Being one of the most democratic hobbies there is, graffiti goes hand-in-hand with other artistic endeavors like music and, likewise, is also practiced by celebrities whose origins are directly linked to the streets. We’ve compiled an interesting list of 10 musicians who, curiously, are also involved writers or graffiti artists. As you can imagine, many of them are linked with hip-hop culture, but we’ve also included some other cases…some very well known, others perhaps not so much…
Fat Joe is probably one of the most charismatic examples. It’s well known that the Bronx rapper and founder of the “Terror Squad” is passionate about graffiti culture. Fat Joe aka Crack is part of the legendary New York TATS crew and their international association with the Monsters of Art in Europe.
Those familiar with the British hip-hop scene will be well aware that Goldie, in addition to being a musician, producer, DJ, and actor, is a character that emerged directly from 1980s graffiti culture. In fact, Goldie managed to be one of the few Europeans to paint the subways of New York when they still circulated unbuffed. Also associated with the TATS crew, what we didn’t know is that he was romantically involved with Björk.
DJ Kay Slay
Do you remember the young dude from Style Wars who spoke of his even younger partner as his disciple? His little speech talked about the inheritance of graffiti knowledge through a master-apprentice relationship, which was perhaps surprising for that age. Well, Dez grew up and became a DJ with dozens of mixtapes and five albums behind him.
There are several tracks from the Swedish collective “Looptroop” that talk about graffiti, from “Spraycan Stories” or “Freedom Fighters” to “Long Arm of the Law.” Obviously, the fact that the band’s leader is a well-known train writer from the Nordic scene has something to do with it.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an Spanish writer who doesn’t know that the member of “El club de los poetas violentos” (The Violent Poets Club), who is also a reggae DJ, is affiliated with the legendary TFP crew. His early contact with the New York hip-hop scene marked a turning point in the evolution of graffiti in Madrid. You can listen to his interesting story on Musa’s podcast.
The precocious Pone started off as a deejay for Fabe, the Parisian MC of Scred Connexion, and continued on as a member of the Double H DJ crew with Cut Killer. His collaborations with Fuzi, Cokney or Keno demonstrate his close ties with the Parisian graffiti scene.
Also known as Lou Fresco, Venezuelan rapper Lil Supa is one of the most outstanding talents of classic Latin American hip-hop. The Caracas MC is part of the CMS collective, the most recognized crew in the Venezuelan graffiti scene, thanks to his experience in illegal graffiti.
Grems is known at MTN-World as a graffiti artist and designer, but he also holds his own place in the French hip-hop scene with a whopping 9 studio albums on his resume. We take this opportunity to recall the interview we recently published about his exhibition at the Adda Gallery in Paris.
3D Massive Attack
Robert del Naja is the real name of the most famous of the four members of the British electronic music group Massive Attack. His established history as an urban artist, alongside other coincidences, founded the theory that this Bristol musician is Banksy’s real identity. What ever happened to that rumour?
DJ Adam X
Active in the New York subways for several decades, he is part of the AOK crew. His career as a music producer dates back to 1990, but if you want to know more about his interesting figure, don’t hesitate to listen to the podcast we’ve just launched in which MTN Crew Diagonal Mark interviews him.