Had a good conversation with my friend Hex yesterday. I hadn't heard from him for a while, but was just thinking about asking him some questions about graffiti battles the day before. One of those weird things when you think of someone, then you hear from them.
One of the most interesting things I learned about early on when I was getting schooled on the ways of graffiti was the concept of battles. While there certainly is violence in the graffiti culture, battles are a non violent way of settling issues. Not only that, sometimes battles happened even when there wasn't an issue at all.
Two writers or two crews would go head to head on the wall to see who came out on top. When I was learning about this, I thought it was the coolest thing about graffiti and hip hop culture.
There is a lot to it and I'm no expert on it, but it's definitely one of things I love about the culture. I'm not sure how much it happens these days. We've hosted some at our shop and are planning on hosting them again next year.
Photo of the infamous battle with Hex and Slick from 1989 by cancontrolone.com.