Wild Style The Sampler

December 9, 2012

Photograph by Martha Cooper

Photograph by Martha Cooper

To begin at the beginning: meeting Fab 5 Freddy in 1980. I felt as if making this movie with him would be a snap—or as Rodney Cee would say, “Nothing to it, but to do it!” Lee Quinones’ struggle to create his art inspired me to work harder as a filmmaker. We were all Hip Hop artists struggling to take this culture to the next level. Who knew that Fred would dazzle on screen or that Lady Pink would be so intense on film? Hell, she isn’t acting! Busy Bee grabbed me at my first MC jam, got the part, and I am grateful for 25 years of Busy Bee. And I am so thankful to Grandmaster Caz, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Waterbed Kevie Kev, Rodney Cee, and all those who invited me to their parties and welcomed me into their homes.

After I had written a few essays for powerHouse Books, Miss Sara Rosen sidled up to me at one of their events and asked me if I wanted to publish a book with them; without hesitation I said “Wild Style The Sampler.” In the two years since that conversation I would often picture Sara dressed in a cheerleader’s outfit, shaking her pom poms from her desk, shouting, “Great! Great! Yeah great!”

—Charlie Ahearn


In 1982, Charlie Ahearn wrote, directed, and produced a small, independent movie that released a year later, taking the world by storm as it screening in Cannes, Tokyo, and Times Square. Wild Style, the first film to unite the underground urban art forms of nascent hip hop culture—DJing, MCing, b-boying, and graff writing—was filmed on location in the South Bronx without permits or pretensions. Some twenty-five years after it’s release, Wild Style is truly a classic, having inspired countless artists, musicians, and writers with unforgettable scenes starring the era’s most memorable personalities.

To celebrate the film’s silver anniversary, Wild Style The Sampler provides an inside look at the making of the film, it’s release, and the reverberations it caused around the world. Narrated by Ahearn, the book introduces us to a cast of characters and outrageous adventures through a carefully curated collection of never-before-published photographs, original artwork, production stills, archival materials, and personal stories from stars Fab 5 Freddy, Lee Quinones, LADY PINK, ZEPHYR, Patti Astor, Busy Bee, Grandmaster Caz, Frosty Freeze, and Glenn O’Brien, insights into the film’s influence by artists, writers, and musicians including Sacha Jenkins, Carlo McCormick, Grand Wizzard Theodore, Melle Mel, Biz Markie, SHARP, REVOLT, Martha Cooper, Cathy Campbell, Cut Chemist, and DJ Krush, and additional photographs by Joe Conzo, Henry Chalfant, and many others. Recounting the film’s influence over the past quarter century, Wild Style The Sampler offers incomparable insight into hip hop’s most indelible film.

Photograph by Charlie Ahearn

Photograph by Charlie Ahearn

Photograph by Charlie Ahearn

Photograph by Charlie Ahearn

Photograph by Charlie Ahearn

Photograph by Charlie Ahearn



doinn it in the park

June 16, 2012

Photographs by Joe Conzo

Bringinn it Back ..

For ten years Tools of War has been rockinn the park like this was nineteen seventywhanow and This Is New York. The Bronx, thas whas up. Like Grandmaster Caz said, where we startinn from. And so it was and so it is that Tools of War got the line up this year. We talkin Bobbito the otha day, Tony Toca next week, then ohmagosh, I’ma be cominn thru when they hit up Crotona cause it’s Theodore, Biz Markie, Bambaataa, Red Alert, Jazzy Jay, Lord Finesse, hot daaamn the list goes on. Shout out to Christie Z. Pabon for doinn her thing cause without her energies, the past wouldn’t be present today.

Cause it’s like this: Ain’t a damn thang changed. Nice N Smooth know what I’m talkinn bout. I asked Joe Conzo, Was it like this back in the days? Yes, he told me, the DJ spinnin and the b-boys and b-girls in the circle and the crew is five to fifty and the gangs over there lookinn out and the kids are ballinn on the court and everyone’s doinn they thang and it’s just the way we be and my heart lit up. Cause I’m sayinnn….

It’s been a long time (I shouldn’t have left you). I’ma start rhyminn cause my heart is singing. I had this moment while my hips swished and my ass went bumpadumpbump juslikethis. And I’m watchinn this guy go off and I’m feelinn the vibes and it reminded me of something deep, way deep down inside. It’s been something I lost cause I had to walk away only I neva lost it cause what is mine will forever remain. There is a spirit and an energy and it’s like nothinn else and I don’t know where it comes from, all I know is that it is eternal and it vibrates in everything. And I feel it in my bones and in my blood and in my heart and it makes me smile like nothing else.

Peace. Love. Unity. Respect. Having Fun. Alla this, you see. It’s been so long I nearly forgot til I went uptown and it all came back. And see, it’s not just that we hit up the park and that I was feelinn the love and that in that love I found a part of my soul. It’s that it doesn’t end here, but here it begins because after we hit the park we walked up to One Sixteen and Second and went for Dominican and it was arroz con gandules y maduros y a nice glass of wine with my girls and we talkinn about whatever and everywhere on the walls are photos of A-Rod. And then it’s back down to BeeKay cause this is New York and it got me reconnected to the place I am from and the place where I been and the place where I am is the place I been goinn for as long as I am here. Cause that’s Hip Hop. It’s a spirit that’s as much a way of life as a work of art.

Come Thru


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