Friday, March 1, 2013

Friday Flashback: Graffiti Rock

It was 1984, one of the best years of my life. After already having so many years under my belt as a DJ, this marked one year of turning into a mix machine by having learned how to blend and well practiced with my scratching. To match, I had years of drawing experience, which made me a good artist to do my own "burners" and designed my own custom t-shirts and jackets. To top it all off, I was a "beat-boxer" [known as the 'Beat Box Kid'] and an excellent breaker who could hold my own along with my crew of friends. We called ourselves the 5th Avenue Breakers, because we wanted a name associated with class and to show we were higher level. Our anthem at the time was Ollie & Jerry's "There's No Stopping Us" from the Breakin' OST. Many ground-breaking Hip-Hop artists were dominating the airwaves and select DJ sets in nightclubs and park jams. Like any other year, it had it's ups and downs, but overall, it was just a fun year.

Michael Holman & GQ DJ Jimmie Jazz

The summer of 1984 kicks in and the Hip-Hop community was abuzz, waiting eagerly for the premier of a show strictly dedicated to the culture and art of Hip-Hop. That show was called GRAFFITI ROCK. It was like a dream come true. To grow up with Soul Train, giving up the funk by featuring many artists over the years who did music that fueled the "breaks" for Hip-Hop. Now we had another show that represented the rising street culture to help broaden its horizon. Especially after riding close behind Beat Street, which already helped stretch the culture a bit farther.

Just imagine, instead of turning on your TV set to see Michael Jackson, Prince, or some other pop artist, there were a few of our local home-town heroes getting their moment in the spotlight to a nation-wide audience. The host of the show was Michael Holman, manager of the b-boy crew known as the New York City Breakers, who is also a visual artist, writer and filmmaker. Representing for the foundation, on the wheels of steel was GQ DJ Jimmie Jazz going back and forth, cutting and scratching the fresh tunes of the day. Special guest co-hosts who rapped throughout the show were Kool Moe Dee and Special K of the Treacherous Three. The icing on the cake was the spectacular live performance of "Sucker MC's" by Run-DMC and Jam Master Jay (R.I.P.). Shannon, the pioneer of the "freestyle" sound performing her second dance classic, "Give Me Tonight", added more fuel to the already blazing fire.

For 30 minutes, I was in Hip-Hop heaven. Dancing along to the beats, seeing the terms "FRESH", "CHILL" and other definitions written in graffiti [along with the set design] by artist BRIM, to help give viewers a better understanding of what it was all about. For that moment in time, seems almost like our living room turned into a mini disco. My face hurt from smiling so hard and getting hyped up at witnessing what I loved being performed on TV. Not to mention falling in love after seeing a lovely young lady with long flowing hair who went by the name of "Josephine", that was one of the dancers. This was also a day that I thought I never hated commercial breaks so much.

As eagerly as I waited for the premier, I was more anxious to see the next show. Sadly, that would never happen as only one episode was taped. I was crushed. No more welcoming invasions into our living room by Mike and Jimmie. No more Josephine. Years passed and memories of the show sort of slipped away. Til one day I hit up a record store while DJing out of town and couldn't believe my eyes. "GRAFFITI ROCK?!" MY friend who was a few years younger asked me what it was and I gave a brief breakdown. Still, I had to actually SHOW them what time it was and quickly purchased it. Got back to their place and popped it in. Amazement kicks in as they witnessed a piece of Hip-Hop history as I remembered when I was a kid. After watching, to hear them ask; "What?! Only ONE show???!!!" With a deep sigh, I answered; "Yup". Then told them that I didn't know what happened as to why it never aired again.

Just I was able to buy a copy of the DVD, you can grab yourself one too, to enjoy it as much as you please. Visit Michael Holman: GRAFFITI ROCK to order your piece of Hip-Hop history and get the inside story on what happened with the show.

No comments:

Post a Comment