We recently caught up with the charismatic Wen COD over at his Queens studio while he worked on a few canvases. The room smelled strongly of aerosol and a mixture of hip-hop, trap and dancehall accompanied the conversation. Wen is never still, every word is spoken with a movement. He has been in the game for over 30 years painting his name on trains and walls and was at the forefront of the streetwear movement creating designs for major brands in the 90s.

BKLYN NEVILLE: Hey Wen, introduce yourself.

WEN: My name is Wen I come from the Bronx. I basically started writing in 1982 and did my first train in the summer of 1983. I did that with Sent and I did that with Sire. Sire no longer writes but everyone knows who Sent is. Sire was the first writer I ever met. He had a lot of style, he was kinda dope but he kinda quit early in the game. When we first went bombing we got in trouble with the police once or twice. That’s one of the things as a writer, he’s got to be able to handle the heat. Some writers got caught once or twice and they threw in the towel then you got those writers that will get in trouble and just keep coming out. That’s one of the tales of a true writer, being able to handle the heat and keep it moving.  It comes with the territory. The first night we went bombing we got in trouble with the police and basically my man Sire quit and I didn’t. That’s what that’s about not quitting, keeping it moving.

How did you get into graffiti?

I used to go to this high school called Art and Design. I had never even heard of the word graffiti. I was already drawing but I just didn’t know about graffiti at all. I’m from the Bronx but it just slipped my notice. I was heavily into the hip-hop scene at the time, which was just starting and not even on the radio yet. I was kinda into the party scene, block parties and the neighborhood drama shit. So here I am now in high school in Manhattan and I’m sitting in my math class minding my business and I see this kid next to me, who was Sire, but I didn’t know that at the time. He’s sitting next to me, he’s sketching on a piece of paper and it was some letters. So I’m looking over at him as I’m doing my school work and he sees me looking over at him and he just keeps drawing and I just keep looking and that was it. A couple of days go by and finally I say to him, “Yo, what is that?” and he goes “Graffiti.” I say “What?” and he says, “Graffiti. Letter styles.” I was like “What the fuck is that?” and he proceeded to break it down for me and I dug it. I was like wow, ok, your drawing letters with complex structure and connections and flow and ebb. So I started getting into that aspect of it and one of the first things he told me was “You need your own name.” So I’m like, oh shit I need a name. Back then I didn’t have a graffiti name but I had a street name that was Hutchy B, Lil’ Hutchy B. I was down with a rap crew called McDynasty Crew. This was in the late 70s, early 80s. So I had to pick a name. I was trying to find a cool name, a 3- to 4-letter name. I ended coming up with the name “Wen”, W-E-N. I first did it with an “H”, but I didn’t like the “H” so I took out the “H” and left it W-E-N. The first thing I started doing was bombing in the school, Art & Design. Everyone was bombing, in the hallways, in the bathroom especially, in the locker-room area. So I was bombing and I started noticing that there was someone else writing Wen. At the time fighting and beef was the way to do it. So right away I was like fuck that I’m going to fight this dude to keep the name. I started asking everybody, “Who’s this kid Wen?” Who’s this kid Wen?” Finally someone’s like “Yo, he’s in the bathroom!” So I walk in and he’s this big black kid so I’m like, Aw Fuck! He’s actually tagging on the wall near the mirror and the window and I go “Yo, what you write?” he goes “Wen” and I go “Nah I’m Wen” and I ran up on him and started swinging on him. Right away he just quit. “That’s it, I don’t wanna write. Uh-er-uh, you can have the name it’s yours. . It’s yours, it’s yours.”  That’s how I got the name Wen and not have another Wen out there. The rest is what it is. I started getting out and started painting, meeting other writers. At the time I was going to school I met Weber, MR. May, King Size from New Wave Crew, Party Payz from New Wave Crew, my man Spanky TC5, Sexer used to go to the school. Pure went to the school, everyone knows him as Andy today but I know him as Pure. Sento went to the school, me and Sento had a lot of classes together. It was a good time. It was the school to go to. Seen TC5 had just graduated, Pink just graduated, Crash had just graduated, Dose had just graduated. It was a writer’s school for sure. Big time writers and I was lucky enough to go there.

Wen 1984 or '85

Wen 1984 or ’85

What is the craziest thing that’s happened while bombing?

There’s been quite a bit of crazy episodes out there. Some involving street drama, some involving police. I think one of the best stories I’ve probably never told anybody was the Allerton raid. It was pretty good. I started telling that story on my Instagram but I never really finished it, I left it open for it to come out one day and here is a good enough opportunity.

Basically the Bronx had a lot of layups. This was like 1985. So I get the phone call from Wane that the Allerton layup is in. Allerton is in-between Pelham Parkway and Burke, It’s the station before that. Between Burke and Allerton they would sometimes park trains in the middle lane, turn the lights off and leave it there over night. So we go up there around one o’clock in the morning, hang out for a little while in the station, everything was cool there were no cameras back then. We jumped down into the tracks and started doing our trains. At the time we went up there it was me, Dero, this kid from MPC named Seer and Sien5. At the time they were kinda younger so the minute I went up there and saw they were up there I told them, “Yo, y’all niggas should break out.” But they were on there own shit like “Ah, fuck that” so they went to the other side of the train so that I couldn’t really see them. They were only on the other side of the track so I could still hear them but as long as I didn’t see them that was fine ‘cuz I just didn’t wanna see these fucking kids around when I’m painting.

As we’re up there painting, we’re almost done and the train on the uptown side is approaching Allerton from Burke. So we hide under the train as we normally did. We could see the lights coming from a mile away so we’d get under the train as the train passed by. This particular train we knew the timing of so right away I noticed the train was taking too long to come down the lane.  So we’re peaking our heads out and seeing the lights coming but it’s coming in slow. So I’m like “Yo. I don’t like this. I don’t like that it’s coming in slow.” So I go under the train to the other side, grab my paint and my baseball bat I had with me and I walked toward the station on the other side of the tracks. I’m figuring even if the train comes in, they’re not going to see me because I’m on the other side of this train. But anyway whatever the case is, this train was suspect to me. I convinced Dero and everybody to pack it up, let’s go. I’m ahead of everybody though. I’m the first one out. I’m spooked, something’s not right. The train is crawling in at three, four in the morning. It should just be zooming right through. As I’m walking into the station from the train tracks on the uptown side, ‘cuz they’re coming downtown, and I get up the little metal steps leading to the platform the train is still pulling into the station slow. I’m already on the platform like ok, they didn’t see me on the tracks ‘cuz the train is in-between us. So it pulls in a little bit, a little bit, a little bit, and it stops only two cars in. All of a sudden I hear the doors open and I hear all these police “Jrgh jrgh… That’s them! There he is! That’s them!” So, oh shit, I look and there are fifteen cops on the other side of the station pouring out of that train. So now there’s nowhere left for me to run except down the stairs. So they’re on that side racing toward the stairs and I’m on my side racing toward the stairs and Dero is right behind me. I hit the steps before they did but they’re coming down the steps just as I getting down the steps. As I’m going toward the doors to walk out, this was at the time when there weren’t any turnstiles there were either the wooden heavy ones or they had an open door that didn’t lock that was always open and you could just slam right through or walk through and hop a train or whatever. It was always open. So I run through there and I knew that Dero’s right behind me. A cop grabs Dero and I thought Dero was caught. Suddenly I hear a walkie-talkie and a nightstick hit the floor, that noise that they make, clink-er-dink-a-dink-dink. I hear some screaming and I think, oh shit, they tackled Dero!? I’m jumping down the stairs with my bag of paint and a baseball bat and when I hit the street, dude, there were like 10 cop cars, pulling up everywhere, cops with guns out screaming jumping out of the car and running up on me, “Freeze motherfucker freeze! Drop the bag! Drop the bat!” I’m literally standing there like a crab stuck in the road, a deer in headlights. Oh shit. So I drop my bag, I drop my paint, I drop the bat and I run across the street under the train station to a small fence and jump over it. When I jumped over it I got a moment to think. The cops were on the other side of the fence going “We’re going to catch you mother fucker!” When all of a sudden, cops start pouring in through the entrance of the fence a couple of feet away. Yeah, I jumped over a fence I could’ve ran into. So again, oh shit, and start booting again. It’s a parking garage and there’s a tall building so I jumped over another fence into somebody’s yard and there’s a pool back there. I’m thinking to myself, I’m gonna jump in that pool, but then I had a flashback to a memory of an earlier time in my life when a friend of mine jumped in a river trying to escape the police and got caught. He ended up not only getting caught but also being wet the entire time. So I thought, you know what I’m not gonna jump in the pool, just in case I get caught I don’t wanna be wet. So I ran past the pool and jumped over a smaller fence. So I thought, here I am jumping in the next yard and getting away, when all of a sudden the police jump over the fence from the first yard into the yard with the pool. They ran straight past the pool and were right behind me again. Fuck! I’m running and I run past the front of the building and as I rounded the corner, I took a leap of faith man. I saw a bunch of bushes and I literally jumped as hard as I could toward the bushes and landed in the back of the bushes against a wall. I had on all black ‘cuz I would go bombing at night wearing all black. I hit the wall kinda hard and I fell down to the base of the bushes against the wall and I froze. The minute I stopped the cops came around the corner shouting, “He’s here! He’s here!” and they’re moving in the bushes and trying to find me and I just didn’t move. They kept searching and searching and I just didn’t move. An hour or two passed and I could hear them cursing, “He’s in these fucking bushes! You mother fucker!” They’re pushing the bushes around and spreading it open. I didn’t move, I just stayed still wearing all black against the base of the wall. Eventually the noise calmed down and I kept not moving. That was the whole trick to it, not moving, not even itching yourself because that would’ve been it. Finally I felt it was quiet enough, at least two hours went bye and I picked my head up, listened more, didn’t hear shit so I nuzzled my way out of the bush, looked around and bolted out of there and walked all the way home. The minute I got to my house I made the phone calls. Dero made it home. Sien5 got caught in a dumpster if I’m not mistaken. If I am sorry about that Sien, ha-haa. That was it. That was one of the greatest raids I’ve been in. There was the Middletown raid with Dero and Wane once again, but that’s another story for another time.

What’s your favorite place to paint?

Today, anywhere I paint is my favorite place. Back in the day there were a couple of favorite places, Baychester being one of them, White Plains Road Layups, 233rd Street and under the bridge on 233rd Street. Those were my favorite places to paint ‘cuz we could be left alone unmolested and just rock out. We knew the layups, we knew the noises, we knew the run. So if the cops came we kinda knew where we were running to. If we got blocked off one way then we just, errr, and knew another place to run to. It wasn’t possible to get caught, you had to really be stupid.

Wen & Wane, No Permission - 226th Street & Bx Blvd circa 1991

Wen & Wane, No Permission – 226th Street & Bx Blvd circa 1991

If you could get up at any location, it can be unreasonable, where would it be and why?

I’m sure it’s been done but I would love to do something on Mt. Rushmore. That would be a good spot, dead presidents.

The second spot would be Siberia, somewhere out there, real cold. I don’t mind painting in the cold, it’s a testament to me, the hardness. Some motherfuckers wanna paint at a wall where it’s nice and warm and they can drink beer and chit-chat, see all the people swoon over the little mural they’re doing. They get to do a 34-hour mural that should’ve probably only taken 8-hours. Sometimes I like to do something harsh and rough that someone else isn’t going to do just to say I did it. It keeps you young. I bet if we Googled Siberian graffiti we would find it. You know they’re painting hard in Russia so someone’s got to be doing it. Someone’s doing it in Siberia on a glacier with ice proof paint. Some Russian shit.

Where’s the strangest place you have ever painted?

Let me think about that one, hold up a second… Strangest place, I’m trying to think about what kind of strange… Ok.

So we were in Copenhagen and there’s a place called Christiania. It’s basically a squatters’ village. It’s a World War II base that was abandoned after the war and squatters in Copenhagen Denmark took it over and started raising families there. They eventually got a lease with the government so that they could have running water and electricity and that’s it. They have to police themselves, they have to keep the place safe and there can’t be any crimes committed and then they can continue to live there rent-free. It ended up being like a commune for people selling weed and is internationally known as the place to go to get weed when you go to Copenhagen. So we’re up in there and it’s like a straight village of people just vibing, dreadlock rasta type vibes selling pounds of weed. It’s run by the Hell’s Angels and protected by the Hells Angels and my boys kinda have the run of the place ‘cuz you can own shops in there like places that have bars and things like that. People that have those kind of situations there are the ballers of the town, they make money that’s their business. One of things I was told was “Don’t go spray-painting anywhere you want because people here don’t want that shit. Graffiti like that they’re not with it. You’re not down with them, you can’t just paint here.” Me being a hardhead I was like, yea-yea-yea-yea-yea, yea-yea-yea. I’m gonna find me my own little private space then and paint there. So I ended up meeting some nice people hanging out all night. At six in the morning they were like “If you want to paint something go ahead.” So I climbed up on their shanty roof and painted a simple Wen piece in silver. This was in 1996. Fast forward to 2015 my boy Enue was in Copenhagen and he sends me a picture on my phone, he goes “Yo, check this out. Do you remember this?” and I look and it’s the same piece 20 years later still surviving in Christiania. It’s one of the only pieces in there ‘cuz again people are just not allowed to go in there and paint. They don’t want that because they sell weed there and people are in there that don’t wanna be found so they don’t wanna bring the attention of having graffiti all over the place. In particular that piece is still there though. When I see things like that that makes me like ok, I was there, I bombed it and 20 years later I’m still there. That’s kinda dope to me.

Where does your inspiration come from?

At the time when I started my boy Sire gave me my first style and I’ve taken it since then. It’s kinda a wildstyle. I get into technical connections and ways to pump my letters. I use a lot of arrows, I think it reflects my character. I’m kind of a violent cat so my arrows represent the reality of my style, just stay away from me. There’s an arrow there, you got stabbed. All my letters are protected, arrows coming at outside forces at all times. That’s the premise of my style, aggressive. It’s an aggressive style and that’s how I look at letters. Not every artist necessarily paints in that fashion. One of the allures of back in the days was you never knew who the writer was. Today, everybody’s on Instagram and Facebook and you can know who the writer is, how handsome or ugly. Who they are, gender and everything. Back in the days you just saw a name like Duro or Chain 3, Phase 2. You didn’t know who they were. Are they big? Are they skinny? Is it a guy? Is it a girl? Who is it? Who the fuck is painting these top-to-bottoms? Who’s Ghost? How does he look? It was a mystery. Then you would hear stories about who the person is and it would add to it, “Oh shit I heard he’s this big crazy black dude!” “Oh word?” “Damn, yeah the way he paints he must be crazy!” And it could be the smallest unassuming pipsqueak of a guy. A guy like Sent. He’s not a pip-squeak but he’s a short guy, unassuming. You’d never think he’s the guy that does all those trains around the world. Damage, he causes Damage. That’s an example of how interesting and fun it was back in the days compared to today. I mean it’s cool you walk up on 20 writers painting a mural and you know who everybody is. That’s what today is. It’s a fond memory to remember those times or meeting a writer for the first time “Oh shit that’s so-and-so.” Really exciting.

Wen, Bronx NYC

Wen, Bronx NYC

What artists inspire you?

Sire gave me my first style and as time went on I learned who influenced styles like Chain 3, Phase 2, Kase, Riff. Looking at their styles and looking at what I do now, those are actually my progenitors in a style sense. To this day, I have good relationships with those particular artists except Kase being deceased, rest in peace. Chain 3, I sit with him often and chat. Phase 2, we had a lot of conversations in the early 90s and we used to hang out, really tight. Even Riff, to this day, are guys who have come up to me individually and said to me, without even knowing I followed along the lines of their style, that I was rocking. I got down with TMT and Riff was like “Yo, you’re doing it. You’re rocking.” Coming from Riff, those by-myself-moments that made me feel good as an artist. Ok, I have achieved and gotten where I’ve wanted to be. When those dudes that created that style of connections and arrows and pumps and funk style say to me “Yo, you’re totally doing it with that. You’re the proper son. You’re doing it right.” It validated it. ‘Cuz I would hear a lot from people with different styles, “Yo, you got too many arrows in your style. You should lessen up on the arrows” and this-and-that. Every time I tried I would get an attitude “Fuck That!” and put three more arrows. To this day, that’s how I flow.

Sometimes I don’t use any arrows now-a-days. Just do it but it’s at my own behoove because I want to do that. Not because “Yo, you’re doing too many arrows!” Oh yeah? Fuck that nigga, I’m gonna do another arrow now. It’s attitude and that to me is what graph is about. It’s personal. It’s for me. It’s about me, my name, my colors, me, me me me me me.

What does graffiti represent to you?

Just that. It’s very narcissistic. It’s about your attitude and expressing yourself. More whole-heartedly I say it’s not about making a profit. I definitely didn’t get into this to make money, there was no money in it, there wasn’t even an inkling. It was like robbing banks ‘cuz, “I’m gonna make money robbing banks one day.” Yeah you are, but you’re gonna go to jail too. So I painted graffiti to get my name up at the risk of getting my ass kicked by other writers or getting robbed or getting arrested or getting killed by electrocuting myself or getting hit by a train. Not because I’m going to make money and become famous and have a gallery show and grow a beard and hang out in the Brooklyn streets and paint a mural and meet chicks with beagles and shit like that. Nothing like that. As a matter of fact it was a shunned upon thing when I met other artists, “Oh you do graffiti? That’s not art.” That was the vibe back then. When we started painting on the street it was looked down on. Now everybody’s painting on the street and it’s cool. Which I don’t mind, but it seems like it’s taken for granted now. It’s easy to walk up to a wall and you just started painting in June and all of sudden your a master of painting on a wall with these very special spray cans and your ability to sweet-talk your way into doing things. A lot of girls and guys paved the way for that and then they don’t get mentioned in interviews. I read what’s going on out there and a lot of artists talk as if they don’t know any other artists that may have inspired them or gave them the idea to even paint on a wall. It’s all about them, which is cool again ‘cuz it is narcissistic. But you heard me mention names, Riff, Chain, Phase, Sire, Sent, Sexer, Web, Payz. That’s giving back. Keeping their name alive. That’s really part of the true tradition of graffiti, to represent not only for yourself but for those that put you on. I see that today a lot of new artists forget that part. They just paint and get their fame and glory, which is cool, whatever kid. But I’m putting it out there, you niggas should show some love. Sometimes you gotta squeeze it outta them. After a long conversation they go, “Yeah I heard of you.” I’m like “Oh B. Why didn’t you show love hours ago? You’re acting like you’ve been painting for 20 years yet you just started two months ago.” If you know your history, you show some appreciation it opens up avenues of conversation. But you know it’s cool, not one to complain just putting it out there.

Outline by Wen Filled in by DG NWC, 2013

Outline by Wen Filled in by DG NWC, 2013

Besides graffiti you have designed clothes for very prestigious companies. You we’re designing t-shirts before it was called streetwear and when it streetwear became popular. What was that experience like going from bombing the streets to working with corporate entities?

Basically Wane was one of the dudes in my life back then that was painting trains hardcore. I don’t know anyone more hardcore than Wane other than my dude Sent, Ghost, Ket and Ris dudes like that. Wane started doing airbrush t-shirts for anything but basically for rappers like Special Ed, Nice N Smooth, Gang Starr. We would be rolling with these rappers because of these t-shirts. Wane was known for doing t-shirts and I started doing it with him. We were doing t-shirts for the people in the industry as far as airbrush. I wanna give a shootout to my man Phade from Shirt Kings who was probably the premier airbrush artist at the time and still today for the celebrities. He’s Shirt Kings, everybody knows who Shirt Kings are. There was EOS, Elements of Style,  PNB, Proud Nubian Brothers or Pork N Beans or Please No Beef. Stash had a clothing line called GFS it was Stash, Futura and Gerb. They all came out with some dope t-shirts back then and this was before the t-shirt game, before the urban game. That was another experience that I had with dudes I knew from the 80s, that were niggas just painting graffiti and now all of a sudden we’re making money, having offices and putting artwork down on t-shirts through a computer. We’re talking about ’87, ’88, there were no computers for us back then but Wane, being ahead of the times as he is, bought a Macintosh computer in ’91, ’92. All of a sudden we got into computers and got into graphics. That was a wrap. Now all of a sudden here we are doing our graffiti styles and being creative on a computer and selling t-shirt designs for $500 a pop to t-shirt companies. The rest is what it is. Get COD became the art director for Rocawear in like 1999, 2000 and spear headed that for 10 years. That whole Rocawear success is based upon graffiti writers’ vision of how a t-shirt should look. We did a lot of work for Coach, Sean John. Wane worked at Sean John for several years, a lot of the successful designs that they had that people were wearing out there. We were constantly walking down the street and seeing people wearing our stuff and felt like that’s what’s up. See Puffy wearing it in a video or Jay-Z wearing it or someone in Jay-Z’s video wearing our shit and be like that’s where it’s at. That was a lot of satisfaction for us.

As someone who has participated in different aspects of graffiti from graffiti artist to designer, where is graffiti now and where do you see graffiti going?

I’m not the cat that knows every writer, is into researching and seeing all my contemporary peers and keeping up with what’s going on. I tend to get into my own zone. I come out every now-and-then to hang out with writers of course. I get schooled on what’s going on here and there and every once in a while I come across something. So I don’t really see it as a movement, which it is. It’s definitely a movement. It’s definitely larger than what I know. There’s definitely generations of writers at this point that I’m not even aware of who they are. That’s not to take away from them, I respect everybody for what they do and I respect it more when they do it the way I feel it should be done as far as knowing their history. I know my history as far as when I started out who was before me, whose style I have and that I feel is a requirement to being a legitimate artist. At least know where you’re coming from, know where you’re taking that letter style from, where you’re taking that color scheme from or that technique. You should know a little bit where it’s from not just do it knowing that you took it from somewhere and not shine any light on that. Then that’s stealing. Being a toy or a thief. Taking a style and not giving it back, shouting out somebody’s name. With that said I only see graffiti getting bigger and bigger. There are a lot more shows going on, a lot more artists painting, a lot more people being bold about what they are painting and that’s cool. It puts me in the right position because it’s what I’ve been doing my whole life anyway, whether I’ve been successful or not. Of course I’ve made beaucoup dollars here and there and of course there’s been times I’ve been fucked up in the game. But that’s what life is anyway. The real person doesn’t quit like I originally said. As time goes on, I’ve been painting over 30 years and that’s all she wrote, I’m going to be painting ’til the day I die. In a nutshell whatever’s going on is whatever’s going on, I’m still going to be painting. Whether it’s a successful thing or it’s an underground criminal thing again, it’s mute, not an issue for me. It’s me painting my name and making people smile when I do something they like. That’s what it’s all about.

You and your friends are quite the characters. You all enjoy playing pranks on each other, going on wild adventures together and throwing notorious parties. Can you tell us a crazy story about the crew or break the COD vibe down for us?

COD is a big crew. It’s got a lot of members all over the world, many different countries. Some of these dudes are straight into painting like Bates, Wane, Sento and Persue are insane with painting. Then you got guys like myself that are more into the vibes or the culture of the crew and we cultivate non-painting dudes into the crew so it becomes a bigger crew. So we have a lot of rappers, my man Cover runs the music aspect. Wane and myself oversee the art and organize a lot of the music and art projects, the walls and events that we’ve done over the years. We put that together ourselves. I would say a lot of the European movement, the dudes at first who come here now, a lot of people don’t know, we used to host them in the early 90s. I’m talking about ’91, ’92 dudes would come from Europe and stay with us. Casino, Bates, Neon, Zebster they are all dudes who came here and hit hard then went back to Europe and returned the favor. We went over there at times and were given access to trains and were able to rock out. We formed this bond of trust and friendship that’s pretty fresh. We can land in any country basically and we get picked up at the airport, and smoke some good weed, drink some good liquor. Hang out with some chicks, listen to some good beats in the hood somewhere in some country and pack together some paint and get set to go paint. I mean what more can you want? Sometimes we made money doing it too. What more could you really want then?

Here in New York we do a lot of parties and as far as hanging out we roll out pretty deep. I would say the last year has been pretty slow for myself, I’m kinda in a reinventing myself vibe this past year. We had a great time last summer. We did a lot of parties and a buncha antics and I kinda got burnt out on it personally. I burnt through a buncha money, burnt through cars… lived it up. Now it’s time to recoup and sometimes it takes a hot second. But that’s what life is though. It’s not about minutes, hours and days it’s about months and years. Being able to reinvent come back out and be relative still. About being able to hold your head up high through the highs and lows and handle it. In the long end of a conversation that dictates who a character is. The shorts that they take and the way they handle it. A lot of dudes quit, move out of New York and you never hear from them again. I got several names I could drop that I wont that are just gone. They were here and now they are just gone never to be heard from again. Then you got guys who just don’t go. They just hang in there. They get quiet for a year or two and then they’re back on with a bang painting. That’s what I’m about. Just coming back out.

For young graffiti artists what are the most important things for them to remember or keep in mind? Do you have any advice?

Like I’ve been saying throughout this interview, be original, know your history as far as what style you’re using. Who you liked and who influenced your style is who you should be talking about when these younger artists are doing their interviews. When they get asked “Who influenced you?” They should be able to say that name. Not not say the name and talk about it like they came up on their own and sometimes it’s obvious there is some kind of influence. Sometime the influence is apparent but they don’t speak it. I frown on that. I think it should be spoken. And Don’t give up. Paint art. Keep it real. Don’t be a creep, don’t be a toy. That’s the worse thing, being a toy, a liar, deceitful towards your writers, a snitch. Things like that, no good. No good, no good out there. You know who you are.

Any final words?

Let me give a shout out to my man Wane, my man Dero, Cover, Latin Face, D Stress. I wanna give a shout out to Seen TC5, shout out to my man Mastro,  Sabe, Persue, Bates the whole COD crew. Pay2, my Viking brothers Tommy Tee, Raid. Word up.

Interview by Jonathan BKLYN Neville