Miami Graffiti

1) What do you write and what crew do you represent?

I write DZ from KBT STV AFD WH DIRTY30 EPC and DTT. I represent ALOT17.

2) Where did you get your tag? Any special meaning behind it?

Short for DZASTR.

3) When did you start writing and what were some of your early influences?

I started writing in '95 but did not become active until around '97. Growing up in Kendall in the 80's and early 90's, the first tag I ever read and recognized was RAGE. From that point on I was hooked, and I began to notice more names around the neighborhood like GEA, ASTRO, TWICE, BROOZ, BASH, AND KUBERT. When I further explored Kendall I found names like RAVEN and FA crew, KNOW 7, QUATRO from BOM crew, HOACS and MEMS, DEED, INFOE, WEAVE, and DIME were crushing.

I moved from Kendall further South for a short time and I saw stuff from STER, who to this day I still consider the King of Miami street bombing. ELEMS was starting to get up and writers like MEER, ENER and ELSE stick out in my memory from the Ridge, as well as KEPOS and OVS. When I went to the Beach I would see MQUE up, and DASH and VO5 on the way on the highways. When I went to the Hurricane games, DNEEE always had the hood smashed out.

I moved again to a different part of town, where I started writing. There was not much for graffiti in the area but the writers who did live around there, JIME, HERA, and AMOS were all solid writers who were doing things then that would burn people now. NASA used to wreck the area hard, he was one of my early bombing influences. After setting fires, trying new drugs, and shooting at construction workers with BB Guns became boring, the next logical step for me and TYPOE, was to start doing graffiti. He started to bring his friend TOOK around. TOOK was younger, but he already knew about graffiti and put me and TYPOE on to having tags and repping crews and the basics.

My high school was full of wanna-be writer kids, for the most part they were toys, but I learned a lot about the game from just going to school. Every Monday there was new stories about who got beat up or who did a new spot on the Palmetto that I would be looking out for on the way home. My boy RANT showed me 2 alphabets the first was from RIOT 117 and the second was from CLONE. The letters were from Kendall and they were almost identical, this is where I first picked up any type of style to my letters. I met MAGES in school, he had a throwup that I would see on the way to school on Bird Road, he was the first writer I met who had actually done some real bombing outside of his neighborhood and he was good so I was fortunate to be able to peep game and start my career off in the right direction.

Other names that stood out when I began writing: The FS crew was definitly very influential, BASER, OKAE, EACH, SINSE, CHISME, KVEE, TERMS, and LACK76. The MTK WE HAF crews TARE, TUE, NINE, REACT, GWIZ, ORAM, REK127, COLER. ANTI, VERE, ANONYMOUS, CODAK, TEMPT, KUNSEEL, the list goes on, but those guys killed it. KOOL, FREEK, KEDS. DAM/QSC/AIM crews. CANE NBC crew. KLONE, KRAVE, SIFOS, SILENT, DOPLE, NERV. ABLE and B4. ARE, BREZ, CHIN, BEAT, JINE, PORNO, SKEME. STOE. RB crew. BZERK and OWN MBS crew. CADE DTM crew. JEL and IH's. COMA, CROME and CAR. WAR BSK. BOARD KMG was good. FANE, ASIM, ERAZE, FACTS, HAVOK, and VERB. KRASH, SEGA, and WAIL had nice roofs off the metrorail. CENSEE. QUART BOS crew. CREED. SHOCK AND AMAZE...

Along with the writing came the fighting from an early age, I started writing and quickly became one of the more hated kids in my high school, and that spread to other high schools as well. I fought all the time throughout school. I learned from hearing the stories about other older writers that it was not just about skills or getting up, but it's about respect and having heart. Or at least it was...

I bounced around through crowds for a while until I finally settled in the crews I'm in now. They are the only crews I will ever be in, the only crews I ever wanted to be a part of. I learned a lot about the fundamentals of the game from OIL and SMASH74. JUNE and BASH put me on the right track. MBER showed me how to stay humble. ALOT17 helped get me back on track, and if it wasn't for people like GS and CHISME laying down the groundwork for years so that writers like me can rep a respectable set, I would have nothing to show for my career today.

4) What was your favorite Penit/Wall and why?

I was never really into going to the penits, I wasn't much for piecing and the couple times that I did go to them some fucked up shit would always go down. My friends and I were not really concerned with knowing other writers or going to the B-boy events and graff battles, we were getting lit and chasing girls. We did graffiti after we dropped the girls off for their curfews, because none of us ever had to be anywhere. We wrote graffiti for the bombers in Miami who caught wreck, not the little nerds doing windmills in the penits. I spent a lot of time in the Marine stadium because it was the least grimey of all the penits, and I could actually trick girls into going there with me.

5) Is there any crazy story that sticks out in your mind from the early days?

I don't remember much from those days, there were a lot of drugs involved. We went there frequently, the last 5 times I went there something terrible happened, I would never go back.

6) Name a Miami writers work that you respect a lot (thats not in your crew/associated crews) and why?

CURE TE, he has been burning for a long time and his style is constantly evolving and improving. THEME16 for basically the same reasons. TYPOE, because it's a miracle that either one of us are still alive, let alone still writing. FREEK, because he's the illest. TAER and ELEMS for taking it back. NASA for keeping it moving. The AD crew for always doing their own thing and not getting in the mix.

7) Any good stories about a time you got chased or busted?

Nothing was good about any time I ever got busted.

8) Whats the biggest problem with Toys nowadays?

Nowadays being the key to the whole question. When I was coming up, people had beef, people got crossed out, but after the writers squared off, whoever lost quit dissing shit. Today a kid might get dropped like 10 times but still cross shit out because his pride got hurt. Tuck that pride in youngsters, the fact that you're so angry about getting your ass kicked that you keep crossing shit out is just more embarrassing to you. Miami used to have a serious graffiti scene comparable to almost anywhere in the world until kids started thinking snitching is cool, the whole game got fucked up and the careers of a lot of promising writers came to an end. If you are 15, you have no business dissing people who have been holding it down since you were wearing diapers, quit playing yourselves, nobody cares about you.

9) You've traveled up and down the East coast, painted a lot of places, what would you say are some of the strongest points of Miami Graffiti?

Miami kids paint a lot more than kids from most other places because our buff is faster and we constantly have to put in work if we want to be up in the city. Miami writers have good alphabets to look at and be influenced by, especially in the handstyle department. Miami has had a huge impact on the rest of the graffiti scene, some of the biggest writers in the game came from down here, or at least spent a good portion of their lives in Miami. Writers like SMASH74, DASH167, MQUE and KOOL, and it is from that foundation that the new generations need to work from, do not be fooled by imposters!

10) What do you think of the Graf Scene in South Florida and Where do you think its headed?

I have been removed from the South Florida scene for a while, so I don't really get to see the new names popping out on the streets, if the internet is any indication there will probably be more shitty graffiti down there, regardless, We are permanent. Shout out to all crews affiliated, Rest In Peace: ALOT17, DREX, BAMBOO, BEUX, STAE KBS, KLUE KC. Respect the Dead.