If a picture is worth a 1000 words then Jamel Shabazz packs 10,000 words in over 100 pictures that expose NYCâ€™s distinct street styles. Back In The Days captures the five NYC boroughs from 1980 â€“ 1989 and it is the first of a series of two photography books by Shabazz, who is to hip-hop photography what Jeff Chang is to hip-hop journalism.
Lee jeans, Puma Clydes, Lacoste polos and Cazal glasses provide the 1980â€™s aesthetic that Shabazz carefully documents by adjusting F-stops and shutter speeds before the Fuji 400-ISO film seizes the dawn of hip-hop culture. The introduction by Fab 5 Freddy delicately explains Shabazzâ€™s contribution to hip-hop and how the ambition to be cool not only shapes hip-hop culture, but also mitigates the inequities of poverty.
Back In The Days is a refreshing dose of visual imagery that boasts cultural transparency by using neighbourhood people, stories and places.