How did you approach the subjects in the documentary? What did you discover during this process?
I met some of Jamel’s subjects at one of Fred’s (Fab 5 Freddy) openings. We met a day to meet in this park, and I was setting up a tripod and people were just cruising by with cars and jumping out of their cars with the book (Back in the Days), people that hadn’t seen each other in years, people that were in the book.

They’re not known, and that’s the first thing to be known about Jamel’s photographs: he’s not a celebrity photgrapher, he’s not documenting hip-hop culture in the sense of “who painted this mural” or “Who’s DJing.” These people are, as he calls it, the generals; people who are holding down corners in Brooklyn. You could call them everyday people but they’re not everyday people. And they would only reveal themselves to people who know who they are. He gives off no information in the book as to who this person is really, who that person is, so I felt it was really important in making this, to let some of them talk. That’s part of what makes this book an underground classic.