Hip Hop Humanism had the pleasure to sit down with Andy Cassidy, a dope tattoo artist who currently lives in LIverpool. He is creating human canvases with Hip Hop artistry that have been acknowledge by the stars he recreates on his clients skin. In this article, learn about how 'Mr. Cee' fell in love with Hip Hop and his thoughts about its platform and potential. Please read to learn more about the artist and the man who is making walking canvases that pay homage to Hip Hop.
HHH: Tell us a little about yourself?
Mr. Cee: Well "Mr. Cee" started as a joke! I was in work with a few hrs. to spare and playing Run DMC. I was playing with the logo and made it my profile pic on Facebook. My Name is Andy Cassidy...... Hence the Mr. Cee. After a while, to take the joke a little further, plus noticing how the logo was being used for everything, I had some T-shirts printed and was giving them away with larger sittings.... again, it was just a joke, "Mr. Cee" was just a bit of fun to me.
When I decided to leave the studio I was at and open my own studio, the name "Mr. Cee" was never an option for the name, but my wife explained to me that my "joke" was something some companies spend thousands of pounds and maybe years trying to do. I had created a "brand" in a few months and it was well known across Liverpool, where I live. So, reluctantly, Mr. Cee Tattooz became a "thing"! That was just over 3 yrs. ago, working on my own, moving premises twice and annoying everyone on social media to get the shop name out there for the world to see.
HHH: We have heard that your tattoo studio isn’t like many of the ones that many of us have seen. Tell us about it.
Mr. Cee: My studio isn't your typical tattoo Studio. No skulls, no dark imagery, and no dead stuffed animals like many I have been in to. No death metal or rock n roll being played, it’s STRICTLY Hip Hop! The walls have album covers from some of the classics, a few bits and bobs signed by some of my Hip Hop heroes that I’ve been blessed to spend time with. The Hip Hop thing seems to bode well with (some) customers, they feel it’s a refreshing change from the music many other studios play.
HHH: Nice. I hope that I can visit one day. So with all this homage and love in your shop, we have to ask, what first made you interested in Hip Hop?
Mr. Cee: My first introduction to Hip Hop, as far as I can remember, was probably Rappers Delight. I was 8. My elder brothers played mostly punk / MOD music as I was growing up. The Sex Pistols, The Jam, Madness, that type of stuff, so that what was I listened to. Until rappers Delight! It took a few yrs. for Hip Hop to start showing up in the town where I lived, the occasional track got played on the radio, a few tracks made it to tape. Then I met a guy who was in the army, he gave me a mix tape he got while in New York, this was maybe 1982 / 83. GAME OVER!
HHH: When did you realize how influential Hip Hop was and what was your thoughts about the discovery?
Mr. Cee: When I heard ‘The Message’ by Melle Mel and Hip Hop just got me more and more intrigued. These guys weren’t singing, they were just talking and telling me about stuff I didn't know existed. That mix tape got played to DEATH! "The Wild Style" by Timezone / Afrika Bambaatta was the one that got me in to breaking. I wasn't very good at that, so I started doing Graffiti and dressing like an extra from Beat Street and tagging everything that moved, bombing what didn't. Hip Hop was something so new and alien to me, and the kids I was hanging out with at school etc., we were all fascinated with these stories from New York (predominately). But I knew there and then, I was hooked. I couldn't stop listening to it. Hip Hop became life.
Hip Hop started teaching me stuff school wasn't. Peace, Unity, Love...... And having fun! To this day, I still don't know of another music genre that promotes peace, racial harmony and education like Hip Hop does. You can pick holes in the lyrics of some tracks until you’re blue in the face, BUT..... NO other music shows more positivity than Hip Hop. It is VERY hard at times to defend they lyrical content of some artists. But the CULTURE of Hip Hop, once broke down, Ill defend and promote to the fullest.
HHH: We definitely agree with you there Mr. Cee. I guess that goes to show how Hip Hop can influence those who listen to it. From style of dress to where you go and what you do. That type of influence definitely is powerful and we are glad that artist like you respect the platform. The power of it has to be acknowledged and protected. Just like the positive results come, so can negative ones. That is why we at Hip Hop Humanism believe in preserving the type of things you speak of and we are thankful for visual artist like you, Andy Katz and Askem, just to name a couple.
Mr. Cee: Thanks Jay. Artist like Andrew Katz and Askem, these two produce art in very different mediums for the love of the culture much respect to them and those like them
Be sure to keep an eye out for part two of this in-depth article with Andy Cassidy aka Mr. Cee. To see more about the artist right now, check out the links below
Hip Hop Humanism