Hailing from a city entrenched in history, activism, industry, a city that showed the powers that be that unity, is indeed power. I first learned about Tase by seeing his signature uzi throw up all over the Bay Area. Sometimes 10 throw-ups in a row, yes that kind of dedication. And then representing the prolific crew, TDK and I knew it was something prolific. Few writers elevate graffiti like Tase, whether it’s painting killer whales on trains, or rocking heavens & billboards, so tap in below as Tase opens a window into his world.
The infamous uzi throw up, it’s an iconic image at this point. I’ve seen fools bite this from all over the world but you’ve been rocking with this for mad long. Tell me about the origins of your uzi throw-up?
I started attempting to do the Mac 10 “T” around 1997. It went through a lot of phases and to be honest even when I thought it looked messed up it was still fun to do. My OG homie Dream showed me an old sketch he did with a pistol pointing downwards that resembled a lower case “r” and it just stuck with me. A lot of people think I got the idea from the rapper Ice-T.
When did you start writing Tase?
Started writing Tase in the 4th-grade elementary school. I had a couple of typical names before Tase and I wanted to write something no one else wrote. Around ‘93 is when I started writing Tase.
“I met Spie when I was in middle school and that’s how I met Dream”
I think I heard somewhere that Dream TDK was pretty instrumental in your early days, no?
Big time. I remember seeing Dream and Spie productions since I started looking at the walls, seeing his pieces off the Bart train in East Oakland at the 23rd yard and watching Video Graff and Malicious Mischief (a Bay Area graffiti video from the early 90s) and just being drawn to his personality cause he seemed real and wise. I met Spie when I was in middle school and that’s how I met Dream and most of the Bay Area OG’s that showed me the way.
“Graffiti is an escape from the responsibility of being an adult and living a somewhat normal life which is the burden of society’s expectations.”
You’ve been active for a very long time, what keeps you so addicted to the graf game?
Graffiti was something that separated me from most of my peers as a kid. I could draw pretty well for my age when I was young and I knew my interest and outlets differed from most kids I knew. I played basketball and baseball and that shyt didn’t excite me. Once I started writing I felt like I was dope at something naturally like some people are at sports or some shyt. I still feel like that after all these years since I started. In my years since doing graff I have seen a lot of writers come and go and that used to kinda bug me but now I understand that some people aren’t as passionate about graff because of their reasons for doin it in the first place. Graff was an escape from the hood life and household drama I endured when I was very young and now it’s an escape from the responsibility of being an adult and living a somewhat normal life which is the burden of society’s expectations.
In my “Definition of Style” article, you mentioned a book that discussed the psychology of handwriting. You said “you can tell a lot about a person by their graff style.’ Can you expand on this a little more?
Think of a handwriting expert, someone who analyzes handwriting to get a profile of a killer or some shyt. That’s what I meant.
“Now that I’m older I’m influenced by younger writers that have added something new to the culture by taking part in it.”
Who are some of your graf influences?
When I was younger it was the older cats bombing my neighborhood or wherever I lurked around and played. Now that I’m older I’m influenced by younger writers that have tapped into the traditional style of graff and added something new to the culture by taking part in it. There’s too many to name and too many eras and too many ways to write so I can’t specifically say who but the bus hopping scene from the 90s in San Francisco was really one of the most impactful for me as a writer. I started taggin on busses when I first started and there were a couple crews back then that smashed shyt. It was nothing like how graff is today.
“Graffiti taught me how to survive physically and spiritually”
What has graffiti taught you?
Graffiti brought me to many geographic locations and brought me around many different people which some I’ve created bonds with that are like family. Graffiti and the culture have given me so many different perspectives on life, relationships, and purpose. It’s taught me that life is a forever learning process and it’s also taught me how to survive physically and spiritually.
What’s something people would be surprised to know about you? I’ve released 3 finished rap projects and I produced beats most of the first 2. My younger brother mixed and produced the latest album which is titled LS4 “Streets of Rage” under Handle It records. My stage name is LS4 of Handle It records.
Describe a perfect day in the life of Tase.
The day would start off with some good food, a shower, a haircut, a daytime fill-in at a hot spot, a cruise around town, and would end with some titties in my face.
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