Legendary New York City photographer Joe Conzo captured the origins of Hip Hop culture way before it became the global phenomenon it is today.
To commemorate the culture’s 48th birthday earlier this month, Conzo has curated a series with 1XRUN called The Elements, a special collection of rare photographs, graffiti, artwork and ephemera that embodies the culture of Hip Hop and its roots.
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According to a press release, the project features 60+ exclusive editions by 20 artists in an effort to “shine a light on the culture’s rich history by publishing the perspectives of the few who experienced Hip Hop when it was still a small grassroots movement.”
Grandmaster Caz, Thirstin Howl III, Fever Records founder Sal Abbatiello, graffiti legends Tats Cru, urban documentarians Martha Cooper and Henry Chalfant are among the figures who contributed to the collection, lending it its ironclad authenticity.
“When I was asked about curating a Drop for the 48th anniversary of Hip Hop by Jesse Cory and The 1xrun.com family, I was excited and scared!” Conzo tells HipHopDX. Excited at the possibilities of working with some dope artists and scared of curating because I just hate to curate, shit I don’t like curating my own shows.
“But all that faded away when so many artists said yes to be a part of this drop and to showcase their work on a fabulous platform as 1xrun.com, which was the driving force for the re-release expanded version of my book Born In The Bronx this year.”
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Conzo adds, “The drop on 1xrun.com gave me a chance to work again with some of the pioneers of Hip Hop like Grandmaster Caz, Sal Abbatiello, The Tats Cru, Martha Cooper, Henry Chalfant and Danny Hastings, to name a few. I also got to work with seasoned Bronx photographers such as David Gonzalez and Ricky Flores.
“It also gave us a chance to showcase some artist from around the world like KIA from Italy and work with up-and-coming artists such as Kelly Golden and Fernando Leon. Shout to all the artist that took time out to pay homage to a culture called Hip Hop that has shaped our world in one form or another.”
A former EMT for the New York City Fire Department, Conzo was one of the first responders to arrive on the scene as both towers of the World Trade Center collapsed on September 11, 2001 following the infamous terrorist attacks. Eighteen years later, he was diagnosed with liver and pancreatic cancer. Conzo revealed he finished his twelfth and final round of chemo in September 2019.
Legendary b-boy Crazy Legs and pioneering dancer Popin Pete were among the many showing their support for Conzo by repping his “F*ck Cancer” t-shirt. Conzo is currently in remission. To find more information on The Elements, head here.