“Rap is something you do, hip-hop is something you live.” KRS-One
A lifelong Staten Islander and hip-hop junkie, Charlie Balducci founded the NYC Arts Cypher, a government funded non-profit organization, five years ago. The Cypher incorporates all elements of hip-hop to provide potentially rebellious kids and interested adults with a forum, not just for recreational expression, but to explore possible career paths of their dreams.
The Cypher Center at 12 Broad St. holds various b-boy events for rappers, DJs and break-dancers, but its graffiti smothered interior completes the cultural hip-hop aura and makes it seem like the set for a 2009 version of Wild Style.
Charlie brought in a local graffiti legend, Gano Grillz – the vandal-turned-actor who redesigned the “W” for Wu-Tang Clan‘s logo in the early 90s – to give art lessons for the Cypher’s M.U.R.A.L. program.
Here’s Charlie talking about some of the work at the spot: