Today In Hip Hop History: The Source Remembers Graf Legend Iz The Wiz

Michael “Iz The Wiz” Martin passed away in Spring Hill, Florida on this date six years ago

On this day in 2009, the man known to the graffiti world as “IZ THE WIZ” died from kidney failure in Spring Hill, Florida. He was 50 years old.

The NYC born bomber began writing in graf’s infantile stages in the early 70s, but became more prolific in his own right when he took on his “IZ” moniker in 1975. By the early 80s, Martin had become one of the city’s most visible graf artists, with panels and top to bottoms on arguably every line. He is one of the founders of the Phun Factory in Long Island City, Queens, which later became known as the now defunct 5 Pointz Art Gallery. IZ was also one of the writers featured in the graffiti cult classic flick Style Wars, which also stars famed graf king and radio personality DJ Kay Slay.

The Wiz’s work continues to influence the graffiti community, where his work is still paid homage by artists and curators of art of all genres. On behalf of The Source.com and the entire Hip Hop community, it can be agreed that Mr. Martin is sorely missed. R.I.P.

-Sha Be Allah(@KingPenStatus)

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The Source Magazine Culture Editor The Five Percenter Newspaper Parliament Editor