“In 1981, photographer Sophie Bramly moved from France to New York and for two years documented the Big Apple’s burgeoning hip-hop scene, taking pictures of graffiti artists, breakdancers and rappers such as the Beastie Boys and Run-DMC.” –The Guardian
“This wonderfully hefty photography title documents the early years of hip hop”. –Record Culture
“During the early 80s, on Saturday nights at the Roxy in downtown Manhattan and at the Bronx River Center, acts like Run-D.M.C., Afrika Bambaataa and Fab 5 Freddy created a totally new scene in New York. French photojournalist Sophie Bramly moved to New York in 1981, when she was just 21, and began photographing it all – when no one else was paying attention”. –I-D
This book features many stunning and intimate images of a star-studded roll call of legendary hip-hop figures, many of whom were just relatively known at the time, and while all in their ascendency – including Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmixer DST, Jazzy Jay, Red Alert, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Kurtis Blow, Lisa Lee, the Fat Boys, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys & many more.
In the early 1980s, hip-hop was becoming a fully-formed cultural force rather than just a musical fashion and this book documents all four essential elements of this new world of Hip-Hop: the emcees, the deejays, the graffiti artists and the breakdancers. Here you will see legendary graffiti artists captured at work and play (such as Keith Haring, Dondi, Futura, Phase One, Zephyr, Lady Pink), and breakdancers including members of Magnificent Force, Dynamic Breakers, and the Rock Steady Crew.
Sophie Bramly lived in New York in the early 1980s and became firmly embedded in the emergent scene. The book features many stunning, intimate images of a star-studded roll call of legendary hip hop figures, all of whom were only just getting known or in their ascendency.
These include Kool Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmixer DST, Jazzy Jay, Red Alert, Grandmaster Melle Mel, Kurtis Blow, Lisa Lee, the Fat Boys, Run-DMC, Beastie Boys and many more.
Bramly knew that hip hop was becoming a cultural force rather than just a musical fashion, and spent many hours photographing the four essential elements of this new world: the emcees, the deejays, the graffiti artists and the break dancers.
So aside from the many stars of hip-hop you will also see legendary graffiti artists captured at work and play, such as Keith Haring, Dondi, Futura, Phase One, Zephyr and Lady Pink, as well as breakdancers including members of Magnificent Force, Dynamic Breakers and the Rock Steady Crew.
In 1984, Bramly returned to France where she became deeply involved in bringing Hip-Hop to Europe, continuing to photograph and document this culture. In 1987 Bramly presented and hosted Yo! MTV Raps, the first-ever hip-hop show on the channel.
“All these photos speak for a time that is so special, is never coming back and changed the world. It’s pretty much this experience that changed everything for ever. What makes it amazing, is that you hear stories about superheroes that changed the world, and that was us.” – Grand Mixer D. St
“One of the curious facts about hip-hop’s history is how little photographic documentation exists of the culture’s early years. Come the dawn of the Eighties, a handful of talented photographers finally began to pay attention, most notably Henry Chalfant, Martha Cooper, and Joe Conzo. In retrospect, it’s clear that each of them focused on a particular element or two of the multiform explosion of creativity that came to be called hip-hop. Henry zeroed in on graffiti. Martha devoted herself to graffiti and breakdancing. And the heart of Joe’s work documents the career of the Cold Crush Brothers. Uniquely Sophie Bramly, unlike the others, managed between 1982 and 1984 to put her arms around all four of the hip-hop elements: the emcees, deejays, graffiti artists, and breakdancers.” – Bill Adler
Published February 2022 by Soul Jazz Records
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