Razz was a guy with a really colorful teenage life that after years of running in the streets could see it wasn’t a place for living, so he went to college, got the education he needed to go into business and stay in business his entire adult life. I didn’t know much about his family, but I know he was an older brother to hundreds, maybe thousands of wall writers in Philadelphia over the last 30 years. If you wanted an autograph or some validation for the graffiti you were writing, Razz would give it to you, but he’d also teach by example that real success takes showing up for work everyday. It’s remarkable that he grew up and went to work, and the fact that I thought it was remarkable testifies to the peril of being a king in a field of endeavor with no way to transfer that status to normal life. A lot of writers would call themselves king, then sit on a throne and produce nothing but shit. When he referred to himself as “Lord Imperial Razz” It was meant as half man and half mantra. Razz never got stuck on just being a king, he accepted the responsibility of the crown to be better, and so he was better, every day of his too short 47 years here.
The photos were taken by his friend and conspirator Mr. Blint, and the two of them together really sum up the best of Philadelphia, on a level of cool beyond all known boundaries.