RIP Hip Hop Spray Can Art Pioneer Tracy 168 (Friends and Family Say this is a Hoax)

***UPDATE*** We been getting word from friends and family who are close to Michael Tracy that his death has not been confirmed and reports of his death are cruel hoax. Fellow graph writer Copes2 says Tracy is alive and well and has been on Facebook.. His family is not so sure and are still trying to confirm whats going on and his current whereabouts.. Hopefully he’s alive and well… That’ll be major good news..we’ll keep you posted…In the meantime we encourage folks to learn about Tracy 168..

Davey D 10-31-12

This morning I saw the FB status of  Grandmaster Caz alerting us that Hip Hop lost a pioneering legend.. Michael Tracy aka Tracy 168. For many in today’s world of Hip Hop, Tracy is not known. Within the world of spray can art, he’s iconic and was very much relevant after being on the scene for 4 decades. He’s one that was on the scene before there was a term called Hip Hop and even before folks were spinning records and rocking the mic..He was featured in the movie Style Wars

Tracy, a Bronx native is considered by many an architect of the Wildstyle technique. He was seen as an artist’s, artist who was recently profiled in fellow artist Justin Bua‘s book Hip Hop Legends. Tracy 168 will forever have a seat at the Hip Hop Table of Greats…. RIP Tracy 168

AeroSoul3 Healing the Hood from Khemet 2 Aztlan (Hip Hop Pioneers Return to the Bay)

Refa One

Bay Area legend Refa One is no joke when it comes to fighting for the people in our community. He is uncompromising in the face of white supremacy and oppression. He’s clear about holding himself and all of us in the community accountable when it comes to setting  fast and hard guidelines for the youth he works with to follow.

When there’s a problem in the hood, Refa is not one to sit around waiting for the Mayor, the NAACP or some other messianic leader to come along and solve it. He and the Northstar Zulu Nation chapter he rolls with are quick to step up and show and prove.They show love.. Demonstrate skillz and speak to the importance of connecting back to the essence of who we are as a people and what Hip Hop ultimately is..

“Youngstas on the block should not have to go downtown and leave the neighborhood to see artist put in work designed to address issues and bring about social change”.. Refa would often say. He notes its important that him and others stay rooted in the hood and be visible to the community when they do their work. Over the years its made a difference. Places where Refa and his crew have painted have been claimed by the community as respected spaces where folks can gather and be free of drama.

Last year he brought several dozen African-American graf pioneers from NY and all over the world for AeroSoul 2. their goal was to build and work on ways to take back our neighborhoods and redirect Hip Hop culture which they felt was hijacked and misdirected by corporate interests..Aerosoul 3 is set to jump off this week.. It has abigger goal of not only using art to touch the masses and help heal, but also to connect and build bridges to various Black and Brown communities all over.. Hence the name from Khemet to Aztlan..

We got a chance to sit down and talk w/ Refa as well a Docta, a well-known artist from Senegal. Here’s our convo which aired on Hard Knock Radio.. In this interview you hear incredible music from Bay Area legend Bas1. Later this week we’ll be speaking with some of the pioneering graf writers out of NY..

For more info go to website where you can watch the trailer

Below is information Refa posted about the historic gathering of AeroSoul 3

That’s right ‘chall… AeroSoul, the world’s most comprehensive body of work focusing on the African/Black experience in Spray Can Writing Culture is coming to San Francisco California this summer July 13th-15th.

The Exhibit will break historical ground at the prestigious African-American Art & Culture Complex in San Francisco’s Fillmore district. 2012 marks the 3rd year for this annual Pan-African Spray Can Art Festival.

AeroSoul 3, “From Khemet to Aztlan” will feature a body of work accentuating the African presence in art from Ancient Africa to the early African presence in the western hemisphere through the style lens of HipHop Calligraphy and iconography. This collection work and artifacts will represent some of the worlds most skilled muralist and illustrators in the African Diaspora.

AeroSoul3 will chart the historic evolution of Spray Can Writing Culture from it’s East Coast (New York City/Philadelphia) origins to it’s style successors world-wide through the narrative of the African experience. Artist from across the United States, Europe and West Africa will converge for this annual festival to celebrate the African Legacy in Spray Can Writing Culture as well as joining together to paint a Mural in the tradition of the HipHop genre. The Gallery exhibit will run a full 6 month period from July 2012-February 2013.

During the Opening weekend an Artist panel from around the globe as well as representatives from different dynastic periods will speak about the state of the art and their rich experience. This year AeroSoul 3 is proud present the Youth edition of the exhibit that will run congruently at the AAACC.

The Youth show will highlight the young and upcoming masters of the craft that have been engaged in programs provided by AeroSoul Art instructors. The AeroSoul line up is very impressive this year with a cast of writers from NewYorks 1970’s  & 80’s era, Riff170, Slave TF5, Butch2,Tean TMT, Kade TMT,Chain3,Skeme, Shame125, Sak MBT, and Soon1 to name a few. Mark your calendars folks, this historic event to promote the legacy of writing culture and end youth violence through art is not to be missed. For more info go and

HipHop Lives!

Today is Dream Day-Remembering Graf King Mike Dream

Dream DayFebruary 5th, 2010 at The New Parish, Oakland, California. Celebrating the life and legacy of Mike “Dream” Francisco.

Art exhibition by TDK crew + more

Music by DJs: Apollo, ShortKut, Sake One, Fuze, Myke One, Platurn, Namane, and Willie Maze. Live drums by Big G of the 808 Band!

Performances by Equipto, F.A.M.E. and The Bangers.

The Bay Area’s best DJs and Artists have assembled to pay tribute to life and legacy of Oakland’s beloved Graffiti King and Bay Area legend, Mike “DREAM” Francisco. Recognized worldwide as a style master, Dream’s graffiti established the visual aesthetic of Oakland’s Hip Hop culture, and put The Town on the map in what is now the fastest growing art movement in human history.

This event marks ten years since Dream was tragically murdered, and all proceeds from the event will benefit Akil Francisco, Dream’s only son, now 10 years old. The TDK crew is also proud to announce the forthcoming book on Dream’s art and life: “The Title of My Book Reads: Advanced Vandalism.”

All proceeds benefit the Dream Book Fund and the Dream Legacy Fund for his son Akil, 10, who recently lost his mother to breast cancer.

If you are unable to attend and want to support, please make checks out to The Dream Trust Fund, or Akil Francisco.

Art Show 6pm-9pm, All Ages, Free
Showtime 9pm-2am, $10 (dontations accepted) All Ages (with parent)

Here’s the original story of when Dream was taken from us…
RIP Dream…
One of Hip Hop’s best is Gone!
by – Billy Jam
2/22/00 9:39:57 AM
The Bay Area hip hop community was in mourning over the weekend with the tragic news of the murder of Mike “Dream” Francisco who was shot and killed on Thursday night, Feb. 17th, in a robbery in West Oakland. Dream was 30 years old and is survived by his family, his girlfriend Nikki and their infant child. Dream, a prominent and prolific graffiti artist since the late eighties, was best known for his association with the TDK [Those Damn Kids] graffiti crew and the Hobo Junction hip hop collective. (Note: a photo of a bombed Amtrak train by Dream graced the cover of Saafir’s 1994 album “Boxcar Sessions”). The ever prolific Dream had done literally thousands of pieces over the years from throw ups all around Oakland and the Bay to works on canvas or paper for such entities as the Invisibl Skratch Piklz, 11/5, Hip Hop Slam, KMEL and Dogday Records. In recent years he had earned a reputation as an equally talented tattoo artist operating out of East Oakland tattoo studio Built To Last with partner Done Carlo. “I’m just in shock. I can’t believe it,” said Done outside La Pena cultural center on Saturday night where a last minute benefit/tribute to Dream was held with such friends/performers as Naru, Company of Prophets and Boots from the Coup all paying their respects.

 “Dream was a very humble and charismatic writer,” said Refa 1; Dream’s close friend and graffiti partner with whom Dream had scheduled a new show at Oakland’s Asian Resource Center (310 8th Street @ Harrison) this week. “He put so much love and dedication into a form that many of us had taken for granted and he had taken it to new heights,” said Refa 1. “He excelled in that and he gave the world so many beautiful pieces coz he himself was a beautiful person. And he always loved the culture!” The one day art show, scheduled for Thurs 2/24 5PM to 8PM, will now become a memorial and its pieces, no doubt, will take on profound new meaning. “In the new exhibit there’s a piece dedicated to 2Pac and Plan B and now I’m gonna have to do a piece dedicated to him,” said Refa 1 shaking his head.

 Sunday (2/20) at the Future Primitive Sound Session at the Fillmore in San Francisco friend and fellow graffiti artist Doze titled his live onstage graffiti installment “DREAM” in his honor. “He wasn’t just a great artist. He was also a great person,” said Doze. Later that night onstage DJ Disk, another longtime friend of Dream’s, paid homage to the slain artist by stopping the music and leading the soldout crowd in a moment of silence. In fact all weekend, all over the Bay people, touched by Dream’s art and ever warm personality, were shocked as news of his sudden death reached them. Many pointed to the sad irony of how Dream always made mention in his art to Plan B who was also slain.

 Emcee/graffiti artist & fellow Hobo Junction member Plan B (real name Jesse Hall), who was murdered in 1992, was a close friend of Dream’s and often the topic of his art. The PBS documentary “Jesse’s Gone” from a few years ago about the death of Plan B, which features interviews with Dream, will rebroadcast on KQED San Francisco on Tuesday Feb 22nd. In an interview broadcast on Hip Hop Slam in 1993 from at the anti-police brutality art exhibit “No Justice No Peace” Dream noted that for many of the attendees at the downtown Oakland art gallery that this was their first exposure to graffiti as art and a dose of “reality” for them. “But to brothers like us reality is watching people die on the streets everyday, everyday,” he said. Billy Jam (2/21/00)

 (NOTE: for updates on Dream’s memorial service and other info related to the artist call the Hip Hop Slam offices at (510) 658-4293, ext 2 or e-mail