Legends Amongst Us: KING 157 X 12ozProphet
A giant amongst giants. A King of Kings, steward of the land somewhere out there on the West Coast. KING 157 is one of the most legendary graffiti writers to have ever laid paint to a freight. If you bench you have undoubtably come across this man’s work, his style is unmistakeable, and his out put ferocious. A product of a generation since past, KING still lives and operates under those laws. Pay your dues, Respect the game and most importantly, don’t snitch. Most people only dream of the fame KING has achieved, here he is to tell you how he snatched it.
1.What was your first train experience like in the beginning?
the first writer to introduce me to the rolling thunder metal giants is and was PICASO TWS crew. He was from San Jo Califas like me. It was a very cold night in winter in 1989… to me the unknown. As we space out the auto car carrier train, I was blasting the silver for my fills and told Picas, “fuck these holly rollers,” due to the lil perforated holes in the panel pieces of the train that the paint goes through. Form that action I coined that name for that type of train. The Auto Rack trailer train tri-level were now called the holly rollers. I went on to blast my name MR. KING. I came up short, so I quickly thought bout it, and added the letters STER. Now have the car was divided up. And I made my whole right sided lace up. MRKINGSTER157. So my very first piece was a e2e with the baddest vato in the game at that time. Silver fill ins and a phantom, cali thin outline in cherry red Krylon. When krylon was king, r.i.p. Also that east side yard-layup doesn’t exist any more. Long gone, r.i.p. McLaughlin ave yard. I painted over 1 piece there and got chased a lot. Top 5 chases of all time was in that yard. Lots of great times in there.
2. At what point in your career did you feel that you put a mark on this culture?
I really don’t think about that. I’m too busy trying to stay alive, hustling for money and food, and too busy producing classic funk. I have a lot of old skool sayings, one liners like, “I paint were it ain’t.”
3. If you had to pick one moment in your train history what would it be?
The very first piece, and my last. My last was the best. Nothing can ever replace it. The piece/ moment, the mission. It was like a dream. I cant really talk bout it. I plead the 5th.
4. Who would you say has been a big influence on you?
The guy, hands down, that I bit the bboys out of and taught me in the beginning was my mentor, my teacher, MIX182 aka Mickey T. he was the baddest cat in the 6th grade. He was a head of his time, I was just try to run with it. Always trying to take it to the next level. But in the beginning in 1984 Mix 182 was my hero. He was from san jo too. Around 85-86 it was the Oakland king DREAM1 TDK (r.i.p.), CRAYONE, PICASSO and RAEVYN TWS crew. San Jose was ALLADIN IOD crew and NEXUS from the TUF crew. Last but not lease was, and is, DUG ONE from the tmf crew out of D.C. -San Francisco, California. He was a true king in 84 -85. All these guys I jus mentioned can battle a crew by them self. They put in major work. They raised the bar. They in some way molded me. Their styles and action are in my brain. Their pieces are cemented in my brain. These were the style master inovators. Pushing the envelope all the time. Thank you to the bay area
5. What does the Bay Area mean to you?
Its home for me. Your actually paying for the weather out here. Car cruising , drive inns, bbq’s, night clubs, house parties etc. It’s a dope diverse mix of every culture and all walks of life. Most important please re read #4. Google there name. do your homework on these individuals. You didn’t paint next to these real king. They burn everybody. And they’re cool as fuck.
6. What is one way you prepare yourself before you go out and do a train?
From 1989-1999, my MVP year, I would train. Jump rope, sit up, jump rope etc. stretch out. It was like warming up a old school car, or going into battle. Have your mind and body as one. Lace up my running shoes, then later the steel toe black boots. Shorts under my sweats. My lucky train shirts under my good lucky black hoodies. After 100 missions I would retire it. Oops my bad that one was a dream. Beanie, ski mask, doufle bag. Most important – the mask, you should be wearing it too. Water Gatorade, sandwiches, munchies. Gloves of all kinds, for the hands and the other one for the one eyed snake. Always be prepared. caps, sketches paint labeled. toilet paper jus in case. Change for the payphone, at the time, now have battery charged for the phone and for the camera. Have an alibi. Have every one on the same page. Same story. Scope out the situation, like yard parking etc. Have a plan and stick to it. I run this check list all the time.
Y’all stop littering and clean up after yourself. Stop tagging at all the entrances. Stop leaving a trail. Fuckers
7. Besides from painting a train what else are you dedicated to?
I used to coach my daughter’s soccer, softball and basketball teams for about ten years. I also enjoyed cruising (my other passion) my cutlass and ’64 Impala. I used to train and loved to run. I was also traveling for a while. Now I hustle my art canvases and work on my old love, my ’62 Impala. What ever I do I try to go full blast and put my heart in soul in it. In it to win holmes. Been working on children’s books lately too. It’s just in the mix.
8. How do you see all that you’ve done up to this point coming together?
It was a long ass journey. I drew for half my life and painted as well. When I draw for a client or for a book or a design nowadays I just have to play my old school music. Oldies, funk, classic rock, classic hip hop break beats, meditate for like a few minute, then bang the magic light comes on. It’s my brain computer. All the trial and error, all them foundations of sketching pays off. And boom instant high. And the the beauty of sketching and producing art for me has been that. And I love when a plan comes together… it’s a beautiful thing when a drawing comes together, comes to life. To see my art animated, to see it on pottery, cups, molding, to be on shirts, canvases, shoes clothes, even my very own paint, the brothers need to ship me a pallet of paint. The guys from Mexico, LEVEL9, made my own line of paint All the Colors. Now that’s a dream come true. Well half way. Once I get it to america and give one to my mama, Desirae and Jr. and fam. To show them my dedication and hard work pays off in some kind of way. Then it will be a dream come true.
9. Is there any plans or any type of project that you have in mind coming up?
Yes, I’m always working on art to make money, but I really want to make a dvd, a lil documentary, last but not least a book. I am working a 2 more children’s books as we speak, wishful thinking is a book world tour. Brazil before I die. The power of manifest. Say it and it will come to light. As I’m typing the interview just got a book for an art show and a painting for an art collector in Seattle, and got paid for another interview this afternoon as I write. Thank you jesus for making this life of mine in the mix, and let me me be to produce my graffit. Hip hop don’t stop, train art is alive still
10.What role do crews play for you in your life?
They are a extended family. For the most part I spend more time with them then some of my family members. Like cousin and nieces, some even know more about me then my fam bam. In the old days it was all about crews. You had one. Now the times are different, but never the less value is still the essence of a crew. Some are like another of my old old saying, I don’t give this out too much, he’s my brother from another mother, meaning really tight bond. They watch your back and build you up. They want to see u shine as well as for them. It’s a brotherhood.
11. What piece of advice would you give the younger generation coming up?
Don’t be a rat. Keep your big mouth shut. Don’t leave a trail of your actions. For example, telling every body and their momma on social media and tagging the location of the lay ups on your phone. Etc… and stop crying when a real writer goes over your whack shit. For the record, throw up goes over a tag, piece goes over a throw up, a burner goes over a piece, do I need to go on. Hell yes, a KING157 whole cars goes over all that whack shit. Stop crying and paint. And then keep painting more. Sooner or later you will get better. Practice on some ridges, some waffles, some junk trains. Keep the flats open for me and my boys. We trip to do end to end whole cars. Not p.o.s. lil pieces of shit. Do your homework. Give props to the old school that pave the ways, and where all you bite your shit from. Respect the old school writers, notice I said writers.
12. What is your one dream scenario to do a train?
brother I have already done it, hands down it was better then any dream scenario. STB, simply the best. I plea the 5th. Can’t talk bout it.
I want to thank you again for taking the time for allowing me to interview you is there any last shout out, anything that you want to say before we end this interview?
Yes sir. Yes to the man up stair jesus for saving me. My #1 mama Sallyson, thank you and I love you with all my heart. Thanks for picking me up when I was getting chased from the boys in blue, there was like a handful of times you picked me and the boys up. Dads, sisters, bro, Raquel, Sarah, Laura, Dre, AJ, cousins, nieces, nephews, family, my healthy children, my tía Sandra (rascal), and the martinez compound for letting me have a spot to produce and create. Pastor Gil and the people who pray for me like sister Rosemary and sister Virginia, MIX 182 my teacher, PICASSO for introducing to my metal love affair, SKEW and KEPTOE. LEVEL9 For making my dreams come true. My love Dezi Desi so nice, I named her twice. Lil v, my big, smart, handsome, strong, tall son who reminds me of me when I was young and fast. When I could run like the wind. Jamie (Bazooka Films77). To all the homies I met along the way like brenda r, lil kim, Rochelle Galvez. Gabriela Muneca, Lisa Pisa, Summer the stencil master, Carmen who supported me in my movement and believed in me and my mission to paint all the trains. Remember the monster, she had my back. She let me paint were it ain’t and never questioned where I was at, when I was painting ’til the am. Another old saying from me and ZEN1. Rock on – ’til the break of dawn. If it wasn’t for Carmen I couldn’t have done the shit I did. For that, I will always love you… ROC1 from Burque, wild style, style wars. Subway art book & all of the New York subway pioneers, and dj’s, break dancers, emcees , bboys & bgirls. Babydoll Cholas, who I’m still a sucker for… Oldies, DJ Grandmaster Flash, for the break in wild style and taking me out to Mardi Gras. Run DMC sucker mc’s thank you all in some way or fashion y’all inspire me. Oakland Terminal Art Gallery. Last but not lease my grandmother Sara. (G-ma) r.i.p. who loved my graffiti art, she would love the train art I would do for her, my xmas cards, v-day ,b-daycards etc. she was proud of me and the work I would do on the freeways. She was my rock just like my mom is now. They both always been down for me. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my thoughts and story with you all – The life in times of the KOLDKILLAKOOLKING157.