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Black Book

History of writers






    A writer could just burn with a Top-to-Bottom, as seen here with the famous FLINT 707 candy-cane piece, done in the early to mid 1970's.  This piece blew many writers away and even forced few into retirement.  The true originator of the Top-to-Bottom is hard to pin point; some say JAPAN 1 started it, and others say SUPER KOOL 223.  

    By 1973, spotting a Top-to-Bottom running  became a normal event that most writers saw.  In the beginning, the first Top-to-Bottoms did not take up the entire subway car, but mainly half of its length.  HUNDO 1 took this idea to a new level by painting extra large thick letters, that took up the whole train.  Many Top-to-Bottoms consisted of bubble letter, straight letter, western letter and block letter styles.  Outside tags were becoming a thing of the past.  Numerous writers started doing larger, more elaborate letters just to keep two steps ahead of the rest.  To a Subway Outlaw, the Top-to-Bottom writings were about dominance.  It was how he/she could take over a line with the biggest and the best, as well as the most work that could hit the public (the next day).  TRACY 168 took this honor for being a total package, on what a subway writer should be.  He took over the lines with stylish Top-to-Bottoms, as well as with quick letter styles.  His most amazing production was writing a Top-to-Bottom on the outside of a train with CLIFF 159, and one inside of the train.  That truly blew many writers minds when they saw it!

    Writers like SUPER STRUT who had a very long name, executed a Top-to-Bottom with their entire name.  Various artists like LEE, of the THE FABULOUS FIVE, took off where FLINT 707 left off.  As a result, he did some of the most memorable Top-to-Bottoms of his era.  BLADE, an all time king of the 2's and 5's, was considered by many to be one of the all time kings of the whole car Top-to-Bottoms.  SEEN UA pulled off dozens of Top-to-Bottoms in the early 1980's and took over, where BLADE left off.  A writer truly over looked, was MIN 1 a.k.a. NE, who pulled off the most colorful Top-to-Bottoms (along with KEL and the RTW-WOW crew), on the BMT's.  One of MIN's biggest products was a Top-to-Bottom wild style done for SHY 147 (R.I.P.), which ran on the RR train in the mid 1980's.  DONDI's work was always a pleasure to be seen .... as it had neat, clean, large and colorful letters, that looked like they belonged on a subway car.  The following are a few photos of our favorites:




A truly over looked writer from the 1970's, who burned the BMT's with great style.  Not only did DON1 get up on the BMT's, but was just as effective on the IRT's, with many writers looking on to his work with amazement.  This photo came from the collection of our Subway brother, DIME 139 and cannot be reprinted, look for DIME's book Graffito.



Photo taken by DIME 139 in 1975. DIME 139:  DON was truly a good friend with great style. 

Later Don got work doing art for covers of  Rock'n Roll albums which I still own.  DON 1's art career was cut short, while at a party for a good friend.  Someone slipped him some bad acid that ruined his life forever! The experience left him mentally disabled.  What a sad thing to happen to a great artist. ~~ DON 1 MAFIA ~~



DOO 2 & ALE.

ALE : The orange Ale piece was photographed with a Polaroid camera.  It's cool that the photo survived that long. The Federal Safety Ale Top-to-Bottom photo was taken shortly after the MTA buffed the windows.  I cropped the photo when I was 14 years old, because it seemed like a good idea at the time.  Now I regret it.  The Top-to-Bottom has all fed colors.  The DOO2 piece next to it, was nicely done.  The Checkerboard style was still popular then.


Ale Top-to-Bottom that was painted at the 4 yard, in 1974 next to

 a nice Comet 1 window-down.  (Polaroid photo taken on top of Billy

167's roof, during the weekend.)






Upside-down Top-to-Bottom done on the J- line, in 1988.  The first writer to pull off this amazing feat.


This upside-down/backwards Top-to-Bottom, was the first one done in history.

 This Top-to bottom was done during  his come back in 1988 and was the last

subway graffiti wave.