From the wall, to the train yard, to the boxed in box trucks, NME puts it down wherever it can be applied. Bombing Science presents, NME ONER.
Where are you from man?
So, I’m from Freeport NY… AKA Port Knoxx. Born & raised a New Yorker.
What crews are you down with?
I am down with the WF (World Famous/ Warriors Forever) crew out of the Bronx. Peace to my brothers JUST, SOEL, GWIZ, 9VOLT, RIP RE. I’m also down with the AU crew (Abstract Universal, Almighty Union) out of Long Island. Peace to my brothers DASH AU, JERK AU, EXEL AU, DESN AU, AYES AU, and ZAM AU.
When did your interest/ career in art begin?
1979* Growing up in the 80’s in the neighborhood at about six or seven years old, I had the privilege of seeing all of the TDC crew (The Destiny Children.) Walls and handball courts in my hood from DC3, SHO, DOME, and these local cats who were on their way to becoming an all city train crew. They started the spark… Their dope pieces were all around where I lived, and I grew up playing ball at those courts. I grew up with my mom in a one bedroom apartment. She taught in Queens at Far Rockaway. I used to go to work with her and see the trains running with letters around 1985-1987. I was always looking at the subways rolling with pieces. I saw one hip hop jam that they threw at her school with all of the Junior High students in ’86. They came on stage spitting freestyles and break dancing to beats. It was a wrap for me. Two days later I was trying to spin on my back and bust wack little bubble letters on my Trapper Keeper notebook, haha. That was in the early days where that raw hip-hop energy was every corner you turned in New York. I started first drawing comics, or trying to, in ’90/ ’91. I pulled off a couple cool attempts at Marvel covers with Wolverine and The Punisher. Characters > Illustrations when I was young, but then totally fell out of it, and left art alone for a while. A few years it came back with my involvement in the music scene in New York, playing Metal and Hardcore shows in the ’90s. Played shows at Roxy, CBGB’s, Hammerheadz, Right Track Inn, etc… A lot of my boys I used to drink 40’s of OE with and smoke Philly’s in the parking lots used to write and get up… That made me want to start messin’ with the cans when I saw their fresh tags and simple styles busted on the walls. I was amped and already trying to get some paint up, and find out about caps and shit. I knew nothing. Nobody gave me an alphabet like some old school NY heads. No insight to style knowledge or paint tricks. The whole experiment started from there on out… My first tags on mailboxes and staircases were around ’92/’93. I made my first wildstyle and simple style piece attempts with Krylons and Rustos in ’94/’95.
Very cool! You still try and back spin every now and again? Haha. Yeah, before the internet, information like that was hard to come by and 9 times out of 10 you had to figure it out on your own. The internet holds everything now… How many names did you go through before you chose NME?
Haha, not anymore. I spit rhymes and produce beats. Those were my crossovers from the four elements. For my personally after graffiti took charge through my bloodstream in the 90’s. It went in that order, Graf> MC> Beat Producer. I’ve done shows with a lot of dope heads on stage, but that’s another thing though. Peace to my brothers from UNCONTROLLED and my partner in crime and blood brother Ricochet. Yeahhh… No internet back then lol. You actually had to leave your house to get things poppin’. Had to try to search for shit like caps and maybe use like six different brand of spray paint just to make a cool color scheme sometimes. Krylon, Rusto, Accents, Painters Touch, Colorplace, Floral paint, etc… But for bombing, you’re always good with a fresh silver and black Rusto in NYC… Hahahaha… Oh and no graffiti trick videos either. You had to learn with the old high pressure paint and try to figure out how to finesse it… Bottom line… OK, so… In the beginning I played around with writing a few different names. Some more on paper and books than walls in that period.
The first name I tried writing style pieces with in books was *SEL. I then started writing the name *SAGE and was experimenting doing some pieces with that name briefly on some walls until I was cruising in Manhattan and saw it up already in the mid 90’s, lol. Oooops! I was a kid and a little toy at that point trying to transform what I could do in blackbooks to walls… Around the same time I played around with the name *CHANCE. Which I still rock every now and again cause I dig the letters. Came up with NME in ’95/ ’96 and started bombing and painting those letters ever since. My first graffiti partner was a cool brother named *LI STAIN. He was from Freeport also and when we would hit up spots we would split like nine cans or something and both do a piece with those. Like… “Yo!… Throw me that can of white…” lol. He stopped writing a year or so later and went down to Georgia for graphic design… I kept it going.
In ’97/ ’98 was when I got serious and started smashing the LIRR train-lines, rooftops, handball courts, and box vans. I was going into a good period of bombing, painting styles and general ruckus & shenanigans.
What was the LIRR train-line like at that time? A lot of space or the scene was already taking off then?
The LIRR train-line was dope. It was one of my playgrounds and completely different before 9/11. We used to rock broad daylight tunnel spots with burners and backgrounds. Just have one homies looking left and right. The train lights would come, we’d run up the overpass of the tunnel and duck behind some trees and bushes. Start painting again when it passed 20 seconds later… lol. Every now and again we had to dip or got raided… I used to eat acid and shit, walk down the train line like five miles at night and paint everything until I ran out of ammo… lol. I’d stumble into all types of scenarios back then. My partner and I, JOB (JPT) used to go bust a lot of shit on those lines back then and get funky with color pieces and simple styles. R.I.P to my brother OWE. Back then there were spots getting rocked… But there was also a lot of buffing going on too.
There were even wars with the rail road workers sometimes… lol. We would hit some electrical boxes one the way to the tunnels and they would come into the tunnels that we painted productions and scribble all over the pieces with their silver touch up electrical box paint…. We’d just fuck them up even more naturally… Deuschbags… Around that time I had moved back to Manhattan in 98 where I was going to school for music briefly, but dropped out when a close friend passed away from my building, and lost it a bit… R.I.P Danny. I flipped my shit and started painting & destroying everything in my path. I went through this period where I broke into all different wildstyles oddly enough and experimental funk that you can still see my hard outline styles. Always bold with cuts, New York flavor…
But I used to live on 8th street in the with village right around the corner from Washington Square Park and kept working out there even though I moved back to Long Island. That’s when I linked up with my longest standing graff brother and lifelong friend Joust (JAO , JPT.) Him and I painted one wall out in Jersey and it was on from then! Still rocking together since ’99. We had walls running out there illegally for almost 20 years In some spots up until recently. After that I was out Jersey pretty much every Sunday painting broad daylight full color illegal graffiti productions. Underneath the Jersey parkways, Jersey City wall of fame, Hoboken, Beyonne, Seakaukus, Newark and mad hidden shit also. Jersey was like Disneyland for graffiti back then all types of weird shit, and broken down industry. Random spots you run into in your travels that look the toxic avenger just rolled through there a day earlier. Dirty jersey style…
Nice! Basically every Sunday?? That’s wild. Do you still have any long runners out there? When you describe that, it reminds me of the old Grummin factory on the more west side of LI, haha.
Pretty close to it for a while. At one point a lot of heads thought I was actually from Out there. We were just getting busy out there on the regular and shit would just run and not get buffed. Loved that about painting Jersey. We actually had one coming up on a 20 year anniversary in Hoboken that we rocked in 1998, but the building caught fire and the city half painted it over now white. Sucks. Anyone from that area knows those walls off the light rail we had. Classic spot over there in that jersey graffiti history that’s for sure. At that time I was just starting to get into painting these more 3d & sculpted styles w/ JOUST. For the production stuff we were doing trying to get ill with those and still busting my outline styles for my train-lines, rooftops, billboards. I never did tons of billboards back then, but definitely got some nice styled ones off in both LI and Jersey that ran. There was a burnt down foundation of a building that went up on fire in ’87 or so in Uniondale ” The Foundation.” ABK & HTE crew’s used to paint burners in there back in the early 90’s and kill that place before I was going down there. City heads would come out to also to piece it. Some of my very 1st wildstyle pieces were down there. STAIN was with me back then. That’s also where I met my old crew and crew mates from. JPT crew (Just Passin’ Thru) Late 90’s SER – VICE – NME – JOUST. I actually repainted that entire foundation spot over in 1999 by myself once again, every Sunday, lol. Any Job I had back then, when we were doing the scheduling I was like,”Yeah, I’m available Monday – Saturday only by the way.
I painted a “Long Island Graffiti Hall of Fame ” end to end down there, and put a bunch of pieces for some of my boys and an R.I.P wall for another fallen homie from the Island. Almost got run up on by marines one morning as they were running there laps around Stewart ave Coming out of the base they had over there. One of the sergeants looked like Major Payne, haha. They liked the work and let me slide. Never called the rest of the troops. Spot ran clean like that for about half a year and was painted for years ending in 1999/2000. Now it’s a sealed up parking lot.
That’s some wild history! I remember there was an abandoned lot on sunrise highway on Long Island and you had a burner right on the back fence which is now a Lucille Roberts I believe. This was years ago. What’s one night you can recall where not everything went as planned on the mission went totally south?
Haha… Yea it is… Some Eastern relics huh?…..Probably drunk one night back then, lol. I was in Bayhshore for a little bit and I was also always painting all those walls at Special Sauce back in the day. Also from 1997-2000 & then again in the 2008-2010 period for some events & style experiments. Shout out to my brother Cavallari.
Yeahhh… There were plenty of those missions. Some out of state & some out of country too, haha. For the NY affairs though Let’s see…. In the year 1999 I was back in LI from Manhattan, but was still working out there Monday – Friday at a coffee shop downtown starting at like 6am every weekday. I had to take the 4am train every morning and there would only be random crackheads stumblin’, or people walking their dogs. Playtime… I used to walk downtown and smash a bunch of parking lots and box van’s, and pastry trucks with outlines and tags on the way to work. I had an hour to kill cause of train times not running that early regularly. I always had a spliff and a vinyl record bag the velcro side with the flap that opened right up and there’d be a rusto black, white, silver, or dark purple to fuck up some spots with. It was fun riding the train ghosted out and catching the insides with fatcap tags right before you got out, lol.
Then walking up the stations busting some on the tiles, and then the stairs. There was one street over by FIT back then that always had the whole block loaded with those silver pastry trucks from 7th to 8th ave in midtown over there. Those things cruised around everywhere with your name back then. I musta hit like 200 of those things with handstyles in a few months, haha. I dont know how many ran and how many got buffed because I always used to see brand new ones over there and it made me want to hit em even more and I’d get pissed. My tags used to get buffed in the city back then sometimes, and I’d hit it again immediately and it would run after the repeat attack. Persistence, persistence… That’s the key.
One morning I was candy-flipping and i just decided to hit every single truck on that street. Which was about 14 of them or something. I was always dolo… Always. I rocked everyone of em with black rusto tags and then got to the last truck and tried to push a nice hollow styled Outline on it. I got up to about the middle of the M of the piece and saw a big white van screech up towards me right on the fucking sidewalk. There was some diesel brother driving it who was either a vigilante or VS (Vandal Squad,) or DT, whatever the case. He almost hit me with the car as he locked up the brakes And was like “Get over here !@$$&$!” I said “Yeah?..lol,” and peeled off on foot up the corner of the block 8th ave & 27th st or whatever I was on. He lit the tires up and screeched up the block, after me going the wrong way on the one way towards 7th ave. I was just a little south from Hells Kitchen.
Raced up the block! He beat me to the corner of 8th in the van, but at the end of block was this white temporary construction Trailer at the corner. I stopped in the middle of it on the other side so he couldn’t see me. I counted to five, anticipating he would run back in the other direction at me so I faked him out and jetted out in the Same direction like a Wheaties commercial. Obviously he chose the wrong way. I started cutting down blocks like Barry Sanders, hahah. I was out. It was February about 20 degrees out in NYC and I had this bubble coat on. So I stuffed it in my record bag and my hat along with it so I looked different and kept it moving. Went another few blocks away and caught some drippy ass tag & went to work. Memories… I was 19, all part of the fun. I remember I had some bike messenger friends over there back in the day. They were like “Yo… I see your tags everywhere around here… when you going out bombing??” I’m like “From Monday- Friday 4:40 – 6 am…”
Wow, that’s wild! So candyflipping, catching tags, and getting chased all in one morning before work?? Now that is a great start to the day haha. Nothing like a little marathon in the morning lol What’s your preference as far as what you hit? Would you prefer a freight over a trackside wall, or maybe even a highway hitter?
Haha hell yeah… That’s what it was back then. I would come out of the station and swoop down from midtown to Soho/ East & West village. Then show up to work to open up the store scrubbing globs of teal and black off of my hands. I never really used to chill uptown back then unless I was going to see this ex-girlfriend that was a dancer / ballerina up on 92nd and Lex. Downtown was more my flavor. It was a dope scene back then. I never claimed to do the most. I just always did my thing In that period. Dolo every time. At that point, the dude I thought was really crushing Manhattan the hardest was SETUP with those dope ass simples everywhere. Also DSENSE had a lot of fresh drops and that dude YEAR was pulling off pieces in spots that only heads were busting throw-Ups on. He was killing it. That’s how I learned to bust fat cap handstyles with one-liners. From all those early morn solo missions back then. In the early days of my style development, and initial bombing campaigns.
That was like the 1998-2002 period of doing a lot of creeping around on train lines. In that era i would always be looking for a nice line spot that would run to drop some style on. Or a fresh rooftop to get loose on with visibility. Handball courts were also one of my favorites To bust letters on in that period also. Nowadays I still love those fresh rooftop spots. Definitely about the freights/ metal sessions. I only got Loose on a a handful of them back then. Now that I’ve been down south it’s on with those again. Dig painting freights and seeing rolling styles!
From all over none the less! Traveling art, state to state. It’s wild to think one day you paint some steel where you’re at, and the next day it’s 30 states away.. What motivates you to keep going each day and not allow roadblocks to interfere with your creativity?
Hell yeah. The freight scene is dope. A lot of train tracks for those styles to move around on. I’ve had ones that get benched locally in New York and Florida. Then others pop up in Colorado or something. All part of the fun. What motivates me these days to keep going is pretty much the same thing that had me start. My general obsessions and fascinations with dope style, letter form, techniques, and color flows. That’s the essence of it. I still get that same feeling from back then, when I get my flicks that next day after painting all night. Or seeing my shit run as I drive by it on the parkway. Nothing better than that.
Anyone that knows me knows that I took a break from bombing from about 2001 to around 2007/2008. At that point I started painting lots of productions and commissions. I was trying to focus on building a custom paint & mural business. I spent a lot of time in places like 5Pointz in NYC R.I.P & some of my other legal walls. Working on a lot of full color layouts and developing my large scale works. Both solo & collaborative. In 2007 I took a trip over to Germany & Holland for about two months. I started painting illegal old WW2 bunkers in Berlin and all these crazy spots & wound up gettin’ arrested in Netherlands for graffiti with three other Dutch writers when we were painting a bridge, lol. They held us all in jail for 10 hours. They took our paint & gave us a slap on the wrist “50 euro fine.” Ohhhhh, and they gave me my weed back, haha. Score!
That kinda re-lit the beacon in my head.because after coming back to NY I started to play around again on the train lines and parkways again. This was the start of the “BIG TOOTH” skull era. This was a character i used to drop and painted heavily in LI & some city spots for the next few years. These days just playing with my letters though mainly for bombing… Everyone has (think they have) a character now, and that just got way played out and overdone. I’m still gonna drop some Big Tooth again soon. It’s almost that time again.
Now Fast forward to the present. Because we are in the midst of all this bubblegum bullshit surrounding the culture at the moment and in a period where many don’t really have a clue about the history or origins of things like style, foundations, code of ethics & loyalty, or originality even. This is another motivation for me to keep going. To continue on in the raw essence of this. Everything is to “user friendly” nowadays. To accessible, and people think they can understand or grasp the happenings of what going on through a two inch picture on a smartphone or a 15 second video with no other bio/ background/ history other than that flashing in their face. You gotta go out and dig for it, and sweat & bleed for it.
Big tooth!! Yes, the infamous! Glad to hear it’s coming back. 10 hours and a 50 euro fine… now if only that was the case in the US… lol… I had a buddy get arrested for the same thing in an area right around the Netherlands, again just a slap on the wrist and they called it a “crime of expression” I believe… Crazy…! Yeah learning your history is vital, a lot of cats don’t do that these days and the culture takes a hit every time a passed writer gets gone over by toys Yeah, I feel like there’s a common misconception that graffiti is really easy to understand, and in a sense it is, however to really truly understand it you have to know it all breaks down to a science and even geometry in some cases It takes a lot of sacrifice and dedication much like anything one wants to learn.
Yeah, the tooth is gonna come back out that’s for certain. It’s on again… As far as the fine in Amsterdam, I heard about these other cats that actually got caught painting a bridge in Amsterdam not far from us. Think they got hit with 3500 euro fine. That would have been about $5,500 American dollars converted. I woulda just taken the jail time… Heard they have like xbox & laptops in jail in the Netherlands, lol.
Yes, history is important. As well as the pursuit of originality and style development. It’s a fucked up when old spots that have been riding for years get written on by little toy deuschbags, or haters. Or if it survived getting buffed and all the other elements that are possible. Its a shame, but someone always wants to take a shot. Always. Part of the culture unfortunately. These days being an asshole is almost cross-promotoed as well from all the social media influence. All good
Real heads keep it going ? Fuck everyone else. If your a biter and trying to take other peoples letters/ styles/ & color techniques… then you get no respect. Period. You never got props for copying someone’s shit back in the day. You’d get laughed at. It’s one thing to be inspired or influenced. Everyone had to be motivated by something that moved them initially. But then move on and make things your own from that point. Peace to everyone trying to make something creative & dope….and putting that real work in. Shoutout to my brother SAUTE. Going next level with it all day. All styles, and all surfaces, like it should be.