Unhip for Hip Hop Part II

Buford Youthward

Hip Hop is nothing more than a noose wrapped around the throat of Modern Graffiti. Just as Graffiti is not Art neither is it filed under Hip Hop.

Graffiti, the powerful rebel, bulldozing over legitimacy and license. Taking desires for reality precisely because of the incestuous belief in the reality of desires. Graffiti demands its own wardrobe; it doesn't deserve to be dressed up in costumes imposed from other cultures.

The trivialization of Graffiti happens every time it is codified within Hip Hop, or any other culture for that matter. The imprisonment of Graffiti imagery hijacked by Hip Hop does not warrant the inclusion of Graffiti in the Hip Hop constitution. Graffiti must serve to brutalize mankind, a shock troop against conformity. The best Graffiti is Bebop for the eye.

How can the Modern Graffiti writer not feel hostile to the past, impatient of the present and cheated of the future? Modern Graffiti is debased every time it is imposed to serve any culture other than its own. Asking for the production of Graffiti within Hip Hop is like expecting creativity from a conveyor belt.

The mobilized Modern Graffiti Writer stands indifferent to the cries of "Art" and "Hip Hop," understanding that labels are a game for sideline players and passersby. In the arena of action, the gesture is the final judge.

Perhaps a parallel can be drawn between the destructive/creative tendencies in Hip Hop music and Modern Graffiti. The sample-happy DJ destroys or alters existing source material with the intent of producing a new creation. Part Frankenstein, part post-modern appropriation. However, in the case of the Graffiti Writer, the intent is not so much to destroy or alter property under the guise of creation (or beautification or improvement), it is more about the imposition of product upon a scene; seizing space (mental and physical).

The underlying product of all Modern Graffiti is self. Modern Graffiti as an act is selfish, more so than the selfish liberties a DJ dissects records with. The fusion between creation and destruction, nihilism and existentialism is inherent in Modern Graffiti. Our culture is certainly managed, measured and maintained in different degrees than the legitimate Hip Hop world; further nullifying, voiding and invalidating any true connection.

The true graffiti writer is in touch with everything human. When the crisis of Graffiti is pushed beyond certain limits it ends up placing the very structure of society in question. You can be part of the solution or part of the pollution.

Read more in Byline

Art Crimes Front Page