Graffiti & the Black Book – The Video

Posted on October 12, 2017


When we did “Open Black Book” the first thing that got to me was the production aspect of the record.

The record was produced by Spanish producer, Aukan. The record had that different type of production that caught my ear.

We shot the video at Under Pressure 2013 in Montreal. It was the last video I was to shoot before leaving to the Gulf. I was really focused on capturing Regimental Oneton’s process when making his piece.

The concept of the Black Book was salient to me because Oneton himself doesnt use a Black Book. I grew up having multiple Black Books as well as tens of books of rhymes. A lot of ink was shed within both. “Black Book” was intent to look into the concept of the “blueprint” or the “draft”.

My verse on the record was poised to send a message to certain writers and painters who beefed with us, since 2013, Oneton and Brosky have silenced the mass. We always want to show love to those we love and we also want to make certain points clear when it comes to the music we put out as a duo.

The reality is that we often hear people say that bombing is the purist’s root of graffiti. Others will counter argue and say that tagging is the root of graffiti. Others say painting trains is and always will be the heart of graffiti, and others will say that it ain’t graffiti unless it’s illegal.

But I have a different take. I say…

Graffiti Blackbooks Are The Root of Graffiti

At first it might sound a little crazy, but the more I thought about it growing up in my teen years, the realer the statement got.

All true graffiti artists share an interest for lettering. When a graffiti writer is first starting out, he or she does so by the tag. The tag can start as experimental, as it did in my case, I was tagging “3ilm” which was code for wisdom derived from the Arabic word “Ilm”.

The truth is that, it’s experimental and hobby-like in its infantile stages. The newbee is testing the waters to see how this craft compliments him or her. Is this newly adopted tag going to stand? Will the crew support it?

After a few drafts, you graduate to the Blackbook.

Graffiti has its own specific language, protocols and terms, with hundreds of words and phrases used to describe different graffiti fonts, styles and aspects. The Blackbook is the foundation of where the writer hones his or her skills. Like an emcee going through countless notebooks with scribblings, the graffer also goes through many blackbooks. These blackbooks are swapped and shared between writers and crews to show who they’ve been in contact with and who’s visited where. On my end, I swapped a few blackbooks of mine, unfortunately one got lost over time…

Over time, a graffiti artists’ blackbooks become miniature time capsules. These blackbooks eventually capture the ups and downs, trials and errors, the improvements, failures, and often become a source of inspiration for an artist looking back at where they’ve come from.

mickey boston - blackbook



Regimental Oneton breaks out the spraycans and Mickey Boston breaks the black book open. The 36 Tentacle duo return after their 5pointz tribute video “The Krylon” which featured cameos by Meres One, COPE2, Ella Grave, DJ Overflow and artist Mireille Champagne. “Open Black Book” is directed by Regimental Oneton who is also seen rocking out his live piece at Montreal’s Under Pressure Graffiti Convention.

The concept of the black book is rather simplistic. Whack writers should simply put the black book down in like manner that whack emcees out to put the cliche book of rhymes down. There is no hiding the fact that urban street art has come a very long way since “Julio 204” started tagging his name on NYC trains. Like the trains, the art has continued to move in rapid transit format by means of making stops in every major city worldwide only to suddenly gain allure of making full stops within suburbs as well.

From tagging came a more sophisticated artistic medium via the spraycan’s ominpotent presence gripped within the artist’s palm. What was once a moment of “vandalism” became a meticulous craft that was no longer “hit and run.” Jumping a fence or looking over one’s shoulder was still present however, aesthetic desire to create something more than just a tag on a wall was deemed necessary for the artist for he/she was preoccupied with making and producing an oeuvre that would have time, meditation and colour invested in it.

Undeniably like the MC with a mic in his/her palm, the tagger and artist is a writer. The MC writes his verses and bars in a book rhymes while his subculture contemporary writes and lays out his sketches, notes and writings in his/her sketchbook. The pen and pencil is the foundational tool concerning the genesis of what is penmanship, authorship and artistry. Making poetry with the spraycan renders the artist as a “pure author” who is thus omnipresent within a work while yet simultaneously playing as a ghostly figure–an entity who makes himself heard whilst remaining silent.

Regimental Oneton and Mickey Boston drop their distinct verses on Spanish producer Aukan’s joint. The video features the artistic process of Regimental Oneton’s art in live manifestation as Die Antwoord is featured alongside Ghostface, Bill Murray, Clint Eastwood, Yolandi and a few others for viewers to note.

With poignant cover-art that is personally handcrafted by the aerosol can handling of Oneton himself, the pair of unlikely emcees who came together on new productions is crafted as a hiphop that eventually harkens back to the very rap that hiphop fiends from the late 90s initially fell in love with. With their multisyllabic rhymes, relatable topics and grimy soundbeds of mutant, insect, pornographic and tentacle allusions, the emcees bring together the very hiphop that is able to cover ground on very serious themes of the likes of politics, inequality, poverty, drug-addiction and quotidian struggle. As a veteran emcee-activist, Mickey Boston has yet to release his solo album despite having marked a notable presence on all six tracks of his hiphop group’s, Journeymen, debut EP entitled Pledge of the Respirator which was entirely produced by Journeymen emcee/producer, John Wholetrain.

mickey boston and regimental oneton - graffiti