Farouq Samnani's Back In The Days Project
Farouq Samnani's Back In The Days Project


My first introduction to hip hop came about, as a young kid, watching my older cousin and his crew pop and lock for the very first time. I was intrigued, and became even more fascinated with this art form after he gave me a VHS tape, and a vinyl soundtrack for the 1984 film "Breakin'". The track "Tour De France", by Kraftwerk, was the first break-beat sound I had ever heard. The breakdance sequence and visuals to this song was my first impression of hip hop and street aesthetics.

The photo-book "Back In The Days", by Jamel Shabazz, brings back that same feeling of intrigue and excitment that I felt back then. His photography and documentation of this once unknowing and underground culture, is the basis and inspiration for this illustration and project.

Note: There were many MC's and DJ's who I didn't include in the final artwork simply because I ran out of space.


In the 80's, Brooklyn was synonymous for hip hop culture. Its streets became an urban catwalk for the people and faces who gave birth to the hip hop style, from Cazal glasses and bamboo earings, at least two pairs, to the Kangol wool hats, and oversized boomboxes. The one thing that particularly stood out for me, were the kicks, the Nike Blazers and retro Jordan's, the Adidas Supertars, and Gazelles.

Legendary group Run DMC, became most notable for wearing their Adidas Superstars with no laces and the tongue pushed out, imitating how felons wore their kicks inside a prison. This endorsement paved the way for the sneaker culture, and has influenced the success of today's shoe industry. The concept of the artwork is based on three elements of the hip hop culture: sneakerology, the architects of the music, and graffiti art.

Farouq Samnani's Back In The Days Project


"Back In The Days" Artwork

Art Print / Original Black & White (31"x 23")

Farouq Samnani's Back In The Days Project

Art Print / Colour Remix (31"x 23")

Farouq Samnani's Back In The Days Project


A year ago I shared with my friend Theo Kim the creative for the "Back In the Days Project". I remember specifically telling him about an idea I had and a vision of how I wanted this to go down. Fast forward a year later, this project is now something I can keep as a reminder of a very important time in my life. I'm grateful to TK and his team at TGK Films for capturing that memory on film and I'm very fortunate to be given the opportunity to share this with you all. Bless!


Farouq Samnani's Back In The Days Project