powerHouse Books is pleased to announce the September 2022 Release of

A Time Before Crack

by Jamel Shabazz

Introduction by Kenneth J. Montgomery, Esq.

Words by Liza Jessie Peterson, Chris Slaughter, Tiffiny Bates-Johnson, Yvette, Joe Conzo, Professor Cali Usher

Afterword by Masta Killa

Once upon a time before crack, Jamel Shabazz was on the scene, working the streets of New York City, capturing the faces and places of an era that have long since disappeared.

Once upon a time before crack, inner-city communities were blighted by poverty and unemployment—but not by the drug wars that tore families apart, destroying lives with needless violence and mindless addiction. Once upon a time before crack, pride and style were as inseparable as a beatbox and mixtape, or as a pair of shoes and matching purse. Once upon a time before crack, Jamel Shabazz was on the scene, working the streets of New York City, capturing the faces and places of an era that have long since disappeared.

Best known as hip-hop's finest fashion photographer for his blockbuster best-selling monograph, Back in the Days (powerHouse Books, 2001), Shabazz revisited his archive and unearthed an exceptional collection of never-before-published documentary photographs collected for his third powerHouse Books release, A Time Before Crack. A visual diary of the streets of New York City from the mid-1970s to the mid-80s, Shabazz's distinctive photographs reveal the families, the poses, and the players who made this age extraordinary.

"Deeply unpretentious and undistracted by trendy new aesthetics or technologies, Mr. Shabazz is the best kind of photojournalist: one driven simply by curiosity about other human beings."—Ken Johnson, The New York Times

"I got nothing but love for Jamel Shabazz. I did a radio show for 12 years on 88.9 FM and introduced the world to an unsigned NAS, Biggie Smalls, Wu-Tang, Big Pun; and to me, Jamel Shabazz is right up there with any of those artists, artistically and creatively."—Bobbito Garcia

A Time Before Crack is available to order now through our website and book retailers.

A Time Before Crack
By Jamel Shabazz
Hardcover, ISBN 978-1-64823-005-9

Available for cosumer purchase through our website.

Booksellers can purchase here through Edelweiss.


Jamel Shabazz is best known for his iconic photographs of New York City during the 1980s. He has authored ten monographs and contributed to over three dozen other photography related books. His photographs have been exhibited worldwide and his work is housed within the permanent collections of the Whitney Museum, the Studio Museum in Harlem, the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture, the Fashion Instutite of Technology, the Gordon Parks Foundation, and the Getty Museum. Over the years, Shabazz has instructed young students at the Studio Museum in Harlem's "Expanding the Walls" project, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture's "Teen Curators" program, and the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation. He is also the 2018 recipient of the Gordon Parks award for his commitment to documentary photography. Shabazz is a member of the photo collective Kamoinge. As an artist his goal is to contribute to the preservation of world history and culture.

A partial preview is available here: A Time Before Crack

Street Photography / Photojournalism / Documentary Photography
Hardcover, 7.5 x 10 inches, 179 pages
ISBN: 978-1-64823-005-9, $39.95 US / $53.95 CAN

High-res scans to your specification are available upon request; scanning from the book or lifting images from the mechanical file are strictly prohibited. Mandatory credit line: From A Time Before Crack by Jamel Shabazz, published by powerHouse Books.

For contact at powerHouse Books:
Publicity Department

212-604-9074 ext. 104

Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

© Copyright 2022 powerHouse Book

View web version
Unsubscribe here