STAYHIGH 149 & RICH MEDINA - "Colab" painting

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STAYHIGH149 & RICH MEDINA "Collaboration"   Acrylic on Canvas. Measures 12"x 16", from 2009.

Wayne Roberts was born in Virginia in 1950, his family migrated to Harlem in 1958 and the Bronx ten years later. By 1969 the New York
City graffiti movement had begun and Wayne took an immediate interest in it; he preferred writers with a message or slogans like Pray,
Worship God and Free Huey. His friends on the grand concourse began calling him STAYHIGH because of his penchant for smoking weed, he liked the nickname and in 1971 he added the number 149
to it to become STAYHIGH 149. In 1972 he completed the signature by adapting the stick figure from " The Saint " TV show, he gave it a joint to smoke and unified it with his tag. It was far and away the most stylized signature of it's time.
STAYHIGH hit the streets and trains with his ornate signature for two straight years, he was considered by many to be an all - city king. He
became so famous that his face appeared in "New York" magazine in 1973, without the anonymity he was quickly arrested while writing in Brooklyn and he knew he had to give up his name. He floundered for a while until one day, on the way to work, he came up with his second name: VOICE OF THE GHETTO. At a time when writers were using smaller names Wayne Roberts chose to go big, the name VOICE OF THE GHETTO could soon be found on many of the IRT train lines in a very unique style - he would write the name with a three toned magic marker that was two inches thick called a uni – wide. By the end of 1975 he had retired from graffiti, he would soon disappear from the graffiti community altogether with rumors touting his untimely demise.
In the summer of 2000 there was a small graffiti show in Brooklyn that
attracted hundreds of writers, after a twenty five year absence Wayne
Roberts re-emerged. That night, in a two hour period, he signed over 400 autographs and finally slipped out a back door from sheer exhaustion. The New York Times covered the story in it's metro section the next day. Soon, STAYHIGH began to adapt his talents to 
canvas selling to private collectors all over the world. As a graffiti icon he's done work for companies as diverse as Reebok, Ecko Unlimited and Zoo York.

Rich Medina cemented his name in the DJ world with his infamous 90's partnership with Cosmo Baker at The Remedy in Philadelphia. In 1998, his Fun party with DJ Language was part of turning the Lower East Side of Manhattan into the new hot spot for club life. Then came the mother lode, Lil' Ricky's Rib Shack, a weekly dance function that started out as a 20-person party at APT in 2001, and evolved into an irreplaceable mid-week NYC institution for over 8 years. There, he connected with fan and hip-hop legend Q-Tip in 2005, eventually combining forces to create the Friday night weekly called Open at the Andrew W.K.-owned Santos Party House in 2007, and was soon considered the hottest Friday night party in NYC for the next 2 years.

Rich introduced a new generation of people to Afrobeat music in 2001, with Jump N' Funk, the first and most consistent US dance party dedicated to the late African musical icon, Fela Anikulapo Kuti. Rich and the Jump N' Funk brand recently traveled to San Francisco, LA, and Atlanta headlining Knitting Factory Records' Felabrations!, a nationwide series of events promoting the re-release of The Fela Kuti EMI Catalog.

No less revered is Rich's Happy Feet party—where he and another pioneer of the turntables, Nuyorican DJ Bobbito Garcia have traded off dance, salsa, and soul music at clubs all around the world. Next of his branded events in line would be Props, the continuation of Li'l Ricky's since the closing of APT in March of 2010. In 2008, he also co-founded What The Funke, a James Brown/Fela Kuti tribute party with DJ Spinna.

In addition to his own events, Rich has performed in front of crowds of thousands, DJing shows with artists like Lauryn Hill, De La Soul, Erykah Badu, Seun Kuti, Tony Allen, Nathan Haines, Roy Ayers, Gil Scott-Heron, The Roots, Jill Scott, Antibalas, Zap Mama, and Femi Kuti, among many others.   From NYC to LA to London to Tokyo, and everywhere in between, music lovers know not to miss a club night when Rich Medina is manning the decks.

In the summer of 2010, Rich was selected to be one of seven DJ's to compete on the first ever reality DJ competition, "Smirnoff's Master of the Mix", airing on BET and Centric starting November, 2010.  Never one to rest on his laurels, Rich is gearing up for the biggest year yet in 2011!

 

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