Wait, where are we?

Timing is everything-8035I was standing among the endless array of graffiti art that envelopes the Queens block known as Five Pointz. Moving somewhat awkwardly from spot to spot taking pictures while juggling my camera bag and the cache of Hip Hop records I had scored that day in Greenpoint Brooklyn. I had recently read that a wrecking ball will soon meet the legendary graffiti mecca and the corner bar where many scenes from the brilliant, yet short lived show “The Black Donnely’s” were filmed. The unique space will soon be home to a soulless, unaffordable high rise condo building. Knowing full well of the ticking clock I figured it would be a good idea to stop over before transferring to the Manhattan bound E Train.

As the train cars rattled above me I noticed a couple slowly approaching hand in hand. Acknowledgement and some small talk followed and I recall sharing how bummed I was about the soon to come demolition. 5Pointz-8031That’s when I realized  that this lovely couple were not from these parts. “I’m losing my tourdar.” I thought. I can usually smell a tourist from a mile away. The male counterpart began asking me about graffiti and hip hop. (I know what your thinking. Typical racial and age profiling on their part) 5PointzII-8017Any self respecting 30+ white guy can tell the story of how and where the now now celebrated art form started. He asked where the best places to view graffiti were and where he could explore the roots of Hip Hop. “It all started here.” He asked in an inquisitive manner. I thought for a second before referring to KRS-1’s “The Bridge is Over”. 5PointzIV-8085Suddenly and very quickly the moment froze. He looked at me puzzled and then “We’re in the Bronx now, right?” There was a sudden pause. Seconds that felt like hours, days, weeks. I took a deep breath, one usually reserved for the sex talk a father gives his thirteen year old daughter. A look reserved for 5PointzIII-8043the first time your son comes home drunk out of his mind with piss stains on his jeans. With  a certain quickness I regained my composure and began pointing in the direction of Manhattan, The Bronx and Los Angeles. He asked if the Bronx was safe and if they could walk to Chinatown from where we were standing.  I assured him that taking the nearby E to Canal street would be a faster route than walking and gave him  a few other ways to get uptown from Canal. As for his question about the Bronx. I  just told him to just use basic common sense. Hopefully my directions did them justice.

Meetup with Dälek.

This past Sunday I headed over to Union City for an interview with Hip Hop hybrids Dälek. As I entered the studio Alap aka Oktopus was into some serious mad scientist shit. The sound was both atmospheric and apocalyptic. Meeting up with him and Will (MC Dälek) was nothing short of surreal. When I started my online fanzine “Unite”  five years ago they topped my list of artists I wanted to meet with. Due to constant touring, producing, recording and Alap calling Germany his home. The timing was never right. What was originally slated as an interview early that night turned into a laid back hang out session amongst an endless selection of vinyl. I got it all on my Zoom H4N and will soon start the long process of transcribing and making sense of it all. Just thought I’d share these shots  I snapped before I left.

They wouldn't let me near the turntables.