Nearly thirty years ago, Ernie Paniccioli, considered by many to be the James Van Der Zee of the hiphop generation, began photographing graffiti art throughout New York City as well as the young people creating it. Armed with a 35-millimeter camera, Paniccioli literally recorded the beginning salvos of hiphop, today the most dominant youth culture on the planet. Be it Grandmaster Flash at the Roxy, a summer block party in the Bronx, the fresh faces of Jay-Z and Will Smith, the cocksure personas of Tupac Shakur, The Notorious B.I.G., and Eminem, or the regal grace of Lauryn Hill, Ernie Paniccioli has been there to showcase hiphop’s emerging talent.

With more than 200 photographs that have been culled from a vast archive, Who Shot Ya? is the first major pictorial history of hiphop culture.

About the author(s)

Ernie Paniccioli has been the chief photographer for Word Up! magazine since 1989. His work has appeared in a variety of books and periodicals, most notably Life, Vibe, Time, Rolling Stone, Newsweek, and The New York Times, as well as on MTV and VH1. Beyond the hip hop world, Paniccioli has captured a number of popular figures on film, among them Frank Sinatra, Liza Minelli, John F. Kennedy Jr., Britney Spears, and Ricky Martin. This is Ernie Paniccioli’s first book. He lives in New Jersey.

Kevin Powell is a former senior writer/editor for Vibe magazine and an original cast member of MTV’s The Real World. The author of Recognize, a volume of poetry and In the Tradition: An Anthology of Young Black Writers, he is also well known as a cultural critic. His articles have appeared in The New York Times, Rolling Stone, and Essence. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.


“Groundbreaking....A pivotal new addition to hip-hop history.” — The Source

“This is the face of hip-hop, 30 years in the making.” — Washington Post

“Ask Grandmaster Flash...LL Cool J, or...Queen Latifah Who Shot Ya? and the answer will be...Ernie Paniccioli.” — Vanity Fair

“Who Shot Ya‘s images catch history in the making.” — Daily News

“Ernie Paniccioli has been that rare archivist of the urban emotion, covering the years leading to the millennium and beyond.” — Savoy

“Who Shot Ya? is an impressive celebration of life and a unique contribution to the complex lives of photographers, hip hop culture, fashion, and performance art. Kevin Powell’s mix of interview and analysis give depth to the performers and the photographer’s life.” — Deborah Willis, author of Reflections in Black: A History of Black Photographers, 1840 to the Present

“The first real attempt at documenting hiphop’s official origin, essence, and history.” — KRS-ONE, The Temple of Hip-Hop

“Ernie Paniccioli’s photographs have not only documented, but also helped define hip hop style.” — Jim Fricke, Senior Curator, Experience Music Project, Seattle, WA

“Ernie Paniccioli is a great photographer of deep importance....the Hiphop Photo King.” — Afrika Bambaataa, The Universal Zulu Nation / The Godfather of Hip-Hop Culture

“Impressive...a unique contribution to the complex lives of photographers, hip hop culture, fashion, and performance art.” — Chuck D, Public Enemy

“Extensive...insightful....Paniccioli...captures the emotional and stylistic changes that have come to define hip hop.” — Tricia Rose, author of Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America

“Extraordinary...Paniccioli [is] the preeminent photographer of hiphop.” — Arnold Lehman, Ph.D., Director, Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York

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