UK Hip Hop: Artists & Discographies
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Cries of T2O [Doncaster]
Cries T2O
For all that don't know please introduce yourself and let the readers know a bit about your crew T.2.O., i.e. what do the initials in your crew name stand for and what are the areas you paint?

I'm Cries from the 'Tend 2 Offend' Crew and I've been writing on and off since about 1988

As individuals what do you write? What are your tags?

There's me, Kero, Flow C, Amee, Goph, and Blame.

What does Cries mean? Are you a sad character?

Ha! Yeah I s'pose I am. Na I chose the name because I saw my bombs as 'Cries' from a distressed and unpredictable kid.

How old are you?

I'm just turning 30. But I feel about 13 when I'm painting.

What was it that got you into graffiti and when do you think it was that you would have started drawing on paper, maybe keeping a pad?

I saw Beat Street and Style Wars in the mid 80s and that was it. I was a breaker and a beatbox straight away. I started to scribble other writers tags in bubble lettering on paper but I didn't intend on actually trying anything for real. I thought it was a bit Hollywood ya know? I didn't think it would blow up over here.

What was it that got you onto the next level and actually throwing up on walls etc?

When Crews started Writing in my town. SAS crew was everywhere and I thought f*** it, I'm gonna have a go. I robbed a tin of my step Dads car paint and started tagging and chucking little faces everywhere.

When and where was your first piece? What was the feeling you got after putting it up? Was it what you expected?

My first was under a motorway bridge in 88. It was a Character and some lettering. It was a bit crap because the wall was like a sponge but I loved it.

So, by now you must have done a few pieces. Which one was your favourite piece? Where was it and when would it have been done?

My fave was a actually a dub on a trackside in Doncaster in around 1991. It was so dangerous to actually get to the wall without being hit by a train or falling 40 ft to my death that when Id done it I cherished the bomb 4 eva.

What has been your craziest or worst writing experience?

I was painting my local skate park a few months ago LEGALLY and this copper came belting over to me holding on to his hat. I saw him from about 200 yards away but just stood there waiting for him. He saw me standing and watching him but he still ran. He grabbed my arm making me drop my paint and pulled out his cuffs. " What are u doing son?" he said gasping for air. "I'm painting the ramp" I replied calmly with an 'Are u real?' sort of expression on my smug face. I explained that I had permission from the council, gave my name and address, pointed to where I live and offered to take him there so he could phone my contacts to get me in the clear but still he insisted that I was a 'fucking vandal' He felt a right arse when a councillor came over and told him who I was and why I was there. Mint.

Are there any other crews or artists in your area who you know or whose tags you see all over?

There's a writer that Id like to meet called Coke. He's up all over , there's loads of taggers hittin the town but none that really stand out and go as mad as us.
I understand that you have a bit of beef with Crie in Wakefield and Cryse in Birmingham. What is that all about - set the record straight…
Well its not really beef cos I haven't heard from either of them but it's the writers from their towns that give me shit about the fact that we've got similar names. I heard about Cryse last year and I've only just found out about Crie. Its just one of them things. I've got loads of respect for their work but it's a bit of a bummer that people get us mixed up. I've started Writing Cries T2O all the time now instead of just Cries.

So you have been doing this for 15 years or so now, can you break down, for a bit of perspective, how graffiti filtered into UK culture? I mean who would have been the first people to bring it over from the US, or developing native artforms that already existed, maybe stemming from Punk etc.? Maybe much of the early roots had been laid by the time you came on the scene?

Graff was just popping its head up around my sides when I first started . I think punk had a lot to do with it. Hip Hop is rebellious and it gave punks a different way to express themselves without having to put up with the same style of music.

OK, for a while there, as the popularity of Hip Hop grew in the UK, so did graf. Can you tell us a bit about some of the big names who got over? I can think of the Artful Dodger and some people may not know, but Goldie started as a graffiti artist didn't he?

KRS ONE is a writer and Fat Joe. Task Force are in the process of getting big and they're writers too.

Do you remember the Weetabix advert with the graffiti? When was that? It was amazing to me that at one point the whole thing was so accepted and embraced by the mainstream. Can you think of any other high profile things like that?

Yeah. Motormouth had Mode 2 (I think) painting and talking about graff. Motormouth was a Saturday Morning kids show in the 80s. Did you know that the Weetabix ad was represented by a different piece to start with but it was considered 'too dark and menacing'.

How would you describe your style, is there anyone you have based it on?

I don't really have a set style. I try to do something different every time. Except my dubs and chucks, I change the style of my dubs every few months or so.
What do you make of the whole stickering phenomenon? Do you think it is just another way of getting over, or do you think it is a bit of a cop out?
Its just as relevant as tagging but it'll never feel the same as bombing a piece that smacks people in the face on their way to work. That's one of the best parts of graff. Knowing that somebody is saying "That wasn't there yesterday! How did they do that without me seeing them?"

Why do you think that Graffiti artists are so demonised in the media? OK, you have to admit what you are doing constitutes criminal damage, but often times you are brightening things up and you aren't hurting anyone.

People like to hate people. Graffiti has no face so its easy to despise. Nobody likes big concrete walls and anybody would complain if they had a hotel window staring at bricks but as soon as we decorate one people are up in arms. It gives the wall a reason. They're happy talking about the wall now that they've got somebody to hate.

Similar to the stickering, what do you think of Etching? Is this connected to graffiti in your eyes, or does it give more conventional spraycan artists a bad name?

It's a part of graff but not a part of Hip Hop. Slapping your name somewhere is graffiti but stylising it and making it something to look at and admire is Hip Hop. Writers will never have a good name so we live with it .

Did you hear about Enzo having to go on the run after there was a major campaign about him in London?



What do you think of the zero tolerance policy many councils are now having on graffiti, will this make your lives more difficult?

Its never easy. It just means we've got to try harder to stay in the shadows and be a little more elusive.

I ask everyone about politics, because I think it is important that we have knowledge of what is going on. Do you have anything to say on that? Any issues you think people need to open their eyes too?

I get head ache thinking about politics. I leave that to the politicians . I vote and go painting.

Overall then, do you have an opinion on whether the graffiti scene is getting better or worse? And why?

I think its getting better. Some of the styles out there are just like the first styles in New York. Its good that these young kids that are starting out are not biting and are developing styles of their own. I feel that its gone full circle and I look forward to seeing how it will develop further. There aren't a lot of us oldskoolers bombing anymore so its up to the new generation.

Would you consider doing legal pieces and getting paid for your work? Sometimes artists who do this are frowned upon by the underground artists…

Yes I would but I wouldn't stop bombing.

Are there more opportunities for legal work these days, or have those days gone and in fact the council provided walls are coming down?

Its hard to find legal walls. They'll take them down but they'll have to put them back up when the illegal stuff is out of control again.

How do you feel about the connection to Hip Hop and Graffiti? Is Graffiti an element of Hip Hop, or like so many graf artists do you think that Hip Hop over the years has largely ignored graffiti and therefore disown the connection?

It's a big part of Hip Hop for me. I live all the elements (except B-boying cos I not bend anymore) and I don't think I would have started painting if it wasn't connected to the music. If it started as a part of the Rock culture I wouldn't have been attracted to it at all. It was the clothes and the music that brought it to me.

How do feel about the graffiti on the web? Do you have your own website?

I do have a website but it's a bit crap cos I'm not too clever with all this computer biz. I think its great that you can look at artists work on the net knowing that you'd probably never see it in 3D.

What do you think about the graf in other countries? Sometimes it seems like it is a much bigger thing and is more accepted in foreign lands…

I love Graff. I don't care where it is. Some countries cultures are so up the US arse that they accept anything to do with America. "America is cool like on the movies".

Where do you get your paint? Do you keep it real and rob that as well, or do you buy it?

Internet , local car spares shop and boot sales. I don't steal it anymore cos I have a bit more money than when I was young.

Do you have a favourite brand or colour? Belton seems to be popular, but then maybe there is a cheap Halfords can that'll do the same job?

No its wank. Its ok for filling bits n bobs but I'd steer clear. Hycote is nice paint but the price is stupid. I'm a Belton man and Piggy pink is the phattest colour in the world. Some new paints don't have the rattle when they are shaken.


How does that work, and is it a good thing if you are trying to not get noticed?

It must be the paint. Its just got better. I don't know why it doesn't need the balls but its nice to tag the police station with, Under their open windows.

Back in the day there as all the talk of 'fat caps' and trying to get hold of them. What was that all about, and is it still a problem today? Do writers have a collection of caps?

I got Fats, Ultra Fats , Super skinnies, skinnies, softies, nozzles, mixers…..I think most writers today have a collection of caps. A dub takes seconds rather than minutes with fats, and skinnies reduce the flow so u can be more accurate with detail. You can get caps from any graffiti supplies stockist.

Do you have any tips or techniques you want to pass on, like how to get even coverage, or avoid drips?

Its all about experience . If I drip I catch it by blowing the drip upward before it runs long. It dries quicker when I do this. But its not often u get drips with modern paint.

How can people learn to do this? Are there any instructional books or websites?

Its just a thing writers pass on. Like how to mix 2 tins of paint together or tipping your can upside down to get a skinnier line, you don't read up on it , you just hear about it from others.

What books would you recommend if any for people wanting to check out the art and the history. I used to have those books by Henry Chalfont - Spraycan Art and Subway art, they were pretty important when they came out.

Yeah. It's the Henry Chalfont books that inspired me. I don't read as much as I should but I reckon those two books are the ones that every writer should have.

What other advice might you have for struggling graf artists in the UK? Perhaps you know how to avoid certain cameras, or know of areas where it is simply never safe to paint?

Just wear your respirators and keep yer hood up. If you're a Doncaster local then go to Hexthorpe and go to the Car Van rental place near the lines. You can get to the freights and some older carriages down there. Nice to get your practice on.

Have you planned out your next piece, and if so what is it going to be?

I'm meeting up with some young ladz round my sides to show em how to dub. They've been making a right mess so I thought Id give em some tips on paint & painting.

What is going to be keeping you busy over the next few months?

New addition to the family. She's hard work. I'm going to be teaching one of my girls to paint. She's 5 and she loves my stuff so I'm getting some boards and helping her out.

What are your longer-term plans and objectives for you as an artist?

I want to teach local kids to paint. There isn't much of a scene so I'm trying to keep it alive.


Do you see your work in the future moving into other artforms, maybe films, animation, calligraphy, or cartoons etc?

No . I'm going to stick with graff. I love my art as it is and I'm quite happy to spray till I die.

Which writers and/or artists most inspire you?

Die hard bombers like Mist One and Des from Sheffield. Mist was brave coming out with that new simple style but it paid off. He was a wildstyle writer and then that….Mad as fuck.

Outside graffiti what other artforms give you inspiration? Are there any more conventional artists you like?

Obviously Vaughn and Mark Bode are a big inspiration .I like Cartoon artists. Any.

What do you dislike about the graf scene?

The fucking lining out. If a geezerz pissing u off beat him with style not by fucking up a piece of art. Its as bad as buffing.

What are the things that you like to do when you aren't doodling or tagging? Do you like sports or the Cinema for example?

I'm a DONNY ROVERS fan!!!! And I produce hip hop trax with some m8s of mine , You can find some of my trax on at my site

Any shout outs?

All Doncaster writers KEEP IT ALIVE. Respect to Cryse and Crie . No beef from my end.

Is there anything else you would like to add or mention?

No you've grilled me well.

Thank you very much for your time.

Contact Cries: [email protected] ::
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2000 & Beyond
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