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Shirt King Phade talks Graffiti, Streetwear and Owning your Intellectual Property



Shirt King Phade


What’s up good people welcome to the New York Said podcast.

Today’s episode is very, very special to me. Today’s guest on the show is Phade of the Mighty Shirt Kings.

If you’ve a been a long time listener of the show then you’ve heard me speak about Phade and the Mighty Shirt Kings about a dozen or so times in previous episodes.

Shirt King Phade

Before I even knew I was a creative or before I was into art like that, I was into the the work of Phade. I remember really taking to the Shirt Kings when I was in High School. I wasn’t a collector because I really didn’t have it like that but whenever I saw their work, I stopped and really took it in.

Other than seeing Phade’s work on celebrities like Audio Two, Biz Markie and Bell Biv DeVoe, they used to have a booth down in the Jamaica Colosseum Mall. The Jamaica Colosseum Mall was the name of the building but me or anybody I knew never called it that. We just called it The Colosseum for short. To me, it was the heart of the Ave. It’s still there but to be honest, it ain’t what it used to be. The vibe, the mystique and the tension of that place is long gone.

Shirt King Phade

The energy I remember about The Colosseum is that it could go down at any moment. I’ve seen quite a few fights in there, I was there for the small Rodney King riot and heard all of the tales about what could happen to you if you went to the bathrooms or the parking lot rooftop.

What really set the tone for your visit to The Colosseum was the two or three security guards that stood inside once you got past the super heavy brass and glass doors. If you had a hat or a hood on they would yell at you with the utmost authority to take it off. They sounded like that corrections officer on Biggie’s first album that yelled “C74, Smalls!” But they would look directly at you and yell, “Hats off!” or “Yo take that hood off !” After while you just knew to do it. The security at The Colosseum was notorious but that’s different story all together.

Yeah, it was kinda nuts in there for a few years, I’m talking 1992-1999. I don’t remember anything after that because I was out of town.

In it’s heyday, The Colosseum was the best place to get sneakers (honestly it still is), it used to be the place to get the best mixtapes (honestly there is still a mixtape spot, I hit it up every time I’m in town), and of course if you had it like that, you’d go to the Mighty Shirt Kings booth to get a customized airbrushed t-shirt, denim jacket/jeans or one of them all black snapback hats with your name or crew on it. Those black hats were clean with just white airbrushed paint and usually accented with rhinestones.

Shirt King Phade

I couldn’t afford all that. I was a super broke kid from the hood but what I could afford was a picture in front of a Shirt Kings airbrushed backdrop. If I’m not mistaken they charged like five bucks for a Polaroid picture.

Redman - Shirt King Phade

These backdrops were the precursor to all of the street art murals you’re now seeing around the world. I’m not saying there weren’t street art murals back then but SEEN or Keith Haring wasn’t coming to South Jamaica Queens to paint big walls and they weren’t doing characters the way Phade was doing characters. The backdrops were pretty big. They were alway super colorful, full of characters from the cartoons I loved like Bugs Bunny and Bart Simpson but the characters where decked out in truck jewelry that resembled something I’d see on a Rakim or Slick Rick album cover. This resonated with me deeply.

I always wanted Shirt Kings denim jacket but I never got one. I’ve never told anyone this but I remember asking a creative kid from my block to make me a denim jacket like the Shirt Kings. He said he’d do it for $25 and I was like, “Bet!” Well, he made it and it took months but when I finally got it, it sucked. It didn’t have that “je ne sais quoi” that came with the hand painted work of the Shirt Kings. Plus he did the jacket in acrylic paint and not airbrush so the back of the jacket was heavy like an actual painted canvas. It was quite disappointing to say the least. I’m sure that kid is somewhere killing it right now, I wish I could remember his name.

Shirt King Phade

If I really think about it, my love for street art and art in general probably came from visiting the Shirt Kings down in the Colosseum. They may or may not have known it but it was like an art gallery down there. You know what, forget that, it was an art gallery. It was the first and only art gallery at the The Colosseum to my knowledge. The Shirt Kings gallery just so happened to be blasting the latest hip-hop, with a few arcade games and had a wall of pictures of all the MCs and actors who had stopped by in the past.

So yeah, to tell you that I was happy to kick it with Phade for a few hours in an understatement. It was like talking to a big brother from the block or an OG that didn’t mind pulling my coat to the key to longevity.

In this episode we talk about how Phade got his name, not selling out, his hundred year plan, Larry Love, the impact of Jam Master Jay and legacy.

This conversation was recorded in the Marcus Garvey Park out in Harlem.


Show Notes

We would love to hear your thoughts on the episode. Leave a comment on the Apple Podcast app and don’t forget to rate the show.

This episode is sponsored by Timothy Roquemore.

Keepers of the Culture

Reflecting and Unpacking Memories with Helixx C. Armageddon



Helixx C. Armageddon
Photography by Bob Krasner



Helixx C. Armageddon is a Performance Artist, Lyricist, Experimental Music Producer, Mother, NYC resident, 1/5 of the Anomolies and a Philosopher.

Visit: The House of Helixx

Special thanks to Gene Frankel Theatre: Intimate, storied rental space for performances & rehearsals, established in 1949.

Show Notes

We would love to hear your thoughts on the episode. Leave a comment on the Apple Podcast App and don’t forget to rate the show.

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Keepers of the Culture

On the Phone with Pulitzer Prize-Winning Art Critic Jerry Saltz



Portrait of Jerry Saltz by Celeste Sloman.
Portrait of Jerry Saltz by Celeste Sloman



The long awaited book “How To Be An Artist” by Jerry Saltz is here. Based off of his early Vulture essay by the same name, he wrote the work as a note to his younger self.

In this week’s episode Jerry Saltz, Senior Art Critic for New York Magazine talks with Amon Focus about being radically vulnerable, the importance of deadlines, the Pulitzer Prize and how to look at art. There are a few surprises in this interview but we don’t want to give it all away in the intro.

Just a heads up, during this conversation you may hear a little bit of phone static from time to time, it’s only for a few seconds, it’s nothing crazy, I just wanted to give you a heads up so you’re not wondering what the heck is that sound.

Listen & Enjoy!


Keep up to Date with Jerry Saltz

@JerrySaltz – Twitter

@JerrySaltz – Instagram

How to Be An Artist by Jerry Saltz

Want to Buy “How to Be An Artist” by Jerry Saltz?


New York 's art critic Jerry Saltz and his forthcoming book, How To Be An Artist (Riverhead Books, 2020).

New York ‘s art critic Jerry Saltz and his forthcoming book, How To Be An Artist (Riverhead Books, 2020).


“How to be an Artist” is a note to my younger self.


Show Notes


Importance of Deadlines

  1. I know they are bad
  2. Make a deadline
  3. Never break a deadline


Biggest Lessons thus Far:

  1. Be nice
  2. Energy-Bring it!
  3. Make an enemy of envy
  4. Don’t let rejection define you
  5. You have to listen to get the final lesson…(We can’t tell you everything)


New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz as Salvador Dalí, based on a photograph by Philippe Halsman. Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow for New York Magazine.

New York Magazine art critic Jerry Saltz as Salvador Dalí, based on a photograph by Philippe Halsman. Photo-Illustration: Joe Darrow for New York Magazine.


Jerry Saltz Quotables


“…fear is the admission price to the house of creativity, to the house of art.”

“I have no choice but to get on with it.”

“Things only happen when you work.”

“Roberta is the greatest art critic alive.”

“I throw out about 99% of what I do”

“I’ve got to get back to the art world, I’m in agony.”

“I had to go through hell in the trucks to come out somehow perfect, pure, and ready for the stars.”

“I want people to know the me I think I am”

“We are mildly insane.”

“Art – the greatest abstract operating system(s) ever devised by our species.”

“Not all communication is accessible to all people”

“All art is subjective”

“No right way, no wrong way to look at art.”

“Don’t be intimidated by art”

“Deadlines come from Hell via Heaven.”

“You can learn enough from bad art as good.”

We would love to hear your thoughts on the episode. Leave a comment on the Apple Podcast App and don’t forget to rate the show.

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Keepers of the Culture

Celebrating the Legacy of Ralph McDaniels and Video Music Box



Uncle VJ Ralph McDaniels

In this episode we Celebrate the Legacy of Ralph McDaniels and Video Music Box. With over 35 years in the industry, Ralph sits down and shares his story with us.

Show Notes

  1. South Jamaica, Queens
  2. A South Side Kid
  3. Queens Jazz Musicians 
  4. Crack Era
  5. Chemical Warfare 
  6. War on Drugs
  7. Stop and Frisk
  8. Queens Central Library 
  9. A Cipher in Queens
  10. Sherwin Banfield
  11. Club Encore Mix
  12. Eddie Murphy 
  13. Disco Records
  14. Soul Music 
  15. Blue Ice Night Club
  16. Video Music Box
  17. Baisley Park
  18. 1990 Redman and Biz Markie Springfield Freestyle 
  19. Stretch and Bobbito
  20. Grandmast Vic
  21. Doggtime
  22. DJ Dirty Harry
  23. Lionel ‘Vid Kid’ Martin
  24. Mister Cheeks
  25. Mobb Deep
  26. WuTang – Ice cream 
  27. Shirt King Phade
  28. Jay Z
  29. Kool Red Alert 
  30. Dapper Dan
  31. LL Cool J
  32. Colosseum Mall
  33. FUBU
  34. Daymond John
  35. Karl Kani
  36. Cross Colours
  37. April Walker
  38. Diddy
  39. Hype Williams 
  40. Irv Gotti 
  41. Queens Village
  42. Mic Geronimo – Shit’s Real (It’s Real)
  43. Cash Money Click 
  44. Ja Rule 
  45. Self Destruction 
  46. KRS One Stop the Violence   
  47. Nassau Coliseum
  48. Nelson George
  49. D-Nice
  50. Overcoming Self Destruction – Docuementary
  51. MC Lyte
  52. Big Daddy Kane 
  53. Daddy-O
  54. Drake
  55. Chance the Rapper
  56. Uncle Murder
  57. Just-Ice 
  58. Wu-Tang Clan – C.R.E.A.M.
  59. Heavy D
  60. Salt-N-Pepa – Get Up Everybody
  61. Lil Wayne 
  62. “Don’t Get in the Way of you Getting the Interview”
  63. Ice-T
  64. Flip Da Script 
  65. Superstar Jay
  66. Funkmaster Flex
  67. Sway in the Morning
  68. Ebro Hot97
  69. DJ Clark Kent
  70. Chris Brown
  71. Cardi B
  72. ICP
  73. Vikki Tobak 
  74. Contact High
  75. Danny Hastings 
  76. It Ain’t Hard to Tell
  77. Nas EPK



  1. Q-Tip
  2. Belly
  3. Biggie
  4. Tribe Called Quest
  5. Leather Medallion 90s 
  6. Paid in Full
  7. Willie Burger
  8. Cappadonna 
  9. RZA
  10. Adobe After Effects
  11. Chyron 
  12. Grassvalley Wipe
  13. Tats Cru 106 and Park Ave
  14. Socrates Park 
  15. Fred “Bugsy” Buggs
  16. Imhotep Gary Byrd
  17. Hank Spann
  18. Disco fever
  19. Russel Simmons
  20. Davy DMX – One For The Treble (Originals B-Boy Dedication Video)
  21. Fat Boys
  22. Krush Groove
  23. Sheila E.
  24. Naughty by Nature 
  25. Juice (Film)
  26. Beat Street
  27. Breakin’ (Film) 
  28. 2Pac
  29. Ernest R. Dickerson
  30. Spike Lee
  31. Queen Latifah
  32. The Bomb Squad (Producers)
  33. Something for the Radio – Biz Markie
  34. Motown Philly
  35. Who Got the Props – Black Moon
  36. Tha Alkaholiks – Only When I’m Drunk 
  37. Loud Records 
  38. Gin and Juice 
  39. Yo MTV Raps
  40. Luke Ft. 2 Live Crew – I Wanna Rock
  41. New York Hot Track (Video Show)
  42. Who Is Gil Scott-Heron?
  43. Winter in America 
  44. S.O.B.’s
  45. Blue Note
  46. Crazy Sam

We would love to hear your thoughts on the episode. Leave a comment on the Apple Podcast App and don’t forget to rate the show.

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