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HearGunShots

Philly Graff/Hip Hop Jam

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Guest eessee
Originally posted by HESHIANDET

hahaha

 

well said....

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lots of fun....still in philly

 

woke up to have a coffee and find a picture of WEB doing a piece

in the philadelphia inquirer...

 

ill scan the article when i get back to new york shitty

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Graffiti legend, now legit, inspires hip-hop art form

By Gaiutra Bahadur

Inquirer Staff Writer

 

The man who once spray-painted "Cornbread Lives" on the backside of an elephant at the Philadelphia Zoo, who like a kind of inner city Johnny Appleseed surreptitiously scattered his graffiti alias on walls across the city, scrawled again yesterday.

 

Only this time, it was in broad daylight and in front of an audience of adoring groupies at the Hawthorne Community Center, with two police officers standing acceptingly by.

 

Darryl McCray, one of the main attractions at yesterday's gathering of about 250 graffiti artists from the East Coast, was the stuff of lore in the late 1960s and early '70s.

 

"He was like the most wanted man. They were trying to find that old man for years," said Bill Brooks, of Mount Laurel, whose 16-year-old son Billy is a blossoming artist. Unlike subversive wall writers, Billy scribbles his name legally in a sketch book and on canvases.

 

Tom Conway, head of the city's anti-graffiti efforts, said about 30 employees washed off 70,000 defaced walls in Philadelphia in the last year. That is a marked drop from Cornbread's heyday, he said.

 

"We'll always have graffiti," he said. "But we'll always have crews to combat it."

 

Today, graffiti art pops up on CD covers and T-shirts.

 

And while the calligraphy of the streets may have come out from underground, to some extent, one thing has stayed the same in the 30 years since Cornbread put his moniker on the tailwing of a TWA jet bound for California: It's all about the can-wielder announcing to the world, whether in simple squiggles like Cornbread's or in curvaceous, swollen letters, that he exists.

 

"I started writing because I wanted a rep," McCray, 48, said. "It was a tool to get out of poverty, to be somebody."

 

Before he retired his aerosol can, McCray had a kind of celebrity. After the TWA jet landed in California, filmmakers pursued him to make a movie about wall-writers in the ghetto, with a character based on him as the star. But the deal went sour, and the movie, Cornbread, Earl and Me, ultimately became a tale about basketball players in Chicago.

 

"I got robbed," McCray said of the lost opportunity. "I've been robbed so many times, it's hard for me to trust anybody."

 

Life since then has included stints as a poster boy for former Mayor Wilson Goode's campaign to convert graffiti artists into mural painters, and stints in prison for small-time theft, credit card scams, and writing bad checks. Now, McCray lives more quietly, snapping Polaroids for $10 a pop at block parties and writing his life story.

 

McCray said he sprayed his name in red on the elephant's bottom in 1971 after newspapers mistook Cornelius "Corn" Hosey, a teenager shot dead in West Philadelphia, for him. The real Cornbread - who got his nickname in reform school because he always talked about his grandmother's cornbread - wanted to let the world know he was still alive.

 

That same instinct seemed to be at play yesterday, as he sprayed his "tag" or alias in neon green with a trademark royal crown over the "B" in "Cornbread." He followed with the message, "The Legend Lives."

 

Black T-shirts selling for $30, negotiable, at a booth nearby trumpeted the same message on a picture of an elephant. Another wall writer from the 1970s, Master Prink (Don Ameche Stallings), displayed entries for Royal Crowns, an encyclopedia of New York and Philadelphia graffiti art.

 

New York's graffiti king, Wayne Roberts, at another table had laid out T-shirts and canvases with his two tags, "Voice of the Ghetto" and "Style High 149," for the street in the Bronx where he grew up. He recently sold one of his canvases on e-Bay for $200 to an Australian graffiti artist.

 

Roberts said he never expected his tags to become like a brand name.

 

"I was putting my name everywhere just to outdo everyone else. To actually be there, man, was something else," he said. "Times have changed. The challenge is gone now."

 

"It's more commercial today," he said. "There's a demand in certain places."

 

Still, Daniel Hopkins, or "Pose 2," the artist who sponsored yesterday's event, along with a paint company and a hip-hop record label, said the gathering was more about recognizing graffiti as an art than about selling.

 

"It's only a little compared to what's going on in the world," he said, of the marketplace.

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