7th Boro Writer Spotlight: Label Grafik
In this installment of the 7th Boro Writer Spotlight, I had the opportunity to kick it with New Jersey’s own Label Grafik. If you’re not familiar with Label, he’s a graff artist/photographer out of Perth Amboy, N.J. who is nice when it comes to writing. I grew up in the same city as Label so I’m very familiar with his work. One of the first pieces that got me interested in Label’s artwork was a drawing of classic Hip Hop 90’s tapes. Being a fan of the music, I was instantly drawn toward that piece.
Before we get started Label, I just wanted to thank you for taking time out to do this interview with the 7th Boro.
Stroy: What/Who inspired you to become an artist?
Label: I started messing around with graffiti lettering back in “1992” due to being a young hip hop head. When I first came across the music video of The Artifacts “Wrong side of the Tracks” in the summer of “1994” who fully inspired me to get better in this craft. I met Jersey Joe aka Rime in “1998” who is huge in the graff scene helped me increase my skill and style that I have today. With out Artifacts and Rime there will be no Label Grafik.
Stroy: That’s dope! I’m a fan of the Artifacts and Jersey Joe. How did the name “Label” come about?
Label: When I started getting serious about graffiti I never had a permanent name, I was comfortable with writing on the walls. I actually had corny names that sounded old school like “Just Nice” or something in that nature until I started playing the track by Gza called Labels. I played that tape over and over until I started writing Label on my school books and fell in love with the way the letters flowed together. My friends around the way started calling me label and it stuck with me for over 20 years later. Grafik was an addition to Label a few years back when I started to pursue photography.
Stroy: I’ve seen a few of your photos online. Super dope! You ever consider creating a clothing line or something along those lines?
Label: Thanks dude I appreciate that. I always wanted to start a clothing line since the early 2000s. I actually designed custom made t-shirts for myself but I never pursued to sell them. Ever since ecko gear failed, it kind of made me feel people weren’t interested in graff material anymore. That issue basically threw me back from proceeding any farther but that might change.
Stroy: Word. Perhaps we can collaborate on something in the future. That would be ill.
Label: Most definite! I never mind working with true Hip Hop heads.
Stroy: This is one of my favorite questions to ask. If you could remake any two Hip Hop album covers, what would they be?
Label: The 2 Hip Hop covers I will remake that come to mind at this moment will be Intoxicated Demons by the Beatnuts and Common Sense’s Resurrection album. They were classic and if I had an opportunity, it would of been executed better.
Stroy: That common cover was terrible! Good choice! If you could tag anywhere in the world, where would it be? Why?
Label: The place I dreamed about getting my artwork on will definitely be Wynwood Walls down in Miami Florida. I’ve been there a few times and that place is infested with artwork from all types of artist from around the world. That place is a graffiti heaven I would recommend all artist to go visit. I’ve been invited by Miami artist to come down and paint with them but haven’t had the opportunity yet. I will make that happen one day and get it off my bucket list.
Label: I get non stop questions from young artist trying to develop a style to go foward with and all I can really say is keep practicing and that can only make you better. I was fortunate to be around one of the best graffiti artist in the world that I learned a lot from. I took his knowledge and created my own style I was comfortable with. I’m over 20 years in the game and I’m still practicing to get better then I was yesterday. I’m still far away from the goal I want to achieve as a graffiti artist. It’s frustrating but all I can do is keep practicing.
Stroy: Anything else you like to share?
Label: I wanted to shout out 7th Boro for for keeping the real hip hop alive. The Artifacts and Jersey Joe Rime who created me to become the artist I am today. Peace to everyone who supported my artwork over the years around the world. Thank you!
Stroy: No, thank you Label for keeping the culture alive. Much Respect!