“Underground.” An association we hear thrown around by people when it comes to industries such as fashion and music. Whether you’re a true fan defending your musical prowess or just a musically-inept troll clicking away on the internet, the term “underground” has a different association for different people. For people like the graffiti artists and hip hop rappers of the slums of London, New York and Paris, being “Underground” isn’t a cool badge of honor, but rather their way of life; a life filled with sorrow and setbacks, and to which graffiti and hip hop becomes their way of release.

“I see underground culture as an iceberg. The top is seen by everyone but to understand the size of the iceberg you have to go underwater.”

As a look into this reality, Paris-born, NYC and London-based photographer AboveGround documents this racy group of individuals. Never one to plan his shoots, AboveGround’s work captures the raw essence of the fast life lived by some of these graffiti and hip hop artists. In an interview with DAZED, the photographer states that just gaining these artists’ trust is a hurdle in itself, to which the photographer describes as “quite a few sleepless nights getting extremely fucked on Hennessy, sharing a last pizza slice with them and a bit of street politics.” AboveGround goes on to assert that “I see underground culture as an iceberg. The top is seen by everyone but to understand the size of the iceberg you have to go underwater.”

After you’ve viewed the photo-series, be sure to check all of AboveGround’s provocative body of work, which also includes a long list of videos.