Across 135th Street

Contact High

60 minsFirst aired 20 Nov 2018
Danny Hastings

Chairman Mao welcomes author Vikki Tobak and legendary lensmen Joe Conzo and Danny Hastings to discuss hip-hop’s history in photos.

With her superb book Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop, author Vikki Tobak shares the behind the scenes stories of some of the music’s most iconic images. The book presents contact sheets from a plethora of legendary photographers — within these invaluable visual diaries are never-publicly-seen outtakes alongside classic shots, providing a fascinating window into the creative processes of these artisans of emulsion and light. On the latest episode of Across 135th Street, host Chairman Jefferson Mao is joined by Tobak and two of Contact High’s most esteemed contributors: Joe Conzo, the photojournalist who began chronicling the dawn of hip-hop culture while still a Bronx teenager, and Danny Hastings, the lensman whose images of Wu-Tang Clan, Gang Starr, Nas, Big Punisher and others have been immortalized on classic album covers. Amongst the anecdotes discussed by this triumvirate: Original pioneers the Cold Crush Brothers’ first gig at storied BX nightspot the T-Connection, how Nas nearly died during the I Am album shoot and why the Wu wore masks on the cover of 36 Chambers.


Produced by Matthew Ismael Ruiz
Engineered by Mike Bloom

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