by Matteo Urella
August 15, 2021
3 min read
I miss wandering around different blocks in the early morning, waiting to see if the rising of the sun looked any different on a different morning from a different neighborhood.
I miss the hollow requests for money from James, Anthony, Black Irish; all of whom were seemingly too well-versed in the art of charm to have succumbed to a life on the streets. I quickly became humbled when they offered me money in my times of need.
I remember sleeping on the couches of friends, giving away my clothes to real kids on the streets.
I miss buying extravagant meals for myself, celebrating nothing more than freedom. I would dine alone and bask in the glory of being shaped into a leader by a city looking for a king.
I remember the diary I once found, sparsely written-in but containing the immortal phrase: “This city is conquerable.”
I miss it all.
Deep In The Dark With The Art: Conversations With The Creators Behind The Best Cover Art From the Wu-Tang Clan and Their Killa Beez Affiliates is my new book, and I’m donating 100% of the profits to More Than Words - the nonprofit on E. Berkeley.
Boston made me. Raised me. A couple of different decisions - a few moments of luck breaking the other way - and I would’ve been a youth at More Than Words rather than a former employee. This city - this community - our people - mean everything to me.
I created this book as a gift to Boston, the art world, hip-hop culture and legions of Wu-Tang fans across the globe. It took over two years and thousands of dollars. Hundreds of items sold on eBay to raise money - birthday presents, sentimental heirlooms, entire collections - sold for the greater good. To make an impact, minor or major.
A small but true honor - to give back to the city. My city. Our city.
Next up? Raising funds to convert my two screenplays - themselves open love letters to Boston - into low-budget indie films. Let’s go.
The misunderstanding of time remains; there is no before or after. Only now.
Deep In The Dark With The Art: Conversations With The Creators Behind The Best Cover Art From the Wu-Tang Clan and Their Killa Beez Affiliates is 36 chapters celebrating the creative offerings from Wu-Tang to the art community. With interviews from over 36 cover artists and designers – and chapter interludes with a variety of industry-leading influencers, academics and icons – Deep In The Dark is over 230 pages exploring the artistic and creative process of the best, most celebrated, most artistic Wu-related cover art.
With 100% of profits going to More Than Words - a Boston-based nonprofit bookstore for at-risk youth - Matteo, Makai Forever and Deep In The Dark aim to impact the art world, hip-hop, legions of Wu-Tang fans across the globe and the youth of Boston, Massachusetts.
Created by Matteo - former Boston street kid, former personal assistant to NFL Hall of Fame legend Junior Seau - Deep In The Dark is the latest in a prolific creative career, with bylines spanning Sports Illustrated and DIG Boston, and published photography in The Green Light Literary Journal and Boston Lit Accent. His critically acclaimed first book Machetes Dipped In Rum: The Oral History of Bone Thugs-n- Harmony was runner-up for the 2021 Nicholas Schaffner Award for Music in Literature.
Buy Makai's book here.