I first saw CRE Law 1 tags not in Philly, but in Wilmington, DE around West Center City. I remember at 14 years old I was walking to the sneaker store on S. Market St. and noticed these dust tags on every window with this upper case CR then a lowercase stylish E. I knew the tag I saw was not from Wilmington, but I couldn’t place the handstyle as a Philly print at first. I just remember thinking, “I’m a flip my style like that!” I continued to see the dust tags all over West Center City until one day they stopped. I didn’t learn until a couple years later that CRE LAW 1 was known by more people than a skinny 14 yo kid copping sneakers in town.
CRE is currently incarcerated in a state prison in Pennsylvania, a victim of the street lifestyle, he will be home one day but not soon. The following interview was conducted by V. Ercolono who is currently down as well. Enjoy.
*Disclaimer – This interview was typed in full at the request of V. Ercolono, so if you disagree with CRE, then be pissed at him.
Where you from?
Where you from?
I’m from North Philly. Lehigh Ave.
What year did you start bombing?
I started tagging in 1979.
Who did you roll with at that time?
I liked writing alone, but I am affiliated with a number of crews such as LAW 1, IMC, WCS, OMT and HMK.
What got you into graffiti?
I got into graffiti at a very young age. I always peeped the walls back in the early 70s before I wrote. Then I visited NYC in 76’ & 78’ when they was rocking whole cars! That’s when I got hooked. I idolized the Kings like Lee, Futura 2000, Zephyr, Stay High 149, Taki 183, Iz Da Wiz, Smith, Pink, Skeme, Stasher, Crash.
How do you feel about graffiti today as opposed to when you started?
Today I think the best is da legal shit because it doesn’t get buffed. Philadelphia is the worst for tagging because soon as you get up your shit is buffed the next day. But the legals are more artistic. Even though I tagged my love has always been for pieces. Characters, wildstyles and the new shit can’t really be done illegally. The back in the day shit was alost more fun because there were battles and everybody that had any heart wrote graffiti, but they had HANDS. Back in the day if you didn’t have a hand you got dissed or exed out Now niggas just write some shit all over and think they the shit. No Hand, No Originality, using other people’s names. It aint like back in the day. Niggas aint perfecting nothing but dick eatin’. It’s very few real graff heads out in Phila now. But I love those that are doing it to death.
How do you feel about the newer generation of writers?
Like I said it’s a bunch of dick riding going on. Ain’t too many out there catching wreck everywhere alone for the true love of the game. It’s no originality. I’m not talking about those that are which are a few simply because Phila is a buff city now. Ain’t nobody perfecting hands no more because there are very few writers out getting it in compared to back when there was no Anti-Graffiti. Most real mothafuckas are part timing on legals or hustling dope. To the me the graff game in Philly is over. Only legals last today.
Who was killing shit when you started?
When I started it was my club, Presidents hay day. Razz and Estro. But you had others I loved too. Niggas like, Rara, Karaz, Breeze, Tank, Case, MB, Zuco, Sonic, Donk, Sub, Emerge, Doze, Darn, Bixby, Brask, SA of the 48’s, Satan, SB, Cat, KRStar, Tan, PB and Omen. Aw man it was so many out there it was crazy. Shit it got to a point where there was hardly no room on walls and if you went over someone it was about your ass! But the 70’s and early 80’s was the best in the 215. The 80’s breed was rocking a lot of the new styles compared to the wickeds and broad ways. A couple of piecers came out like MB, Espo, Met, etc..
What writers of the newer generation do you feel put in work?
I like some of the new dudes like Jesc. He’s a beast. I like him because he focused on graff not being the shit. That’s how I came up. It wasn’t about getting props it was about getting up, period. That was it.
I like graffiti true to the heart mothafuckas like Planet Rock, Kadism, Tone, BE, Soner, Pero, Seyce, Drama, but I’m more on the pieces. I like a lot of the European shit like the FX Crew, NASA, any original piecers like Giant, Espo, Ces, Pose II. It’s a lot more, but I’ve been down a while.
How do you feel seeing dudes you bombed with 20 yrs ago still getting up to this day?
It’s very few dudes from 20 yrs ago that still get up and they only do it to shake the dust of their balls. Like Razz, RX, Disco Duck, California Mike, MB, but I love to see new shit from the dinosaurs. It doesn’t surprise me because I’m 43 and still don’t have any real plans to quit. I don’t hate on people that quit or fall off. My focus is on my love for graffiti. Real graff heads don’t really quit. I think they take long vacations to take care of their kids, homes, jobs, only to go back on tour like an old rap group.
I know you know JS (Jonski) and he was one of the pioneers that bombed in Philly in the 80’s. How do you feel that he switched to the other side and stared working for Anti-Graffiti?
When JS crossed over like a number of writers did, I couldn’t and don’t understand it. But for real I talked to Johnski on numerous occasions and he was on repentance stuff. “I did bad, now I’ve got to make it right” type shit. But I’ve seen new shit on the low like bus scratches. JS pen and marker tags on phone booths. For me, Fuck ANTI, I love graff way too much to be totally against it. I could see if they promoted legal graffiti walls but they don’t even want that. I’ve known them to buff legals which I’m too old school for that.
How do you feel about people going over each other?
Man going over someone shit is disrespectful, PERIOD. It don’t got to be my shit. I hate that. Especially today Philly walls are clean as hell and then for someone to go over another person? I’m old school, that’s a motherfucker fight for real. I think if you go over someone then make a whole wall piece. Something that person is going to see and be like, “Damn!” not no “Fuck You!” shit.
Do you plan on making a comeaback because when people think Cre, they think Cre8 ESC?
I’ll be on parole so I’ll do a little here and there shit like always, but I’m mostly focused on coming out with a piece crew like OMT. But more organic like TATs crew out of NY, that’s my dream to have a graff competition. I love it way too much to let it slip through my fingers without letting people know my full potential. I’ll always be the original CRE. That fucking clown writing that 8 shit is a follower. When he first came out I was going through some personal shit like drugs and hustling, boosting you know survival shit. I didn’t focus on him too much because he had to have other people write his name. Pussy can’t piece, wicked and he’ll die off like the other CRE. He don’t have 30 years in him. He ain’t true to the game. He saw one of his friends write and he didn’t want to be left out. How he got in ESC is beyond me? Oh I guess he got a mean hand game cause the pussy ain’t a writer. He broke one of the oaths when he wrote CRE which a lot of new dudes don’t know about. I’m going to refresh that motherfuckers memory soon as I meet him.
I just like to let people know that there are real graff heads and then there are dick riders that want to be real graff heads. This is how you know which ones you are… If it takes someone to take you out in the wee hours to catch wreck, you are a dick rider. Real graff heads have graff pumping through their veins 24/7. They perfect their hands. They live their name. It ain’t a fad. It ain’t a cool thing to us. It’s our life through and through. Graffiti is like my first love that molded me for the rest of them to come. It holds a permanent place in my heart.
To Razz, Jesc, Dan One, Pose II, Seyce, Cement, Krav, Fev, ICP, KIW, ESC, Espo, the whole LAW 1 Crew, Norman Bates, RIP Proper, UPS Crew, HMK Crew, Omac, RAF, the old I2I crew, Nope, FX Crew, TATs crew, NASA crew, Big Bad Abar, Kadism, TRK Crew, QM8, Warz, Quisp, BE, and anybody that’s really true to the game even if I don’t know you. I love you for your inspiration. We are a dying breed, but it won’t die by my hand.