Mass Appeal Issue 52 | Spine-Tingling
A LETTER FROM THE EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
Back in 1996, two teenage graffiti writers from the greater Washington D.C. area were in a suburban basement looking at ‘zines. When I’d launched my own graffiti ‘zine back in 1988, there were maybe three others in existence, but by ’96, there were scores of them from all over the world. Patrick “Sire” Elasik and Adrian “Stren” Moeller saw a void when it came to publications that could speak to where they were coming from. They were painting freight trains like mad, and the scene wasn’t as big back then as it is today. Sire and Stren decided to do their own ‘zine, and name it after a Gang Starr song that they dug: “Mass Appeal."
There was nothing mass about graffiti back then. It was an anti-social activity that society didn’t want to socialize with. Mass Appeal the song was commentary on the state of urban radio and the artistic pandering that some rap groups had to engage in on behalf of getting heavy rotation. In other words, they’d have to water down their tunes if they wanted to have phat pockets. Pat and Adrian were on the same page with Guru and DJ Premier, and Mass Appeal magazine would never shake her ass in an effort to go pop. Pat and Adrian would move to Brooklyn where they connected with young folks who were doing it—as in giving the whole of themselves to their creative disciplines of choice without compromise. Mass Appeal featured stories by--and about--these people, and the editorial covered everything from facial scars to homemade weapons to the so-called vandals who hung themselves off of the sides of buildings in an effort to spray something. Oh, and there was fashion, and interviews with artists—both fine and recording.
Mass Appeal was always ahead of its time. Today, Mass Appeal is the clock, and everyone is clocking us, looking to find out what time it is when it comes to what matters in the big scheme of American-bred culture, and how that culture is expressed on a global scale. Today, graffiti and so-called street art is big business. And while Pat stepped away from Earth some years back, the intellectual electricity that he applied to the idea he whipped up in his man cave with his man has gone a long way and continues to shine. Bright ideas are hard to dim; creativity refuses death.
Hey Sire—your name still rings bells down here, bro.
Mass Appeal: WE ROCK THE BELLS.
Sacha Jenkins SHR
Check out the full list of stories from Issue 52 below; click on the description to read the story.
Fan Out! Tyler on Pharrell
The Bombing of a Theme Park
Read the full story here and peep the video footage from the trip below.
Ebony & Ivory
Read the full story here and peep the video below to get the story behind the cover shoot from Earl Sweatshirt and Sagan Lockhart.
That Nasty Hand
Henry Chalfant's Big Subway Archive
The World Is Your Billboard
Cool, Calm, Collecting...
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