An element of the Hip Hop culture misinterpreted and misrepresented by the mainstream media, and most especially hated by affluent (usually white) businessmen who don't understand the roots or meaning of the writing on the walls.
Contrary to popular belief, Graff is NOT any of the following: writing on houses of worship, people's houses in general, other writer's names, or tombstones. The aforementioned need not be identified with bus, train, subway and wall burners. That's REAL graffiti, the visual aspect of Hip Hop
accompanied by the physical (breakdance), verbal (emceeing), and rhythmic (turntablism).
Since Graffiti is an element in Hip Hop
just as important as DJing, MCing and Breaking, any assault on Graffiti (i.e., calling it "vandalism", "not art", etc.) should be viewed as an assault on Hip Hop
From the beginning, the powers that be have sought afte the destruction of our culture, from transit authorities chasing after writers, to housing police harassing people at block parties, to lawsuits being filed against DJs for sampling
("copyrighted" material). Now it may seem like everything is okay since Rap
has hit the mainstream, but the major corporations threaten its existence every day. Remember the last Rap video you saw on TV. Did you see any tags, any DJs working the wheels of steel, any B-Boys tearing up the floor, any MCs really rocking the party? Or was it just images of scantily clad females, guys flashing their "bling", and "gangstas" shooting their guns off? Chances are it was the latter, the money-making gimmick that corporations such as MTV make money off of today.
These very same corporations, usually headed by conservative individuals who "care" about their buildings, are the organisations which lobby for tighter anti-graffiti laws. So it may seem that "Hip Hop" is all well with mainstream America, but they're actually destroying us from within, in more than one way.