Why Stay High 149 Matters and You Don't – Mare 139 Remembers the Legend
“With the passing of Stay High 149 the culture has lost an icon and a Voice of the Ghetto in the truest meaning of the term. Since my arrival here in Berlin writers have been asking of his condition and expressing their concern about him, keep in mind this is a continent away and Stay High 149 is being regarded. That says a lot about his enduring legacy.
Tonite I give an artist talk at the gallery and no doubt there will be a moment of silence in his name and honor. May he rest in Peace and his name live on.”
*Mare 139 requested we re-post his previous blog entry about the legacy of Stay High 149
Why Stay High 149 Matters And You Don’t
I was at Bedford St. station in ‘Cleveland’…I mean Williamsburg Brooklyn and saw this obscurely placed Stay High 149 tag. I cracked a smile and something really young in me turned on, something that tossed me into another universe many years into my past as a kid. Stay High aka Voice of the Ghetto is a writer whose signature I consider ‘Platinum’, its stands in a class of its own, his history and measure is beyond reproach. Even if his style has not changed much or at all it still etched into the DNA of writing culture, of all of us, this is why it even matters to mention it.
As a kid I was always impressed by his unique 3 color Uni wide tags, his use of the ‘Saint’ character smoking a joint. The fact that he was still up by time I started writing in 1976!… consider that he was a first generation writer… that his top to bottom Stay High 149 on a Red Bird was a big part of our aesthetic evolution and folklore. His name and longevity has influenced generations of handstyle writers ever since.
Its June 5th 2010 and I spotted a Stay high 149 tag…big whoop you may say ‘he is up everywhere in NYC’…to that I say “that is why he matters and you dont”. Because he is an icon who spans across our history unaffected by the ‘cuteness’ or posturing of todays post graffiti/street art scene. He is more relevant than you and will always be.
This is beyond singing his praise, its an acknowledgement, its an honoring of cultural legacy, our inheritance and the value of a lone mans efforts. That his moniker both enduring and under appreciated is among the pioneering class that gave birth to a revolution which we practice and exploit.
That is why in my opinion no matter how many tags or throw ups you do, no matter how many burners or countries you cross or King as a writer you will not matter as he does, I knew this then I know it now.
I write this knowing for myself what it means to make such a statement because I include my own irrelevance in the shadow of his legacy.
Text: Mare 139