 1972. I could have started then, but I had a strict moms. I had to be inside. I couldn't hang out because of the gangs that controlled and ran the neighborhoods. I remember seeing graffiti then, but I can't remberwho I saw up. My memory isn't that sharp. I remember years later I saw BLADE 1, COMET 1, LEE, TRACY 168. I recognized their names and a slew of others. I use to stare at pieces and say "Damn! How do they do that shit?", while scratching my head. I saw all of the colors and characters and I thought, damn look at the reaction on other people's faces.
That is what interested me in graffiti, but I didn,t know where to start! I used to draw while in class, I had a knack for art already. I remember going to the grocery store and asking for the biggest magic marker and getting it. Next I had to come up with a name. I couldn't write my real name then, but some writers did write their real names with their street numbers.
Me and my family moved to the Bronx after being in a shelter for eight months. at the Regent Hotel at 103rd St., I'm talkin' 1974. I moved to the Grand Concourse at 174th street. I use to play stickball in the courtyard and I met a guy named melvin (NOC167). I used to play ball with him always. I didn't know that he wrote at all. Later I sad damn man, all this time I knew you and what not and never knew you wrote. Well I m interested in writing. What do you know?, What can you teach me?
I still didn't have a name, so I started coming up with names. I sat down with a pen and a piece of paper and started tagging names. I wrote and said to myself "Is this name catchy?." I wrote BANG at first. I rode the 6 train and the 4 lines to the last stop with a marker and a can of paint, I bought for $2.19 and motion tagged BANG. I started to dislike the name. I wrote BAN 2 or BAN II, and I asked NOC if anybody wrote that name and he said "No; I heard of BAN 1, but I never saw it up." So I claimed myself BAN 2.
What was the first line you hit?
I started on the 4 and 6 lines because those were the lines I took to school. Back then the lines you took work or school was the lines you wanted to see your stuff running on. You would be like, "There's my shit!". What a feeling!
Who were your first writing partners?
NOC 167 was my mentor and partner. I knew that I had a lot to learn and that my status in the game wasn't up to par. I met writers like SNAKE 1, NACO1, NIC 707, KIT 17, STAN 153 and FUZZ 1.
When was the last time you hit the trains?
The last time I hit a train was in 1985 in the fall. I already had the 4 line sewed up. I conquered it, besides MED 167 told me to chill, I already had fame. The name (BAN) rang bells It took me years to make a name for myself. I accomplished what I set out to do, I made the record books! Cause when you take king of something that's history! Remember what just I said, that's why I stayed on the 4s mainly, to set an agenda, a mission to be number one! What a feeling!
Tell us what you did during the transit strike.
Damn, when the strike hit town, I hit the tunnels and the yard. I had to walk there though; fuck it. I took a taxi to the D yard and walked to the 4 yard. I went hitting with COMET at the 149th Street Grand Concourse station, they had a few trains layed up there from 138 Street to the outside of the tunnel, shit we partied like hell in there. There wasn't no token booth clerks nowhere. You could just walk into the station. That shit really did cripple the city. I took advantage of that shit. Who wouldn't? I did two top to bottoms and 3 window downs and a host of throw ups and insides in the D yard. Shit, I wish they would have another one that'll be a blessing!
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