Two things.

Used Kids is no longer on the OSU campus. Used Kids moving to Summit/Hudson is momentous because the record store was the last visible bastion of campus counter-culture. I feel bad for the students. Sometimes it seems like OSU doesn't like music.


The second was that I missed the Vic Mensa show at OSU. I saw Big Sean last year, and it was pretty amazing. He rocked with complete emcee dominance to 6,000 kids with the use of a band and deejay.

I guess it just depends where you stand.

Used Kids' relocation mostly seems inconvenient to people living in the dorms, given there are several venues and record stores off-campus. But since I don't live in the dorms, Used Kids moving doesn't really affect my life. They're moving to the area where Rhumba and Wild Goose are, so I feel like new experiences will occur.

However, I was reading Human Instamatic about Chino-Asian artist Martin Wong whose exhibit at the Wex opens May 13th. Wong was a key figure in the Lower East Side. We often read about when people discuss pre-Giuliani gentrification NYC. Things like porn theaters, pioneering graffiti and DIY art spaces. Wong had this apartment that people of all counter-cultures hung out at. He was friends with Charlie Ahearn who directed Wild Style.

In a video interview that can be found on You-Tube called “Arts in the City: Filmmaker Charlie Ahearn.” Mr. Ahearn discusses how graffiti pioneers Sharp and Daze would visit Lee Quioness who were living with Wong (Lee Quinones played Zoro in Wild Style). Ahearn said of Wong's influence on these graffiti pioneers, “They were talking about art. How to paint. And what does style mean... This was kind of an art school mentorship, Isn't it?”  

Wong purchased work from pioneering graffiti writers to create a collection that was eventually donated to the Museum of the City of New York. Wong was not a graffiti writer. His work reflects the interests in the language of counter-culture, his heritage, and his sexuality. Sometimes it had graffiti in it. More often it has sign language.

Kendrick Lamar's line “Speaking language only we know, you think is an accent” on his song, “the Art of Peer Pressure” comes to mind.

To pay my last respects to the campus location, I went to Used Kids to see Messrs on Record Store Day, and Sunday's “The Turntable List” event at Used Kids. I wasn't super lost in nostalgia, don't get me wrong. I thought about the first time I went to Used Kids when it was downstairs, and finding amazement they had used tapes for the albums you read about in your magazines. One would run into graffiti writers, and exchange daps and sketchbooks in the hallway.

My dude Jek had a tag on the sign which lasted for well-over a decade or more. I always took pride in that.

We used to look at the new rap 12 inches and full-lengths that were dropping on the net. Then we would go to a corporate chain store, shoplift boxsets and sell them for store credit. We didn't have much dialogue with the Rock N Roll dudes. However, once it was established we weren't going to steal from them, people's homes or cars then we could just leave the plastic rap on the boosted items.

Later this employee named Kyle, who we called Used Kids Kyle, would show me the new records they had. At first you assume the Rock N Roll dudes are gonna try to show you trip-hop or something like that. Then you realize dudes have good taste, and they're being cool to you because they assume you must be as well. Or you realize the guy who rang you out was in your rap magazine (Ron House).

I found out the Rock N Roll dudes could tell you how distribution works and the history of distros (Cheater Slicks).

I went to a zillion in-stores. I bought dollar records. I bought new records. I drank a billion free beers. I picked up zines like Cometbus. I remember when Tuesdays were pretty much a day which began with buying records and looking at the posters for the next month's shows.

I did silly things like asking Thirston Howl of Soundbombing 2 fame to sign a Judas Priest record after fellow Lo-Life member PRZM jokingly introduced me as the gay rapper or telling Ian Svenonius he dresses better than me.

The campus area services 100,000 students, and maybe 750 townies in a given year who all have stories. My feeling is someday there will be museum piece on the pre-gentrification days of campus. Used Kids will be featured and still have its doors open.

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