Back in 1993, a 22-year-old Tupac Shakur took the podium at the 23rd Annual Indiana Black Expo and bared his heart about police brutality, going to war and ownership.
Introduced by Dr. Khalid Abdul Muhammad, who held the same sentiments as the late rapper…Tupac told the kids of the 90’s to put their minds together and go to war. Speaking on ownership as a man and woman, bearing arms, and togetherness, an emotional Tupac shared his experience as a black man in America who became successful. The platinum rapper stopped his busy schedule to influence a group of young black teenagers who were hanging on his every word, Tupac commanded the crowd to stand up for something. Shoulder to shoulder. And today his words are echoing the feelings of the new generation of this nation.
“We can’t be do but so much marching…We’ve been marching for damn near 100 years. We are marching on the anniversary of marches from when we marched 25 years ago.” Pushing the kids to arm themselves and challenge the system many disagree with his words. It still remains that the soldier attitude and passion Tupac illuminated seems to be gone from this era.
That year, Pac spoke to us, and his words still ring a bell today. What changes will we make? Where are our leaders today? Who will this generation listen to?
“These white people see us as thugs…”
Watch Tupac’s epic speech below. Rest in power king.
An Australian street artist has been painting some really “creative” images of 50 Cent and the G-Unit general isn’t too happy about it.
Earlier this month, the muralist painted an image of Fif’s face with disgraced rapper Tekashi 6ix9ine’s rainbow braids and tattoos. Once 50 got wind of that, he was ready to take it to LushSux’s front door.
“i’m sick of this s**t, he think i can’t find his ass in Australia. i’m a have a knot put right on his f**king head,” said the Hip Hop mogul about LushSux.
Since then, LushSux has painted another mural of 50, with his face on the head of Mike Tyson. Under the image, it says “50 Thent.” 50 took to IG with a pic of the painting, responding, “This guy need [an] a** whoopin’ bad, he still doing this s**t.”
Born on this date in 1958, Keith Haring was an artist, an activist, and a reformer who influenced the street art scene in NYC and around the world. The Pennsylvanian who moved to NYC would eventually go on to take an ancient form of art and reintroduce it with new context, spreading the symbols of that language across the world.
Haring was a predecessor of the same networks that produced Jean Michele Basquiat and Madonna. He, like Basquiat, was a hand-chosen successor of Andy Warhol himself and he too, like Warhol, would eventually go on to change what art would be.
In the late 80s he was diagnosed with AIDS and until his death in 1990 advocated its awareness. Organizing large murals over abandoned buildings, working with schools, and donating sculptures – Haring spoke positive messages into communities through characters that were undeniable. Like Warhol, Haring found innovative ways of communicating his art by not only tagging on walls but mass-producing his characters onto merchandise. He was the one to innovate this way of communicating art and lifestyle to the people. By commercializing his work, and having it seen throughout the world, he was able to gain national appeal.
A pioneer, Haring transcended graffiti to the art world, and from the art world to the world. His modern-day hieroglyphics saw their way onto display themselves on major company advertisements, and then became ubiquitous within our history as it made its way into merchandise. It was bigger than art. it could not be contained in a frame. It was a language; a form of communication.
Haring’s work was simple and bold; communicating complex concerns of society and our relation to its subjects. A master at connecting with the audience, Haring communicated his fears, ideologies, and history by using these simple, few, and yet affective characters. He’d created a new language.
Like the characters on a keyboard, Haring’s symbols were associations for communication. It was a way of understanding, a dialogue. Crossing national and social boundaries. Haring shows the power of art.
The entire graffiti world is mourning the loss of one of its great pioneers who lost his life this morning to complications from the novel coronavirus.
NIC 707 OTB, one of the original writers to bomb the NYC subways in the early 70s, passed away today(April 13) after contracting the Covid-19 virus.
Born Fernando Pabllo Miteff Jr. in Argentina to a famous Argentinian boxer of that era with the same name. He moved to the Bronx as a child, where his love for art quickly immersed him into the world of writing graffiti. He originally wrote the tag STINE 169, but in 1974, ultimately changed his name to NIC 707. He also founded the legendary OTB(Out To Bomb) Crew in the late 70s, which now holds thousands across the world under the OTB banner.
NIC 707 is one of NYC’s “Style Masters”, making himself a regular sight on the IRT and IND lines in the 70s and early 80s. His unprecedented link between the first and second generation of writers can only be rivaled by the likes of the late KASE 2 and CHAIN 3.
There has been an outpour of sadness from all over the world over the loss of such a large figure in the graff community. JAMES TOP the Executive Director of the NYC Graffiti Events Center and legendary artist in his own right, spoke more about NIC’s personality than his art. “He was one of the most popular graffiti artist today. He would show up at all my events a hour before they would start to help me out if I needed anything. That’s what type of person he was,” said JAMES TOP.
Sprite has long aligned itself with Hip-Hop culture. As far back as 1986, Sprite was authentically tapping rap music and the culture surrounding it to cement its place in our lives. Back then, Kurtis Blow was king and he broke barriers in the “I Love the Sprite in You” campaign. That campaign also was supported by artists like LL Cool J and Kris Kross.
Who remembers when they scooped then fresh-faced Native Tongue members from A Tribe Called Quest in their optically overwhelming “Obey Your Thirst” Campaign of 1994 or tapped into the battle rap scene with showcasing the long-fought rivalry of two of Hip-Hop’s most epic figures, KRS1 and MC Shan, in 1996.
The “Obey Your Thirst” plug was explosive in the 90s and allowed many a rap fan to see their favorites like Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth, Nas and Grand Puba in spots that told them that the Coca-Cola company is looking at them; they see you and not just your dollar. All the way up to 2020, they have shared emcees like 2Pac, Missy Elliott, J. Cole, Drake, Rakim, Lil Yachty, Vince Staples, DRAM and Vic Mensa with the audience in a variety of ways. Everything from rap in commercials all the way to their lyrics appearing on soda cans in the most recent “Obey Your Verse” campaign, showed again… they see us.
But moving passed seeing us, the question becomes “Do they feel us?” or “Do they understand us?”
With the new Sprite Ginger collection, that might be a “hell, yeah.”
In February 2020, they launched this new pop with a twist of ginger, a stable flavor on-trend with the current market. In their roll-out, they still skewed urban, but this time they truly unpacked another layer of who and what Hip-Hop really is. They looked at the oldest element of the four that constitute Hip-Hop culture (at least according to the pioneers in the Zulu Nation, KRS1, and various others who were there from the beginning). They shifted the focus from the emcee and in this move are looking at the artist.
Art/Eyes (Graffiti), The Drum/Heart (The DJ), The Word/The Mind (The Rapper/Emcee/Lyricist), The Move (Dance) makes up all four core elements of the culture. And Sprite Ginger, with a segue as bold as its flavor, expanded its understanding of art by translating it into fashion connected the senses of taste and sight to not only launch their brand but launch the careers of 8 millennial/ homelander artists that they believe will shift the world in their “Thirst for Yours” campaign.
In the spirit of reinvention, Sprite tapped this diverse group of up-and-coming creators from across the creative spectrum—fashion, art, photography and more—to add a hit of something new to their already impressive body of work. Their visions were brought to life through the “Ginger Collection”, the brand’s first creative capsule collection.
In addition to these artists selected by the company, veteran streetwear designer Jeff Staples crowdsourced the final addition to the “Ginger Collection” team from amongst his 250,000+ Instagram followers. From more than 25,000 submissions, Staple picked graphic designer and multimedia artist Bluboy.
Standing on the shoulders of other Hip-Hop artists, this ogdoad stepped up to deliver visuals (in the various mediums) to express the new flavor in their own lens. To do this, they had the mentorship of Jeff Staples and some of Sprite’s other cultural partners. Jeff gathered with the group and helped them move their dream to reality, giving them some life lessons on what it means to be an artist, that works with brands and does not compromise their vision, integrity, and the art they create.
“Sprite Ginger is all about adding a hit of something fresh and new, so as the first new product to launch under the ‘Thirst for Yours’ ethos, we used this concept of reinvention as creative inspiration for the collaboration,” explains Sam Beresford, senior manager, integrated marketing communications (IMC), Sprite. “‘Thirst for Yours’ is all about inspiring the Hip-Hop tastemakers of tomorrow to do more and dream bigger by ‘putting them on’, so we offered this group of incredibly talented young creatives a wide-open runway to bring their vision and voice to life.”
The collection includes graphic t-shirts, a custom cut-and-sew hoodie, a skateboard deck, accessories, a vinyl figurine and more. Sprite Ginger and the “Ginger Collection” debuted at a special media and influencer event at Extra Butter NYC, a premier streetwear boutique on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
To keep the vibe going throughout the year, Sprite will be hosting a series of “re-workshops” at Extra Butter, where emerging creative talent will share their expertise with participants from creative arts nonprofit organizations, Art Start, and fans of the re-workshop hosts.
The launch of Sprite Ginger and the “Ginger Collection” borrow a page from the streetwear playbook by coming to life via a “drop,” which is also how some of the most culturally resonant albums, movies, and sneakers build intrigue and interest before making their seemingly-out-of-the-blue debuts.
Sprite will share the story of the “Ginger Collection” creators in the coming weeks on the brand’s social channels, and select “Ginger Collection” items will be given away to members of the brand’s community as part of this storytelling.
“Our audience expects and appreciates the art of the ‘drop’… it’s a key part of how things are introduced in the Hip-Hop world, and core to how culture moves and works today,” Beresford said. “Given Sprite’s deep Hip-Hop credentials, we saw an opportunity to be the first beverage brand to ‘drop’ its latest release.”
Tina Knowles has given us the tea about lending her art pieces to her daughter, Beyoncé, and revealed the LEMONADE singer is possibly working on a new project. Tina told WSJ Magazine that the art pieces she lend to her is an important thing to surround yourself with.
“My art pieces are like my children,” she told the outlet. “I just lent some of my art pieces to Beyoncé for her new project that she’s doing, and I’m looking at my walls and it just makes me sad, because I miss seeing all my babies there.”
Tina didn’t release any other information about it the project Beyoncé is doing, but we can’t wait until what the Houston native has in store. Beyonce recently released her collaboration with Adidas and Ivy Park on Saturday, January 18. It had sold out in minutes.
Arizona Police reportedly nabbed the graffiti artist known as “PENIS MAN” last weekend after a SWAT team raid jammed him up in Phoenix.
Tempe Police say that 38 year old Dustin Shomer is the man behind the lewd nom de plume, responsible for bombing municipal buildings, the Arizona State dorms and the famous “A” above the campus.
Last weekend, Shomer was charged with 16 counts of aggravated criminal damage, 8 counts of criminal damage and 1 count of criminal trespassing stemming from activity that allegedly began in November.
25 bulletproof-clad SWAT officers raided Shomer’s Tempe apartment. He has reportedly told authorities that he is not the original “PENIS MAN” and he’s only one of several copycats of the infamous artist.
Already classified as a legend, North Carolina’s own Rapsody released visuals to her song Afeni ft. PJ Morton featuring a classic hip hop hook by the late Tupac. The Roc Nation-signed hard hitter is delivering once again from her album Eve which features songs all named after an influential black woman.
Known for her brilliant bars and moving messages, the natural born lyricist breaks down the relationships between the black man, black woman and child. In the captivating video we witness a young couple in love warp into a single black mother raising her son. Bringing us wisdom and tears simultaneously Rapsody is a true queen in hip hop speaking for a generation of those who go unheard.
[Chorus: 2Pac] Now since we all came from a woman Got our names from a woman and our game from a woman I wonder why we take from our women Why we rape our women Do we hate our women? Now since we all
[Verse 1: Rapsody] My brothers (My brothers)‚ I love you (I love you) I hate to know some of you treat us like Glover (Glover) Black card revoked‚ maybe you could use Discover (Discover) Define yourself, do you feel the same way ’bout your mother? (Mother) Do you overlook our beauty, but you lovin’ on all the others (Others) Hope you teach your daughters all to stay away from suckas Like yourself if you don’t love yourself I’m so Southern (Southern)‚ I was taught to feed the soul with or without hot ovens Here’s a plate, know your hate come from a black man struggle (Struggle) We all in the same shape, so I know I fit your puzzle (Puzzle) Either way‚ we got your back, we only pray you’ll be our muscle (Pray you’ll be our muscle) Strength in the times we all overcome with trouble Every day we pullin’ doubles for ourself and home (For ourself and home) My mom and daddy taught me, early on, protect your own (Protect your own) We never stopped lovin’ you, so turn your love back on (Your love back on) And I pray you feel the same way as that 2Pac song We ain’t your hoes or your bitches, trophies, or meant for pimpin’ Recognize a gift from God outweighs a birthday or a Christmas To protect our lives, you gon’ take it to the limit? (You gon’ take it to the limit?) Rib of my rib, do you still feel us in ya
The New York City graff community and beyond is mourning the loss of Matthew “ZEXOR” Rodriguez, who passed away Thursday (Dec. 12) in New York. He was 25 years old.
As the son of Brooklyn graffiti legend ASP WTO, Rodriguez was a second generation writer who continued in his father’s footsteps after his murder in 1996, keeping the WTO(We Takin Over) legacy alive. ZEXOR is recognized as a “King” in the NYC graff scene, appearing in the finale of the Swede-based ‘Tags And Throws: Summer In New York” in 2016 and was featured in TheSource.com’s Off The Wall column in 2015.
Rodriguez is survived by his mother Ronelda “Brunie” Rivera and his sone Jason Rodriguez. TheSource.com and The Mind Squad send our sincerest condolences to his family and friends.