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  DELFONICS began writing in the early part of the 1970's on the streets and local buses. He choose to write the name which was taken by the popular singing group of the late 60's and early 70's THE DELFONICS.  Inspired by writers from the outside boroughs, He would take his name over to the Subways. DELFONICS would make his name popular on the number 7-line ( The world fair Subway line )  becoming the first declared king of that line. DELFONICS would often write DEL for short and at times hit up the saying " DELFONICS 1 FROM THE HURST'S -YA DIG".

 DELFONICS name would become so popular though out East Elmhurst and Corona. Many of DELFONICS early master pieces were top to bottoms which he had done with such writers as DUKE 155, MINGO 1, SPANKY 91 and SPADE 198. U.S.A was the group he pushed, which stood for the "UNITED SOUL ARTIST'S and held a consisted presence on the number 7 line and later moving over to the EE's, GG's and E &F lines. DELFONICS stopped writing in the spring of 1974 leaving the line to ROGER & CHINO 174 and eventually to CAINE 1.

  ....Interview conducted 7/ 23/ 08.  UNITED SOUL ARTIST ......
 

Subway outlaws.com

1 ) In what part of New York City are you from and what was it like growing up in that area during that time? Could you tell us how you started writing why did you choose the name DELFONICS 1?  Did you write any other names?

 

 

 I grew up in E.Elmhurst & Corona. I hung out in 4 parks. 127, 149, 148 and Junction Park.  For the most part the Hurst was cool, and in Corona shit got crazy especially at night.  Both were primarily black neighborhoods with Latinos moving into, Corona.  I was always mistaken for being P.R. or Dominican, because I'm black and Mexican.  We had maybe 3 white families in the whole area.  Jackson Heights is right next to Corona & E. Elmhurst, and that's where most of the white people lived.  Our schools were so

 

 

 

 

 

 divorced though and we got along very well most of the time considering the time period ( late 60's early 70's).  So I had a lot of friends and acquaintances from those 3 hoods and I knew a lot of people.  I started tagging the insides of the Triboro Coach & Queens Transit Buses in 8th grade in 1971.  I don't know why exactly, but I used to write, ( Delfonics of Da Hurst Ya Dig ) on the back of the bus in that upper corner, with a regular magic marker, cause I was one of the bad kids on the bus when school let out. I was named DELFONICS in 1970 by the Late JOKER FRANCE (R.I.P.) FORMER LEADER OF THE COBRAS in the mid 70's.  We were tight, and remained that way until I went into the Army in 1976. Louis  Farrakhan's son's were part of my namesake, one of them was LiL Delfonics, and the other was J-Fonics. My other Graffiti names were DEL 1, and MR. CROSS 1.  I added the number 1 to my name to signify that I'm the first one with the name when I got serious about Graffiti.

 

 

 

2) Who were the biggest names on the Subways / Streets & Buses during those early years you were writing? The # 7 line trains were a very unique looking Subway line designed for the world fare in mind. DO you remember the first writers hitting those trains  and who were some of the first names that inspired you? 

 

 

SUPER STRUT-TASS (RR) was literally the biggest, FLINT 707, SPIN 1, STAR 3, JIVE3, CHOO CHOO 1, The Ex Vandals had killed Brooklyn, I spent some parts of my summers in Brooklyn working with my pops.  "He was keeping me off of the streets."  It only helped me to know my way around the 5 boroughs.  The first writers I saw on the 7, were CHOO-CHOO 1, LIL CHAIN, EZ-5, STAR3, UNCLE JOHN, and some more that I can't remember right now.  I knew CHOO-CHOO 1, and he was the one that inspired me to start hitting the 7.
 

 

  There were so many writers writing in the 1970's, but those guys Were doing real stuff back in the day!

 I remember playing hookey from school and riding the RR train to Astoria Queens and seeing SUPER STRUT-TASS and FLINT 707 giant master pieces flying by. Their early work was truly inspiring for many of my generation and I chose to do my  pieces just as big.

 

 

 

3) The Out Laws gangs were very big in the early 1970's. What do you recall of those gangs. Did they ever course a problem for you when you went writing and what were some of the biggest street gangs in your day as well what were some of the local ones?

 

 

Me and SPADE198 were in a Savage Skull division from Harlem in 72-73 lead by a brother named Kool-Aid.  There was a small amount of us in E.Elmhurst and Corona.  Part of the initiation was to fight one of the Skulls to get in.  Those who knew me well, knew that was right up my alley.  I never claimed to be the baddest or the toughest, but I didn't take any steps backwards either, I'd fight in a
 

 

 

NY minute.  A fight with me then, could earn you some serious stitches, cause I used everything within my reach besides my hands. The biggest gangs were The Savage Skulls, The Black Spades, The Latin Tops, The LTD Outlaws.  And in Queens locally in Corona/Hurst THE COBRAS.  In Jamaica The SEVEN CROWNS. I never had any run-ins with any of the gangs, and people in Corona, Jackson Heights and Da Hurst knew I was affiliated with the COBRAS although I was never a card carrying member, I was available if they needed me.

  * The Savage Skulls were the most dangerous street gang of the 1970's, with divisions through out New York city. More on the Groups on the Savage Skulls in the near future.

 

 4 ) Can you tell us your first experience hitting the Subways? Where was it and who were the writers you were with?

 

 

 I would just write on whatever I was on, the buses or the trains. The first time I went to the 7 yard, It was with a bunch of aspiring Graffiti artists, including KAKE 1 aka FAB, who ran with me most of the years I was writing. He lived right across the street street from me. My main writing partner was SPADE 198. Some of the others were, PAWN 1, ANGELO 177, CASH 1,  PEARL 1, LOCO 133, STITCH 3, SPANKY 91, BOBBY 85, CANE 3, and I may have missed a few people from that first time, because it was so long ago. Anyway we approached the yard by walking across the broad walk ( like dummies ) and entering through a hole at one end of the fence after crossing the marsh. That night I learned no to go to the yard on the weekend at night.

 

 

 

DEL : - There are allot of things in my life I'm not proud of , but Graffiti is not one of them.

 

5 ) Have you ever been to any of the writers benches like 149th street grand concourse in the Bronx  or Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn. If so could you tell us some your memories of those places and what writers did you know while being there?
 

 

The first W.C. I went to was Atlantic Ave. after I met STAR3 and DUKE 155.  I don't remember who I met.  But, I remember that people were like who's that? And I hadn't really done much on the trains at that point.  I remember deciding right there that I was gonna get-up on the 7 like a Mother Fucker!  And I went on a graffiti tear.  I hung out at Parsons a couple of times and the Grand Concourse briefly because that spot was hot.  On the 7 we would check out our stuff at Junction Blvd. because that was our stop.  I made it a point to not hang at Writers corner's because I just wanted to get up, mainly in Queens where everybody knew me.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 6) Where did you go to find your paint and Markers and  would you have any racking adventures you could share with us?

 

 

racked at several different hardware stores in Corona on 111th St. & Roosevelt, and in Jackson Heights somewhere around 82nd St. & Roosevelt. A couple of my favorite rackin' spots were Genovese drug store in Flushing, and Path Mark also in Flushing.  I would hittem' up for 10-15 cans at a time all in my old big green army coat, and in my waist. And then I'd go straight to the 7 yard, sometimes by myself.  One time I was rackin' with STAR3, I think PAWN and CASH at Genovese and he was dropping cans, and yellin' and all kinds of shit.  He started messing with one of the employees that came to our aisle, but nothing happened we just racked and stepped.
 

 

 

 7) You were a member of the U.S.A crew, how did that begin and who were the original members? What are other writing groups you were in?

 

 

The original members of United Soul Artist, were DUKE 155, and STAR3. Maybe LUCKY 2, ZAN 1, JIP1, they were in before me.  DUKE 155 and STAR 3 turned it over to me because they were getting into U.G.A. Then KAKE 1, SPADE 198, CASH 1, PAWN 1, and I think KIP 1 jumped in with us.  I didn't get into any other crews.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 8) Would you have raid stories ( chase stories ) you could share with us?

 

 

 I have several, the first time in the 7 yard, we were in there for about 5 minutes, when we heard freeze mothafucka freeze!  A couple of DT's with flashlights on us.  I was close to the fence so I turned around and jumped to the top and ripped my hand open on the barbed wire, but that didn't stop us. We all got away.  Me and KAKE1 got chased out of the Canal Street layups one day and while I was running the tracks, I hit one of those greasy brakes, fell and my hand nearly touched the 3rd rail.  One night I was on the 7 pulling into Shea, when I saw a TA cop at every car.  Someone saw me tagging the inside when the train was leaving Main St.  When the

 

 

 

 

 

  doors opened, one of them reached in and grabbed me.  He took me into the little Cop Shop and sat me down.  Then he told me not to move while he got up for whatever, and walked away.  I ran outta there so damn fast, down the ramp and hurdled the turnstile, followed by a leap to the bottom of the first flight of stairs and then down Roosevelt.  I don't know when he gave up because I didn't look back until I hit 114th and 37th Ave.  I knew Corona, Da Hurst and Jackson Heights like the back of my hand.  I ran all the way to 148 park on 90th Street in Jackson Heights

 

 

 

 

 9 ) What are all the Subway lines you have hit over the years and can you tell us some of the yards and lay-up's you would catch them? Did you ever hit any of the Subways lines out in the Bronx or in Manhattan?

 

 

 The 7 line of course I used to enter from Roosevelt Ave. near the junkyard, and through the old L.I.R.R. others, were the E's, F's, GG, RR's, EE's, and whatever I was riding on at the time.  The Canal Street lay-up for the double R's, I remember getting chased from what I think was the GG, lay-up one night after starting a Top to Bottom, and running out of Grand Ave and running down Queens

 

 

 

 

 

 Blvd.  I wasn't interested in gettin up on the 2 & the 5 because they were crowded.  Those trains would come into forty duce  without an inch of space on them.   I remember seeing MAN 2 (A Football Field A Player Scoring a TD) Gets Over!, or something like that. Cool Cliff 120, FDT 56, HOY 56, CLIFF 159, TRUE 2, FLINT, BLADE, COMET, MOSES 147.  Some of the pieces that I've seen on this sight I remember seeing on the train back in the day.  I couldn't tell you which lines for all of them because it was so long ago. There are a few guys that get over looked like my man DUKE 155 and VAMM.  Some of VAMM's stuff looked like Decals they were so full and precise. He was all over the place and made several trips to the number 7 line with his partner CRACHEE.

 

 

 

10 ) Could you tell us some of the biggest Graffiti cops from your era?

 

 

There was supposed to be some famous cop, but I don't remember his name.  He tried to catch us at the 82nd Street stop on the 7 line.  All he saw of me, was me  running down 83rd my back and my Pro-Keds.
 

 

 

11 ) The insides of the Subways were very over looked in History. The insides of the Subways were just as poplar as the outsides, there were guys Bombing the insides with great hand writing styles. Do you recall some the writers killing the insides and were you very effective on the insides?

 

 

I made a point of spending most of my yard time on the outside of the trains because more people could see it from a distance and didn't have to be on the train.  I could always tag the inside with people on the train.  I did some of my inside tagging on weekend mornings when there were less people riding the train, or late at night during the week.  Inside KILLAHS were, STAY HIGH 149, LSD3, STAR3, and more than I can remember at the moment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13 ) Could you tell us all the writers you have written with though out the years and who was your best writing partner?

 

 

I wish I would have done this interview 20 years ago, so I could name off everybody and some of these only once. If I don't name you, it's not because I'm dissin' you.  I know I'll miss some of the peeps.  It was so long ago, that I just can't pull up all of the memories.  Please contact me if you're not on this list. But here it goes: KAKE1, SPADE 198, BOBBY85, CANE 3, STAR3, LUCKY2,
 

 

 

 

 

 SLATOR1, LIL CHAIN1, CC KOOL, JIP1, CAINE1,  KIP1, PAWN1, CASH1, SPANKY 91, ANGELO 177, LOCO 133, PEARL 1, STITCH 3, DUKE 155, ZAN 1, LIL SOUL 159, TOKE 1, MINGO 1, MOVE 1, TRUE 2, and I'm sure many more but this is off of the top of my head many years later. My best all around writing partner was KAKE 1 aka FAB.TWO.

 

 

 

 

 14 ) Other then you and members of your crew, who were other writers hitting the # 7 line big during your era?

 

 

This is easy: ROGER and my man CHINO 174 and in the mid 70's a lot of good writers and artist started coming to the 7 line, like TRACY 168, KING2 and CHI CHI 133.  They upped the art factor exponentially on the 7's and were good for the 7 line. They brought top notch art every time they did something.  I loved seeing it.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16) When did you stop writing and why?

 
 

 

 In the spring of 1974 I stopped because I went to Day top Village.  When I got out, I was 16, and had lost interest, because I saw writers painting on top of each other work, and I was just into other things. Women and music.

 

 

 

 

17) Would you have any closing words?

 

 

Thanks for keeping this website going. Any one want to contact me please feel free to do so at : Message@Subwayoutlaws.com . I would love to find people who have some of my old pieces. Back in the day I did some things that I'm not proud of, but this isn't one of them. I loved being a Graffiti artist at the time, and I've always been proud of it. When I was in the army I met a few writers from all

 

 

 

 

 

parts of the city and when I told them what I use to write. It was amazing how many of them said they use to see my stuff. Me and CHINO 174 were stationed at the same place and hung out on occasion. I'm proud that I did something that will stand out long after I'm gone because my work was in the movie Death Wish at the very beginning of the film. I'm proud of the era that not only expanded this art form, but spawned Hip-hop and dared to dream that impossible things were possible. To all of my peers from my era much respect and those who came after us, especially getting chased by dogs and all that, much respect.

And last but not least, to all of my fallen comrades of this culture -Rest In Peace. You have eternal life in your art. You're appreciated for your contributions. Subway Outlaws, Thanks again.

 

 

 

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 We would like to thank LIL SOUL 159 for making this bio possible, Photo credits go to DELFONICS 1, BLADE 1, KAKE 1, ROGER 1, PC-KID 1 ( Rest In Peace ), SAR TMB,  TRACY 168, MIKE 79, SOLO 1, VAMM and the team at Subwayoutlaws.com.  Looks for Bio's of other old school writers such as, BLADE 1 & COMET 1, CHECKER 170, UNCLE JOHN 178, coming up in the near.

Should anyone have photos of  DEL / DELFONICS work please contact us at Message@Subwayoutlaws.com  Check out the birth of Graffiti by -John Naar in books stores now. The Birth of Graffiti : Jon Naar