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Hip-hop consists of four elements: MCing (often called rapping), DJing, graffiti, and breakdancing.  And with these elements comes culture and fashion.  Many often equate hip-hop to noise because radio only broadcasts top 40 booty banging tracks, and perhaps that is why hip-hop remains one of the least understood genres of music.  True hip-hop is more than just rapping to a beat; it’s a way of life that one must experience to truly understand.

Graffiti by Adam Stab

Graffiti by Adam Stab

One of the elements of hip-hop that is often forgotten is graffiti.  To understand more, I hit the streets with DèAngelo, a graffiti artist I met at a record shop in Baltimore, MD.  We meandered through the back alleys of the city and charged through dense brush alongside railroad tracks in the middle of the night amid torrential rainfall to search for a pot of gold.  And we were successful – we discovered multiple graffiti jackpots that contained some of the most beautiful murals I have seen my entire life.

DèAngelo took out a spraycan and via a live demonstration, showed me the intricacies of can control, and how lines can be manipulated without the use of cardboard cutouts to create smooth lines.  I was soaked, dirty, smelly, and bitten multiple times by mosquitoes – but I was having the time of my life, because this was hip-hop at its core, grassroots style.

I managed to meet many of the biggest graffiti artists of Baltimore today, including Adam Stab.  Two decades down the line, they are still writing from the heart.  I hope that in a decade I will keep my youthful nature and keep on doing what is important to me, just as these artists have done.

Graffiti is beautiful and should be embraced.  There should be certain areas in the inner city designated as tag zones and graffiti programs implemented in those zones to keep youth away from crime and drugs.  And in these places, there could be hip-hop concerts where local DJs and MCs meet up.  It’s an inexpensive way to help curtail a massive problem.

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    June 8th, 2009 at 22:52 | #1

    yo it wuz ill havin u here in bmore your welcome at my housew ne time son son hit me up and tell me where the FU iz

  2. Alice
    June 17th, 2009 at 18:45 | #2

    Thanks for letting me have a piece of this eye-opening experience.

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