August 30, 2023

A special Hip Hip 50th anniversary edition cover

LiFTED | Sean D | 9 Aug 2023

As Hip Hop turns 50 years old this year, LiFTED wanted to take time to salute the culture, and give props to the originators who created the music, dance, art, and style that has spread out into every corner of the world – especially in Asia! Who better to talk to than one of the original architects of the culture, Fab 5 Freddy? Starting in the early 80s, Fab [and his partner in crime Jean Michel Basquiat, RIP] was instrumental in bringing the then-fringe Graffiti Art movement from the subway cars and outer boroughs of New York to the bubbling Downtown art and club scenes. Fab 5 Freddy saw the vision of what the nascent Hip Hop culture truly was – Graffiti, Turntablism, Breakdancing, and Rapping – and together with another visionary, director Charlie Ahearn, created the first Hip Hop movie, Wild Style, in 1982.

To say Wild Style put Hip Hop on the map is just facts. For most Americans – even New Yorkers – it was the first real look at what was cooking in The Bronx, and throughout the other boroughs wherever Black culture thrived. Before the decade was over Fab was at it again, helping create and hosting MTV’s first-ever Hip Hop show, Yo! MTV Raps. During that historic run, in the Golden Age of Hip Hop Freddy went on to direct more than 75 music videos for some of the biggest names in the game, like KRS One, Snoop Dogg, Nas, Gang Starr, and others.

In the 21st century, Freddy has continued to be one of the most important voices in the culture, while maintaining a position of importance in the contemporary Street Art world, with gallery shows in NYC, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and the Smithsonian in Washington DC. He is currently showing at the massive Beyond the Streets exhibit in Shanghai. It’s with great pleasure that we get to sit down and break it down with Hip Hop’s true renaissance man, Fab 5 Freddy.

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