SOE TNS INTERVIEW
©2002, 2005 @149st Do not republish without permission.
What inspired you to become involved in writing?
first started writing when I was in elementary school. A friend of mine name Keith who use to write KOE in the 3rd or 4th grade gave me my first pilot and gave me my first name. My first name was AI 1. Probably late 1975 early 1976 we use to go tag the first place he brought me was the sanitation trucks. My name was all over the sanitation trucks. I got tired of that name I didn't see a point to the name AI. My partner use to write KOE, so one day it was around summer of 1977 I was in the staircase with a friend of mine (he's not a writer).I wanted to change my name I wanted to follow in the footsteps of my partner because he was the real writer KOE 1. When I came up with SOE it clicked and from then on I wrote SOE 2 and the first crew I got put down with was S.S.B. (Soul Stoned Brothers) because I met SPIX 1 by Junior High School 22. I saw him writing and he said "yo, what you write?" and I said "I write AI 1." because I was still kind of shy about saying I wrote SOE2 . So he said put up my crew SSB and I saw SPIX SSB everywhere and I realized I was up with a legendary crew; so I wrote AI1 SSB and then I faded into SOE2 and I left AI1 alone and never wrote it again and that was early into my SOE2 days and that's when I came to meet EL.
How did you meet EL?
I met EL in 1979. I was on Madison Street and I took a tag on a bus and when that bus pulled off there was probably about 10 writers on that bus and there was LUS, BYE, a big crew of guys they rolled up on me. They were like "Yo what you write? You remember EL when he stepped to you. He stepped to you hard like 'Yo what you write?'". You know what I'm saying! The first thing he wanted was my marker and I didn't want to give up my marker. When I told him I wrote SOE 2 he gave me a little respect because he had seen my name around. From that day on we hung out and by that evening I was a TNS and the rest is history.
Who introduced you to writing on trains?
The first time I hit a train it was at the 75th Avenue Lay-up in Queens. It was with BK and SNAP SNAP was the undisputed soloist. He would go all by himself. SNAP TTB The Together Brothers. I hooked with him and BK and we just went and that was my first experience hitting a lay-up. After that it was over. It was a rap! I knew that's what I wanted to do!
What subway lines have you hit?
Es, Fs, GGs. I remember going to the 1 tunnel. RRs, AAs, A trains, the INDs. We covered the INDs. I stuck to the INDs myself. We covered everything, but we pretty much stuck to the INDs.
Tell us some of your most memorable moments with the TNS crew?
Tell us some of your most memorable moments with the TNS crew? The most memorable would probably be the Bridge. When we hit the Bridge we stormed it! It would always be like all of us even people who didn't write came with us because that was our house—the Bridge. The best time was when we reached a point of notoriety was when we started battling other crews. One which was 7DS because we eventually had to move into other turfs we had to go beyond the Bridge. We moved into the F lay-ups like Fort Hamilton. Then it got bigger and broader the D Yard and then there was collaboration between TNS and RTW .
In order to survive during the early '80s you had to be down with TNS regardless, because if not your shit got taken straight up! We took your shit! That's what it was about the graff game, the hip-hop game period is battles and in a battle you have to survive. It meant taking! You had to rack up! There were times when the racks were burnt and you had to take! The collaboration with MIN had to do a lot with RICH 2. EL and RICH brought MIN around. Once he came here he lived with EL in 199 Henry. Once he lived here it went beyond just being partners. You know he’s a part of the family because you know that TNS is a family. We owned the building. We owned our own building. We had our own electricity and our own apartments. EL was the landlord you know that! Two of the most famous writers that lived in 199 Henry were MIN 1 and SES D.O.G. (Devils Of Graffiti crew). SES, the SUBWAY SLASHER was definitely a resident in our building and just those two alone and beyond that we had writers we had so many come through to visit us they stood one night some people stood a month but our most famous host was MIN and SES.
Tell us about TNS and its days in the E and F Yard?
EL did all the scouting. Just when we thought we had conquered everything EL would come up and say hey it got another place and that's how we ended up in Union Turnpike in Queens somewhere. One of the most the most famous raids we were involved in was in Union Turnpike the E and F Yard. You could say that EL and RICH probably saved our lives . The place looked beautiful, a day to go bombing. It was a green light to go bombing that day, so we made our entrance through the hole in the side of the fence. We all went in and started bombing ,and ten minutes into the bomb, I can’t remember who was with us, but it was a lot of us then they lit the place up with lights and they were waiting for us. That was probably the last time I had any desire to write in a yard ever again after that raid there were cars on the highways there were police everywhere there were transit workers and police together. I just can't explain that raid but all I know all I know due to the leadership of EL and RICH the finest leaders in our crew none of us got caught in that raid we all got away and made it back to 199 Henry Street no casualties that's how it goes down!
Another raid, again RICH saves our lives. We were inside Fort-Hamilton bombing Fort Hamilton and cops had us surrounded in the lay-up. RICH pulls out a key and opens all the side doors and again we all got away. Remember, a raid is when you have forty or fifty cops. A lot of writers get it twisted they see one or two cops flash some light on them they think that's a raid. That's not a raid. A raid is when you have cop cars, paddy wagons. These days they don't do raids the way they use to do raids. Writers today don't know about raids. We were the kings of illuding the authorities as far as raids go.
What inspired you to go to the Marines in 1983?
Me and EL just about had it drugs, graffiti, just the whole life, there was basically no where for us to go anymore. We had covered all four corners of this game. Our families were fed up. We exhausted all our friends, all trust in anybody. We were basically just burnt out, so me and EL just get blasted. Back in the days we use to call getting high "getting blasted". So we went uptown to get some angel dust and we got dusted and we ended up in a recruiters office. Me and EL decided to join the Marine Corp Buddy Buddy system, but due to EL being caught on Easter Sunday two years before in Fort-Hamilton Lay-up with train keys. EL urged me to go he said don't worry I'll stay here you go get out of this and I did and I ended up in Beirut Lebanon evacuating the embassy. When I came back from boot camp that's when I was informed of EL's death by RICH. It just broke everybody apart. I didn't even feel like cadd anymore. It wasn't until 1993 due to stress and problems that I picked up a spray can. I started cadd again and I never forgot the day that I went to boot camp. EL said no matter what you do don't ever stop and to this day 2002 I'm never gonna' stop until my man EL and his crew TNS receive their proper credit for what they had brought to the graff game. All my partners in TNS they will respect TNS. No matter where you see it, where you read about it or how you think about it, you will respect TNS. That is what everyone in this game owes to my main man EL. It's not for me. It's not for anyone else. It's EL he was a true leader. I never in my life met somebody so young who could lead a team the way that he led it. You know that SPAR, and I went to the Marine Corp and I was led in combat by some real brave men, but I've never been led by a true leader like EL and that's why I'll never stop until TNS is given it's proper respect and that's it for EL himself EVER LAST.
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