Rage is Back is Adam Mansbach’s (#1 New York Times bestselling author of Go the F**k to Sleep) latest novel. It is the perfect mesh of New York City streets, graffiti, comedy, and family struggles; and for those who have never felt the hot and heavy feeling of a .38 in your hand, Mansbach does the perfect job of putting it directly in the readers hand.
The story is narrated by a young mixed race Brooklynite Dondi Vance, son of Billy Rage, one of the most prolific New York graffiti writers. Dondi, however; knows very little of his father since Rage was forced into hiding after a run in between his crew and Metropolitan Transit Authority chief Anastacio Bracken back in 1989, the same night Dondi was born.
The story primarily takes place a few decades later, and Rage is back. MTA chief, Bracken, is now running for Mayor and Rage is hell bent on revenge for their past. The presidents of all NYC crews during the late 80’s put their beefs aside and assemble for one last attempt to bring Bracken down; a plan that would not only make history within graffiti, nor the city of New York, but globally.
While the story is amazing and the book extremely hard to put down, the true beauty lies within Mansbach’s writing style. It is the perfect mesh of an uptown yuppie, a heavyweight legend, and the filth of the underground tunnel walls. As he writes about throw ups, burners, and pieces; he does it in a way that you can tangibly see the curves and bends of every letter, all the way down to whether or not they used a fat cap or skinny.
This is a book ideal for those who have followed graffiti since Cornbread and Taki 183. All of the references and stories revert back to the late 80’s, or better known to us as the days before the buff. But surely every legend to be born around then: Futura, Zephyr, Dondi, Cope2, Crash, Phase 2, Lady Pink; and even the newer heavy hitters, Revok, El Mac, Retna, Saber, Ewok can all find comfort in Mansbach interpretation of NYC graffiti and graffiti as a total.
Mansbach has made his stamp in graffiti literature the same way Charlie Ahearn (Director of Wild Style) and Jon Reiss (Director of Bomb It) did within graffiti film. Mansbach put everything on the table, leaving Rage is Back (in this NYC graffiti writers eyes) to be the Bible of graffiti when it comes to both literature and story.
The only downside I could find to Rage is Back is that shortly after it hits the shelves (January 10th), we are going to start seeing A LOT of toys on the street… because this is surely one book that will inspire many to pick up a can.
Rest In Power NEKST, this is one I imagine you would’ve liked.
Brooklyn based Artist and Graffiti Writer
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Get the book here