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Where and what year did you start (on trains)?
Well before I wrote PRIZ-ONE, I was writing SWAN-ONE based on a character from the motion picture" The Warriors." In the summer of 1979 a classmate and I, who wrote SPHINX aka MR. VON ROC from SSB crew (Sal Soul Bros./Sure Shot Boys) and CA (Crush-Artists.) Went motioning after school on an uptown IRT Broadway No.1 Local to 242st.(End of the Line.) Between us we had a Uni-wide and a freshly, flooded and pinned tip Pentel Pilot and a Pint of Black Flo-Master ink between us which we got at Bombay's stationery store on 99th street. We carried this in the back pockets of our bell bottom pants of our school uniforms. Those stains never faded! This was my first taste of bombing insides! In 1982, I met an older writer through a mutual friend who wrote CHAZ,TMT,TS5, and the original prez of WAR crew (Writers Already Respected.) He then introduced me to STAN-ONE prez of TS5 and they took me uptown to 137-145th street Lay-up (Uptown Side) on the No. 1's where they also layed up 2's and 3's on the downtown track. On a winter Sunday morning, I did my first PRIZ window down, color panel piece. Eventually, I got my hands on some IRT Keys and hitting insides became more accessible to me!
Did you have a particular inspiration or mentors)?
One of my first influences in piecing on trains was a writer named 2MAD,CYA (Crazy Young Artists.) This guy's big characters did not only standout but his concept of using them as replacements for his letters was well executed and intertwining them with Bode characters gave his pieces a wild style quality which succeeded in visually back grounding everyone without actually going over them! Another writer was JEAN-13,aka Flare BYB,TIS (The Ink Spots),Los Mosquitos. who had pieces on the walls of P.S.9 (Bubbles Hall of Fame) and several handball courts. His futuristic style: Battle Star Galactica themes and his Afro/Goggle characters were his m.o. This cat was one step beyond what everyone else was doing! As far as writing styles, two writers stood out: SAHARA, who had a wicked calligraphy hand style using Uni/Mini Wide markers and RASTA RTW (Rolling Thunda Writers) for his wild style spray can tags! What borough are you originally from? I was originally from the upper west side of Manhattan where there was a melting-pot of writers. At that time there was a lot of handball courts and school yard wall pieces: Brandeis H.S., I.S. 44, Joan of Arc H.S. and Rock Steady Crew park on 98th street on amsterdam ave. which was a hangout for YCB (Young City Boys) then. Also YCM (Yoke City Mob) and TI5 (The Incredible Five) TC5 (The Crazy Five.) TCB (The City Burners) SA (Soul Artists) ZOO-YORK, ZULU-NATION, 5 PERCENTERS, SANDMAN, and further uptown was THE BALL-BUSTERS. Manhattan was a force to be reckoned with when it came down to setting trends and graffiti styles!
Where were your favorite locations to paint?
145th street lay-up. The freight tunnels under Riverside Drive Park (today it is known as the "Freedom-Tunnels.") The uptown handball courts running along riverside drive highway. The 91st street abandoned station (downtownside). City-Hall Lay-up, The Ghost-Yard, 238th street Bronx Hall of Fame. For nostalgic sake: The Brooklyn Scrap Yards (Bush Terminal) and the N.J. Scrap Yard.
Do you have any good raid stories?
Oh yeah, In 1983, on a Sunday morning, I met up with CHAZ at 125th street and we headed to 145th street tunnels. We entered through the uptown side. Occasionally, two sets of trains were layed up back to back, but that day there was only one set. This wasn't unusual to see neither was the smell of paint and fumes in the air. Besides, the advantage to one empty lane was that you could step back and see what you were creating without being cramped between the two sets. We soon ran into STAN and SON, WBC (Writers Beyond Control) who were doing a married couple on the downtown side. They had seen us coming off the station and were wondering who we were? I began looking around for a car to get down on without the support beams obstructing it. I quickly glanced toward the downtown side which was the beginning of 137th street station and suddenly saw 2 beams of light swinging left and right in all directions like someone had lost something and had pulled out a flashlight to find it. Then the beams disappeared. I ran over to CHAZ to tell him what I saw and he waved me off assuring me that we were safe and that there was no reason to get petro, besides three cars down was the emergency exit and he had opened it. In my opinion, in any lay-up or yard situation "safe" was just a word especially with the reputation 145th had. With the sounds of the train motors humming and the downtown/uptown local trains running by us on the middle track, I hadn't heard or seen the yellow work train that pulled up where I had seen the flashlights. I heard no horn and saw no lights inside. All of us one time or another had a work bum or two walk in on us telling us not to break the train windows before disappearing. But this was creepy! We all saw this, no one moved. Suddenly, the front door and the side door slid open and a horde of work bums jumped out holding those yellow/black paddles swearing and swinging them in our direction! I saw nothing but orange vest! Everyone jetted toward the direction of the escape hatch which led up to the street. I remember it being a blur of chaos. Someone was shouting about the steel grate slamming down on their hand. Another slipping down the ladder. We all made it out and headed in opposite directions toward amsterdam and riverside drive. This wasn't the first nor the last raid that I would be involved in but it did give me a respect for the next guy who could pull off a burner, end to end or top to bottom under these conditions. A week later we would all be back down there again.
What crews have you written for?
In the Ô'80s: TS5,TMT,BYB,3YB,UA,CIA. In the late '80s: MAGIC:(Mad Artists Groovin In Creativity) TOP,OTB,CAC(recruiter).
How did the CAC crew form?
CAC crew came out of Brooklyn and Queens in the 1980's with a strong presence on the BMT's and IND's letter lines. They hit A's, CC flats, GG's, RR's, M's, J's and the white elephants in the 3 yard. When I linked up with them in the Mid 80's they were destroying Van Siclen, Shepard, Grant Lay-up, 175 street and the Dewey Yard, winter lay-ups. The crew did have affiliations with other crews like CLK (Crazy Lay-up Kings), KOK (Kings Of Kings), NOC (Nation Of Creation), TPA (The Public Animals), TKM (The Kings Men), BYI (Beyond Your Imagination) and TDK. I was put down by a writer named SUEIE who started out writing CISTER TDS. This particular division of CAC was from Lenox Avenue, some members went to school together, others lived near by and grew up together. But what bonded, formed and fueled this crew was the common goal of wrecking and destroying insides with Garvey ink/Super market ink/Ink made from Carbon paper(homemade ink) and flooded Marsh ink mops and going all-city. Later, outsides with throw-ups and whole car pieces from end to end.
Who was the president?
RAB was past and is presently still prez.
Who were all the original members?
The original members that I met and heard about were SLAM, vice prez. DOLE aka PRINCE DOLE. DENER aka DN, DEMER, DESIRE, SURE.
Who were all the additional members?
REEL, KZ-5, PYTHON, WEBSTER, FEMER aka FM, DAPE, KANGO, HP173, CHINO, YAZ.
Who were your rivals?
There were rivals when I ran with TS5 and even more with CAC crew, you can call it a sign of the times. You either had the seasoned veterans that you pissed off or the newcomers that wanted to ride your coat-tails and when they couldn't, they seeked retribution. If you looked at in a positive light it made you better at what you were striving to accomplish. Competition is healthy, it keeps you on your toes just like a rival. On the flip side, the negativity can consume you and make you stagnant or set you on a destructive path. I prefer to dwell on the positive.
What year did you quit writing?
By '84, I had stopped writing SWAN and was writing PRIZ which was short for PRISMA/PRISM which were my undercover tags. TS5/TSF crew had disbanded, members got older, new interests became apparent, others joined different crews and others started their own crews, and branched out solo with no crew affiliations. I then started writing with Cool Art Creators/Crushing All Comp. I hit D's with YAZ, from AOK (All OUT KINGS) and RRs with SUEIE. But the days of bombing and piecing were slowly fading out for me. By 1989, I was finished with graff and it took a back seat to being a young adult. In 1992, I contacted my old on/off partner YAZ to see how he was doing and he took me down to 238th Bronx Hall of Fame and I started writing PRIZ-ONE again from there on I just kept going.
Any closing words?
I already stated I was a member of TS5. I was also a member of CAC. My concentration was strictly placed on the IRT's because of it's flat,window down panels on the outsides. But the BMT, and IND letters did have more available spaces on the inside. It depends on your preference. Even though, CAC crew was quiet for a while, I did my part in putting it back on the map from Manhattan to the Bronx. I know I've succeeded because I see the biters biting and that's the best form of flattery. PEACE!
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