Endangered Species – Terror 161's Profile on Billy 167
In time for the Memorial Day weekend Terror 161 wrote about heroes of graffiti’s past, particularly profiling Billy 167. Below are his words and photos:
As I’ve watched so many of my contemporaries and predecessors pass and more starting to fail, the first thing that comes to mind is my own mortality. Iz the Wiz, Kase 2, Sin UA , SANE, Dondi, Stim, Solid, MR. ICE GND and so many more. Some were my boys (most of them younger than me) . Some I had beef with and some I just admired from a distance. With the passage of time, I now realize we NYC subway writers are akin to World War 2 vets – a dying breed, taking the last memories of a defunct culture to the grave with us. I am thinking of Stay High 149 in his hospital bed at this time. His tag IMHO (in my humble opinion) remains the greatest signature in our proud history and his saint its most enduring icon. I am glad I got to befriend him after his re-emergence and envious that I never got to bomb insides with him in ‘74.
I am also reminded of the man Riff 170 refers to as the “baddest white writer ever” – BILLY 167.
BILLY IN HIS PRIME
BILLY 167 was a humble cat from the Morris Park section of the Bronx, who fought a losing battle with drugs. By the time I met him in 1980 , he was a shell of himself and had quit writing. Somehow he managed to get a job as an electrician with the MTA around ‘82. He worked in the 1 yard and would give me and AMMO the word if the yard was hot or not. I got him to do a piece with me in ‘82 on the 2’s , but he was no longer the Billy of old. Didn’t matter to me. He had nothing to prove . He was not a character guy , just a strict letter genius. One of COMET’s partners before he linked up with Blade. SEEN, REPEL, SLAVE TF5 and DON 1 MAFIA have all benefitted from his stylistic legacy.
MY PIECEBOOK 1982
His life was way too short, but his star shone brighter than almost anyone’s. I miss him.