Graffiti and hip hop cannot be delinked. This is a form of artistic expression that has been evolving for ages and there are hardly any words to describe this element of hip hop.

Kimani Maruge grafitti wall
Kimani Maruge grafitti wall

This type of art that adorns album covers for rap artists, buses, sides of buildings, clothing and other imaginative places has quickly spread in Kenya and it is being picked up by everyone.Graffiti artist Bankslave has traveled far and wide due to his amazing pieces of graffiti.

Bankslave doing what he does best
Bankslave doing what he does best

Upon asking Bankslave about what he thinks about the relation between graffiti and hip hop, he reckons that from its very inception and by its own nature, it is a part of hip hop. This conception is so widespread that the term hip hop graffiti is often used to differentiate this type of graffiti from others.

A graffiti wall by Bankslave at the Go Down Art Centre
A graffiti wall by Bankslave at the Go Down Art Centre

Bankslave who has done graffiti for the past 15 years says graffiti is used to express and has no relation whatsoever with the use of drugs but rather is used to advocate for responsible social behavior. And more so it is used to beautify.

Grafitti on Brookhouse Gym wall that students painted under Bankslave's guidance
Grafitti on Brookhouse Gym wall that students painted under Bankslave’s guidance

Even while it continues to develop globally in myriad styles, this graffiti elements provide coherence to hip hop culture.

Graffiti by Bankslave on PAWA 254 wall
Graffiti by Bankslave on PAWA 254 wall

As it goes main stream, this art will forever remain a part of hip hop as it manifests itself distinctly in buses, walls, music videos clothes and even body graffiti.