The Geeby Dajani Story – PIA Mag

In 2020, I had the honor of editing the Music Edition of Palestine In America magazine. The cover story I wrote on Geeby Dajani, a then-unsung hero of early 80s hardcore punk and eventually early 90s Golden Age hip-hop, went viral on Twitter and the the Music Edition became the best-selling issue of PIA. For the story, I interviewed Geeby’s sister, the actress Nadia Dajani, legendary hip-hop A&R Dante Ross, as well as Adam Horowitz of the Beastie Boys and Darryl Jenifer of Bad Brains. Some big, big bucket list interviews for yours truly!

Enjoy the excerpt below:

One hot summer night on the west side of Manhattan in the early 1980s, on the roof of the boisterous, four-story nightclub called Danceteria, a group of teenage friends stood in a cypher writing rhymes on a notepad. They were an irreverent crew of rascals, the children of Manhattan artists — an aspiring painter, Cey Adams; an aspiring guitarist, Adam Horovitz; and an aspiring actor, Nadia Dajani, along with their friends Dave Scilken and Adam Yauch, who had traveled all the way from Brooklyn to join — skilled in the ways of talking (or sneaking) themselves into clubs that they certainly weren’t old enough to be in. As they basked in the smoke of cigarettes and the club’s (probably illegal) barbecue grill, another crew caught Dajani’s eye from across the rooftop. She stepped away from the cypher to get a closer look. Under the light of the moon and the rooftop’s neon signage, their faces came into focus: Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Andy Warhol, and Madonna.

“They were at the top of their game, and they were all so famous,” Dajani says. “And I looked back at my friends and thought, ‘Well, I wanna be an actor, Cey is a graffiti artist, and Adam Horovitz and Adam Yauch wanna be musicians; I wonder if one day we’ll be them, and some young kid will be looking at us.’”

Read the full story here. The magazine cover was designed by Shirien Damra.