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‘Graf’ writers soon realized that just having the most tags was not enough to stay recognized. This was the beginning of tag style. Writers began using unique ways of writing to keep there fame. Different scripts where used in different parts of New York City and soon one writer was able to know were another writer was from just by his or her tag style. This was the next step in the evolution of graffiti.
Taggers from different areas began to link up, much like breakdancers did, into crews. These crews would find the best places to tag, trying to make them the biggest and most elaborate they could get. Spray paint became the tool of choice for these graf crews. The standard spray nozzle for a can would only spray in thin lines an the graffers could not get the desired effect out of the spraypaint so, kids began removing the nozzles and replacing them with nozzles from other aresol products that would change the way the paint came out. Writers sprayed the names of there crews in block letters which they would fill with unique designs. These deigns then started to appear outside the letters and often became more important than the words. By this point tagging had metamorphosed into something far more artistic.
These new elaborate deigns were called ‘pieces.’ Writers realized that by bombing the sides of subway cars with pieces, their work would travel around the city and be seen by everybody. Soon the entire sides of the cars where taken up by by pieces stretching from top to bottom and side to side. Some of these pieces would take hours to complete and the crews that did them would often break into train yards in order to have enough time to finish. The first top to bottom ‘masterpiece’ as it was called is attributed to one person, named SUPER KOOL 223.
Graffiti art peaked in the early 1980’s and the cities would pay thousands of dollars to clean up graffiti, but the art never died. Graffers soon stopped writing words and tags and would just spray unique pictures and designs. Many graf artists became legitimate commercial artists. From its early beginnings in Philly and New York, graffiti spread across the nation. In the 1990’s Europe had a surge of graffiti artists and pieces would show up all over Dutch and German cities. As an art form graffiti still exists and a new graf artist is born everyday, however it is unlikely that it will ever see the popularity it saw in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.
Of the four elements of hip hop, graffiti is the only one not linked to music . Why hip hopers grasped onto graffiti as a form of expression is unknown. Perhaps it is because just like MCing is about getting your ‘props’ and being the illest lyricist, the goal of graffiti is having the best most elaborate style. Whether or not this is the reason, graffiti is still a major part of the culture as a whole.

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