Q&A: Blake “KEO” Lethem, Graf Legend & Original White Rapper

What do you remember about the time period when Writing On the Wall was filmed?
KEO: [laughs] Ah… wow… It was probably ’84, ’85. And I was pretty much homeless at that time, and just kinda gettin’ high a lot. I was hanging out in Washington Square Park, selling weed, and I met these cats from Jersey. And we clicked on some graffiti shit, but we all emceed, and were into popping and locking. They were trying to really step up their game. I guess Jersey always kinda felt secondary to New York in the graffiti shit. So they sort of pulled me into the fold because I had already years before that done my thing and made a name for myself on the F’s and the E’s and the B’s here in Brooklyn. So they looked at me like an asset because, you know, I guess those dudes felt like since they didn’t hit the trains they weren’t official official. They were doing a lot on streets and walls, which is basically what New York has turned into nowadays. They in turn had a little airbrushing thing going and they were making a lot of money at the time. T-shirts, sweatshirts. And I started working with HAK and [fellow VOS member] REVENGE on Market Street – the main strip in Newark where all the sneaker stores are.

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