Words by Daniel Isenberg (@StanIpcus)
Ricky Powell aka The Rickster, for those who don’t already know, is the man behind some of the most iconic images in the history of hip-hop and NYC street photography. Whether it was the Beastie Boys or Run-D.M.C. or Public Enemy, he was always up in the mix, ready to take professional photos of the early Def Jam scene on what he describes as “a hangout tip.” And he was heavy in the culture beyond that, snapping timeless shots of everyone from Basquiat to Eazy E to Big L (RIP to all), and hosting his infamous public access television show Rappin’ with The Rickster (which is now available on DVD), which gave people an opportunity to become acquainted with his extremely fun-loving personality. Point blank, dude has taken some of the illest rap flicks of all-time and is a legendary character in the game, so it was only right that we tap him for our Picture Perfect series.
Along with our brother Ev Boogie at UpNorthTrips, who we insist be recognized as the kingpin of the throwback rap photo wave that every other Instagram account seems to be riding these days, we carefully compiled ten classic pictures of different hip-hop artists Ricky Powell has taken over the years to ask him about for our latest edition of Picture Perfect. And it was an honor to listen (and laugh) as he told the stories behind them while walking the NYC streets, pausing at times to say what’s up to friends of his on the block (and his building’s new super), take a photo of a cute dog for his Instagram account, curse out a group of Sex and the City wannabees, dodge getting hit by a delivery man on a bicycle, and collect a rack from a Manhattan restaurant who recently put his work on display. This is Picture Perfect with the guy who dicked your girl—Ricky Powell.