You have traveled around the world. What was your impression on the actual state of hip hop?
I am very disappointed. Hip hop is underground once again. Rap has been totally commodified and has nothing to do with Hip Hop. Kids ask me: " What is hip hop like in New York? " and I answer " Underground ". True Hip Hop will always be underground. Kids around the world see the Big Willy image and what to by a Rolex and some gold fronts. Hip hop has never been a fashion show. Is rap what you wear?
I know their is going to be a renaissance so to speak, with a rebirth of hip hop. That's why I am into this thing called fusionism. It's the fusion of things that already exist. Their is a lot of fusionism in music right now with what DJs in San Francisco are doing, I see people over in France mixing north African music with hip hop and it's dope. Take all kinds of different cultures like Indian music or Salsa mixed with hip hop and the result is great. I just was in Brazil were kids mix Capoeira (traditional acrobatic dance invented by Black Brazilians under slavery) with B-boying.
No doubt, I've always seen a parallel between the two. What can you tell me about Hip Hop in Brasil?
Right now it's a minority but it's growing. That's why it's important to tell people what Hip hop is. They get hit over the head by videos, and only a minority of kids know more about Hip hop than what is portrayed in the usual videos, know the pyramid of the different elements of the culture.
But in Brazil it's seems natural to adopt Hip Hop when you already have Mambo and a lot of caribbean flavours. Anything that has to do with african, Afrobrazilian, Afrojamaican, Afrocuban, Afro whatever. If it has the beat, the bass line, it's going to flow naturally. Samba is bad, it's a wonderful tradition.
The graffiti scene out there is on some next shit. The kids are into painting structures. They add sculptures to their pieces. They will bring ciment and a sledghammer when they go piecing. They really get into their paintings. I give them a lot of credit cuz if the police catch you down there you are getting shot. They are do or die kids. It's less like that in Sao Paulo, but in Rio they will shoot you. They have a tag problem in Rio, kids climb up everywhere to get their name up. Sao Paulo has more pieces so people can appreciate writing more. I've seen some of Twist's shit down there too. (see photos).
As far as France is concerned, I wouldn't call it a minority anymore. It has influences coming from Africa, Persia, Asia, etc. So Hip Hop paralleles these other culturs and mixes in naturally.
What do you think graffiti will be remembered for?
It's something I do passionately. It's my only way to vent some of the frustrations of life and create new visions. It will be remembered as the one art form of the 20th century that is going to change the face of art in the 21st century. I see the influence right now in graphic designing and font work. It's been a great inspiration in the commercial world. So I really think it's a motivating force of change in art. It's a movement coming from people who haven't been to art schools. It's the voice of peeps' and I don't think there has ever been anything else like it before. Art has always been pretty bouregois and clickish.
How do you feel art is delta with in France and in Europe?
You have squats here. Nowhere in the States could you have artists taking over a squat and then the government will let them chill their and make the whole thing official. The National Endowment for the Arts just got cut in half. So there is really nothing for kids who want to get involved in art. Art in american society is a privilege. The art that you see is bullshit. It's minimalist cacapoo by Schnabo. (We both laugh). It's post modernist crap. Conceptual art is bullshit. So I'm not saying that this society is utopian but just different. I don't feel as criminalized here as I do back home. But I got a lot to learn about life over here. It's changed a lot since the last time I was here. There use to be a lot of people into B-boying but that dosen't seem to be the case anymore.
This is true. Only recently has the original b-boys in this country started to get some play. But people seem to think that b-boying is comming back strong over here.
To me kids are pulling weird astronomical moves now. I think b-boys today lack style. They got a powerful technique but no personnal style. I have seen a million head spins already, try something new, not just a uprock, floor rock headspin. Swift and Wiggels are probably the two best B-boys I know. They are crazy b-boy scientists.
The R.S.C. anniversary was butter last year (1997). We battle Brooklyn Dynasty (the people behind the creation of Brooklyn Rock and Uprock dancing). The first time I saw Uprock was in a jam in Brooklyn involving Brooklyn Dynasty against another crew. They had an Appachie line (two crews lined up like for a duel and dance simultaneously and then flip with the crazy ist moves when the breaks drop). They told us we were doing it all wrong. The funny thing is that they could be in Brooklyn and we could be uptown and in the Bronx and do totally different styles. The battle involved thirty something people. We had several rounds with people coming in and out of the ;quot;ring;quot;. It was real fun.