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Back in the Days Hardcover – October 1, 2001

4.6 out of 5 stars 23 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Shabazz's photographs celebrate the "cool" style of early hip-hop culture between 1980 and 1989. Though his work is firmly rooted in the tradition of urban street photography, Shabazz here shows his subjects striking a pose and staring straight into the camera. The resulting images become less documentary and more yearbook-like in style. At first viewing, the clothes and posturing seem almost ridiculous, until we remember the excesses of the 1980s. By comparing the styles and attitudes of this bygone era to contemporary hip-hop culture, Ernie Paniccioli's essay places Shabazz's photos within a historical and social context. He points out that like all fresh and honest trends, the hip-hop style has become sadly commodified and more concerned with status than substance. But in the early era presented here, the focus was never style for style's sake it was about rebellion and survival. Shabazz, who has published his photos in the Source, Vibe, and other magazines, documents his "passion for photography and his love for his people" while raising important issues of racial justice and equality. Free self-expression is communicated through hair, clothing, shoes, jewelry, and, most importantly, posturing. An important examination of urban and youth culture through colorful photographs, this is recommended for all public and academic libraries. Shauna Frischkorn, Millersville Univ., PA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

About the Author

Jamel Shabazz is the author of Back in the Days (powerHouse Books, 2001) and The Last Sunday in June (powerHouse Books, 2003). His photographs have appeared in publications including The Source, Vibe, TRACE, Flaunt, Mass Appeal, Jalouse, Black Book, OneWorld, and Honey. Shabazz’s work has been exhibited at the Brooklyn Museum of Art and the Kravets/Wehby Gallery, New York; by Kangol at the Dazed & Confused Gallery, London; by adidas and Lodown at adidas Originals, Berlin; and in Trace’s True Signs, Paris. His debut book, Back in the Days, has received astounding critical acclaim and commercial success since its initial release in January 2001. Shabazz was born in Brooklyn and lives in Long Island, New York.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 128 pages
  • Publisher: powerHouse Books (December 15, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1576871061
  • ISBN-13: 978-1576871065
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #82,689 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Just when you thought you escaped Bell-Kangols, Sheepskins and the Koch administration, along comes "Back In The Days". Photograhper Jamel Shabazz's vibrant tome is fresher than two-tone British Walkers with the LEE suit to match! More like your man's childhood photo album, B.T.D. is a melting pot of style, attitude and a throw-back to the glory days of 80's Hip Hop fashion. Looking at these pages brought back fond memories of Kurtis Blow and B-boys, Jordache n' Jettas, subway graffiti and shopping on Delancey. Jamel does a great job of capturing the youth of New York in one of the most stylish and important decades in Hip Hop history. It would've been dope though to include actual info (i.e., date, location and names of subjects and/or crews) on each page, but the omissions only help to arouse curiosity. Funny enough, the irony in the era(s) being covered in this book is: no matter what the socioeconomic conditions of the times were, (i.e., drugs, poverty, crime, Reganomics etc.) kids in NY always found a way to look good! Back In The Days is a great book and an excellent reference to a period in Hip Hop history when the word "fresh" wasn't just a catchphrase, but a way of life. --James "Koe" Rodriguez
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By A Customer on June 18, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you used to sit in front of the TV, after school, watching "YO MTV Raps" and "Rap City", then this book is for you. Just like how Moms and Dads can reminisce about the 60's & 70's, we can finally look back and remember the days when the only debt we had was a pager bill. Bamboo earings, asymmetric hair cuts, converse shoes and "TIGHT" jeans were in style. I usually don't spend over [price] on one book (I'm not that much of a reader) but I HAD to get this one. Definitely, a must have for those rainy days, or when you just want to sit back and "chill".
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Format: Hardcover
this book show a true gifted photographer,who has capture picture's from real life experience.I have also seen his work in several national magazines and also at the Brooklyn museum of art.He is truly another Gordon Parks.One never stops lookng back in the past at the fashion and styles of yesterday.
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Format: Hardcover
yo who said you can use my picture. BOOGIE DOWN BRONX IN THE HOUSE, HIP HOP DON'T STOP. I'M SORRY, THESE PICTURES ARE MAKING ME GO BACK IN TIME!!!!!!
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Format: Hardcover
This book took me way back. This book is a photo album for me. It displayed people I grew up with. It caught the innonce within us. It was really nice to see all my friends, though some passed away. The book shows growing up in NY and the fashion trends at the time. This book is a must have if you grew in in Brooklyn!
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Format: Hardcover
My first reaction to this collection of photos by Jamal Shabazz from the 1980s was excited expectation that they would capture the vitality of New York City street life in that era, the way the great photo documentarians of the past did in previous ones. Like Arthur Leipzig’s work in the 1940s and 50s, Joel Meyerwitz’s in the 60s, and Arlene Gottfried’s in the 70s, I thought Shabazz would record all the vigor, grit and joy of New York City. Perhaps even the unbounded sexual energy and pathos of Larry Clark’s “42nd Street Series” of Times Square before the days of “Sex and the City,” Brooklyn hipsters and Mayor Giuliani might even be there. A second, deeper take proved me very much mistaken.

Mr. Shabazz’s photography is utterly pedestrian. There is the backdrop of pre-gentrified New York in his pictures, but that is about all of interest there. Beyond that, his subjects strike the same remarkably unremarkable and virtually interchangeable poses as they mug the camera for his shots. Most are clearly delighted to be the center of attention in these exercises. This is not in itself unique in the New York street photography. But contract the feigned dramatic stances that appear again and again in Mr. Shabazz’s pictures with the youths diving off embankments into the City’s rivers in Arthur Leipzig’s series of “East River Divers” from the 1940s. They, too, are delighted to have the photographer’s attention; but they are actually living the life they live in those photos, not mugging the camera.

Mr. Shabazz’s photos here are noteworthy in one respect despite, or rather because, of their pedestrian aesthetic. They express the moment when the popular culture became fully assimilated into the tropes of celebrity and when “being famous for being famous” became aspirational.
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Format: Hardcover
Mr. Shabazz photographed his subjects with love and honesty. This wonderful document is nothing less than time travel.
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Format: Hardcover
Growing up in Brownsville, Brooklyn this book depicts the look and feel of NYC during this era. Brothers was rocking the shearlings tough, punks was getting their Lee patches taken and the flygirls was rocking the bamboo earings. Before the MTV era (although we did have Video Music Box) was setting the trend for how we looked and spoke, we looked within ourselves and let the streets define whether we were fresh or corney. Jamal represented in this book for real before the word was exploited. One
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