My head is spinning with this news so I really don't know what to say, but I feel the need t share a few spontaneous thoughts.
KASE 2 was by far one of the most amazing people I have ever met. In a childhood accident he lost an arm and a leg. Despite that fact he became one of the most accomplished, respected and feared individuals in the artistically competitive and physically demanding world of graffiti.
Back in the days graffiti writers gathered at the 149th Street writers' bench to socialize. KASE was the type of guy who could pack the bench or clear it. As one of the movement's most innovative and influential style masters, young writers would flock to him in admiration, but he was also a very intimidating figure, known for his fighting ability and street hardened ways. As they say on the street "He had cats shook." so writers might also scatter upon his arrival.
My fondest memories of his work are the outstanding whole cars he produced with his partner BUTCH 2 on the 2 and 5 lines back in the mid 1970s. They really set the bar high for how style and concept cars should be done. Those joints truly got me lifted!!
During the course of writing Graffiti New York I interviewed one of New York's best-known graffiti cops, Detective Kevin Hickey and he shared memories about writers who made a memorable impression on him.
Hickey recalled receiving a call from another cop who shared a story about chasing a one armed youth who left him in the dust in a foot chase. Hickey laughed at him and said” I’m sorry to hear you couldn't keep up with this kid, but I'm also sorry to tell you that not only did he have just one arm, he also had just one leg." For me that summed it all up---KASE was extraordinary.
Much like Muhammad Ali, KASE was a boastful and charismatic showman and much like Muhammad Ali, he had unquestionable ability to back up every word. He ranks among greats such as PHASE, RIFF, NOC, BILLY, PART, CHAIN and DONDI.
He was the King of what? THE KING of STYLE!!!
I extend my condolences to his family, The TFP Family and his extended family of artists across the globe who mourn his loss.