MEXONE. My hero.
Never in all my life, would I think to would be writing this post. It’s hard to put into words what I could say about someone like MEX, so I’ll just start from the very beginning and we’ll see where it goes. None of this is pre-planned so i’ll just let it all out. It’ll focus more on the story of me and him and I may ramble, but I just need to let it out. Bear with me, please. There may be some grammatical errors, but that’s just how me an MEX would do it.
Back in 2003 I moved away from where I was raised (South Florida) and spent a lot less time away from my crew, Unique Styles. The following year I got a message from someone saying that they were “MEX” from Unique Styles Crew and they needed a flyer done for an event he was throwing. Now, at first I was so confused because I had never heard of this guy and he was saying that he was in my crew, lol, so naturally I called my other crew mates up (Squid and Namek) and asked them who he was. They quickly told me that he was a member and had gotten down while I was away. Personally I was starting to feel like I was growing out of the whole “hiphop crew” thing and I was more focused on what I was going to do next in my life and graffiti just kept getting me into trouble. In that same message Mex says to me: “I’m coming to you because i’m a huge fan of your art! And not only that you’re part of USC..you’ve always been USC..we’re crew!”. It had been a whole year since someone even cared I was even part of anything. I moved from the bustling south Florida streets to Lakeland Florida. A central Florida city that was so filled with trees and nature that I hated it to the core…lol. I was a city boy in the sticks and for someone to finally say “hey, you belong with us!” felt awesome. Anyhow…he quickly told me the event was “Evolution” and we came up with a concept and that was the first flyer I ever made for him.
As time went on we would talk online all the time. He would tell me about all the great things he wanted to do in the scene and said that I would be along for the ride if I was down. I would be his “personal graphic designer” and that I could gain some recognition in what I do, if I put in the work. I said yes, reluctantly, but I just enjoyed the work from doing the flyers. And on top of that I didn’t have a steady job at the time and he was paying me what I would ask for and sometimes more! He would always say that it was worth it and that he was my biggest fan.
In 2005 I designed the flyer for Outbreak II and the rest is kinda history from there. That’s the one flyer that really put me on the map. Before you know it I was designing all kinds of flyer for his events and he would get me gigs designing flyers for other events too. Other promoters noticed my art and wanted me to do all kinds of stuff for them. As a teenager I was always infatuated with Freestyle session posters and I would think to myself “one day I would love to do shit like this!” and here Mex was setting the foundation for all of it.
Fast forward to about mid 2006(ish?). I had already moved back to south Florida and I moved in with MEX and SQUID in a little rundown complex in Fort Lauderdale that would infamously become “THE USC HOUSE”. If you were there, then you know what i’m talking about! We would stay up all night and just bug out with each other and it was awesome. Now, Mex was constantly telling me about how he wanted to take me places with him. He wanted me to travel with him to jams because he thought I would like it. He said that there would be a time where we could go somewhere internationally. He came into my room one night and says all casually “Hey you wanna go to Paris?” and me…in shock…was like “Hell yea!” and before you know it we were on our way to Paris for Chelles Battle Pro…lol. It would be the first of many trips that he took me on. During one of my trips with him to an event in the U.S. (i forgot which one) he asked me “hey, where would you like to go the most?” and I responded with “Japan has always been my dream place to go to” and he says….ill never forget it….”I’m going to make sure you go to Japan one day” and as much as I barely believed him before…this time…I was a believer. At this point everything that Mex said we were going to do…it would happen. I still remember the one night Mex came into my room and said: “YO! I got an idea for something I want to sell at jams!” and he starts telling me how he wants to design this T-shirt that says “BBOY OR DIE!” I laughed at him and started telling him how corny that would be and that no one would buy or wear that. Boy was I wrong…lol. The shirt became so popular we couldn’t even keep inventory of it. It was nuts. He then told me to come up with more designs as he wanted to maybe start to see if we could develop a clothing line. I hated dealing with clothing, but I just went with it because I believed in him so much. Around the same time we were approached by a rich Russian man who was the owner of a chain of clothing stores called WORKMENS. Apparently they were big on the west coast and they were going to open one up in Miami and wanted our help. We helped this guy open the store and at the same time we learned alot about the streetwear business. One day during me working at Workmens (I had moved to Miami for a bit at this point, to work at the store part time) the phone rang while i was folding some shirts and he says “are you ready to go to Japan?”. I nearly lost my shit. Mex had done it. He had gotten me a trip to Japan AND not only that…we had the clothing line ready to be debuted at whatever next event we went to. We officially debuted BIGGEST&BADDEST, in Japan, at Freestyle Session that year. It still remains as one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had.
Another great morning Mex wakes me up and says “hey, soooo…my boy Cros 1 wants you to do a flyer him” and i’m like…”Freestyle session Cros!?, NO FUCKING WAY!” and he was like..”yeah man, I told you one day it could happen” and it did. A dream I once had as a teenager came full circle. It is another one of my proudest moments till this day. In a couple years Mex was showing me the world, introducing me to prolific figures in the game AND getting me work from it all. I was at his side so much, it was like I couldn’t wait for the next big move. His next idea. And to top it all off it was never about making money for him. It was for the benefit of the community first AND THEN us. He would always make sure that no matter how much fun or opportunities we would get, it would benefit everyone as a whole and then eventually trickle down to us. Most of the time we were just happy to be working for ourselves. We didn’t want to have any bosses. It was just us. And with that came, The BBoy Spot.
I learned to be so humble because of him. As time went on me and MEX would become super close. Practically best friends. We would argue all the time…haha. I mean, who didn’t argue with the guy! He was so opinionated and grounded to his roots that if he liked something, he was a passionate about it. We would go on to travel more, open a screen printing shop, live in a warehouse together (with his then girlfriend Gina! Shout outs to her!), move to Orlando, get a cool warehouse, than a bigger warehouse! It was such a wild ride. Sometimes I can’t believe it even happened. It was surreal. I wouldn’t change any of it. I remember when he told me him and his girl were pregnant, I remember seeing little Daniel (his son) for the first time and watching him grow for his first 2 years. It was just so…it was…I can’t even find the one word to fit it all in. The man gave me a life. A life I am so proud of.
Now I guess there should be a point to all this and if anything it would be this. This story (if you’ve gotten this far) is just one of many. And not just a couple of people here and there. A LOT OF PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD. If he saw potential in someone, he knew how to bring that potential out of you. He knew what it would take for you to be the best person you could be on most every level. I believe now that he was here for the short time that he was, to teach us all that. To find out just how amazing we all are. Sure he did it in his own way and some people disagreed with him, but he would make it happen. Deep down inside the man was so genuine that it hurt. I always used to hear him say how jealous he was of people who were talented at something because he said that if he was that talented at it, he would be the best in the world at whatever it is. The truth was, however, that he was talented. And talented in a major way. He united whole countries together through his love for the hiphop community. He introduced so many of us to each other that I lost count years ago. As of this writing I cannot tell you how many people have come out to pay their condolences to me for his passing. I have tried to answer every phone call, every text, every message, every DM, every everything. I’ve read countless posts about peoples encounters with Mex and reading them doesnt get any easier. It was like suddenly I was hired to do a job that no one would ever want. To be the voice for someone that was so much more bigger than life, that its impossible for me to say anything that would make it all better.
I appreciate everyone that has reached out to me, to his family and that has had concerns for his beautiful son. To all of you…a big whole hearted THANK YOU. We’re all devastated by it just as much as you. Trust me. It’s the hardest thing I have had to go through in my entire life, but because of who he was to me…it is something I must do.
Mex, my dude, you are a hero to me. I will never forget you or give up when I feel like im down. I will never say I can’t, I will never not stand for my beliefs and I will always work hard for myself. You taught me this and so much more in life. It’s extremely difficult for me to imagine a life without you for advice and friendship, but you wouldn’t want me to move any other way but forward. I love you and I am going to miss you more than you will ever imagine.
Thank you Daniel Zhu from STANCE for this beautiful video.