Who is RACEE and where is he from?
I was born in 1970 in Weymouth street off Catherine Street. Most of my mates from my childhood lived on the St Marks estate which was just two streets away from my house. I spent most of my time around that area growing up.
What are the key moments in Leicesters’ history of graffiti and street art that stand out for you?
When the 80’s kicked in so did hip hop and electro etc. My older brother Tony would get hold of the latest imports from record shops in town. With the whole hip-hop scene came graffiti which particularly interested me as I loved drawing and art and most of the early record covers would have some form of graffiti on them. Then around 83 my brother got hold of a video called Style Wars. After watching that along with some mates we started creating tags for ourselves, nothing major just doodling on stuff.
Around 85ish we started taking it all a bit more seriously and started racking up paint from the local car shops and having a go on the pillars of the walk ways on St Marks on the bus route. Around that time it was just me Griff Deon and Turvie aka TASK2 who were painting bits around St Marks and Belgrave. There was also some lads from the Rushy Mead area including Blueyes, Oscar and Tariq. They were tagging and doing the odd piece around their sides. In 86 Blueyes joined us in painting and after a while he introduced ARTISM to us who I already knew from previous schools but hadn’t seen for a while; this would be the first time we painted together at the St Marks ballcourt. This is around the time we started getting into it all properly and not long after that we formed the Blues Brothers. That was me GRIFF TASK and ARTISM. After a year or so after that we changed to the Aerosol Bandits crew. It was around 88 CAPER joined us.
WHAT DOES STYLE MEAN TO YOU?
I’m pretty oldschool on my views about style. I like when the letters look like they’re rocking – like they could be moving to a classic hip hop track. Obviously style has changed loads along the way but I still see writers of present day rocking the good old letters from the 80s. I love that.
DO YOU SEE A CONNECTION BETWEEN LEICESTER PAST AND PRESENT? Yes I definitely see a connection between the past and present regarding the Leicester graffiti scene because without one you wouldn’t have the other it’s as simple as that.
HOW DO YOU VIEW THE CULTURE AS IT IS NOW AND WHAT DO YOU SEE FOR THE FUTURE? The Leicester graffiti culture is at its very best at the moment. It just moves from strength to strength. There are so many writers from Leicester now and so many come from all over to paint in Leicester it’s great. I think a lot of that is down to the GraffHQ and Graffwerk guys their dedication to the scene.