Dear Chris Brown,
You’re not a graffiti writer. You ain’t a graffiti artist. Stop fronting. You should never ever put the word “graffiti” in your mouth. Matter of fact, you need to go get some Listerine right now and gargle and gargle and gargle. This culture is old and you are a new jack swinger who’s vine might get snipped if you walk the streets talking about “I’m a graffiti artist.” Even if it wasn’t you who dubbed yourself a “graffiti artist”, you need to publically own up to the fact that you never were and never will be. Be a man and tell your friends and enemies in the media to get it right.
I see you painted a donkey. I’m not surprised that you can so effortlessly paint an ass. Mirrors can help us to see the world differently sometimes. We are what we reflect. Sometimes, mirrors can do the mind and body good.
I can admit that you seemingly have a decent amount of can control, and that certainly has value. It gives you the ability to paint something that, from the outside, looks somewhat legit. Hey, you’re an artist—I’d never take that away from you. I can’t. You’re rich, and your riches are the bi-product of your talents. Mazel Tov. But being a graffiti artist is something that takes years and years of suffering to achieve. Getting chased and or beaten by cops. Climbing on rooftops. Clipping fences. Stealing spray paint. Getting into beefs with rival crews where more than bottles of bubbly get tossed around. You ain’t Lee and your current ex Rhi Rhi sure ain’t Lady Pink. How you handle yourself is certainly Wild Style though—I’m sure Lee and Pink had their disputes way back when but I guarantee you that the man famously quoted at the top of Nas’ groundbreaking Illmatic LP never bit and scratched the artist in her young woman form the way you did.
What does this scribe calling you out for domestic abuse have to do with Graffiti? NOTHING! Graffiti was just an opening in the fence, and I done ran through it. I can’t lay all the blame on you, Chris Brown. I can’t speak on what your childhood was like. I can’t speak on whether or not you were abused as a child. I can’t speak on the pressures of fame and the fact that so many people want something from you. And I certainly can’t speak on making a mistake so big that millions of people look at you side-eyed. Still, you have millions of people who love you. You’re a popular artist. You’re 23 years old. You’ve got so many great things ahead of you. Just recognize that graffiti ain’t one of them. Stop fronting. If I see you trying to get up I will personally rag all of your shit with vintage Rustos, fuck all of this bougie foreign designer paint bullshit. This is graffiti, not Gloria Vanderbilt.
Painting animals doesn’t make you a graffiti artist. Let me see you try to pull off some letterforms that have some real HERITAGE. I’m sure you can commission a style master to show you the ropes, but you can hope to the pope and it still won’t be dope. Being a writer is something that ruminates in your bones. These letters we choose to rock were remixed by legends, but you’ll never understand because you’re not from the essence. We done re-mixed the alphabet and made them letters strut, you understand? Strut like Re Run from What’s Happening lockin’ on Crenshaw. Strut like Pam Grier with a gun in her hand outside of a whore house. Strut like Celia Cruz at an after hours spot in Spanish Harlem. Strut like Pete Townsend helicoptering power chords like a motherfucker. Chris Brown must go learn the culture and advocate it from a distance. Like a respectful fan. What Chris Brown is doing right now has gently placed him in the groupie zone. Being an advocate isn’t a bad thing at all. Pretending to be something that you’re not, however, is suspect. The Bridge is over, toy.