By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
Last week, the Miami Herald ran an article warning that Hollywood cops are after a "bold graffiti master" who's been defacing the sleepy berg. City Commissioner Beam Furr implored associates of the highly skilled street muralist to roll over on their pal. "It looks like the same signature,'' he ruminated at a city commission meeting. "He's gotta be proud of his stuff and showing it off to others. Someone has to know who it is and hopefully turn him in.''
One hangup: A piece shown in an accompanying photo clearly reads, "MSG," or Miami Style Gods, one of South Florida's most well-known graffiti crews. Problem is, there's not one guy, but many of them. Riptide wanted to know what the boys thought. So we phoned up crew member Atomik, who of course didn't want to give his real name.
He's unsurprised that municipal honchos are clueless. "The majority of the people out there don't know the three-letter crew name from a four-letter tag name," he tells Riptide. "Especially not some square-ass politician."
That's not to say the oft-arrested bomber isn't always wary of police scrutiny. Getting locked up means taking a forced sabbatical. "It puts a dent in my plans," he allows. "Once you're caught, you're put on probation. You get caught again, you're going to jail for a while. So a lot of times, I've had to take breaks."
This wasn't the first time MSG has made news. In February, the crew's work was featured on the nightly news after it bombed a couple of overhanging street signs on I-95. And in 1999, two men faced serious prison sentences when they were accused of being the crew's founding members, Crook and Crome. Since graffiti is at its very essence self-promotion, vandals never despair to see their tags in finger-staining Helvetica. Atomik says of the latest article: "I thought it was pretty cool that they put us in the newspaper again."