New York City Covered in Rap Lyric Signs by Street Artist Jay Shells
“I just thought it would be cool to mark that location with the quote so passer-bys knew it was a part of New York’s hip hop history.”
“The Rap Quotes” is the latest project by New York City-based street artist Jason “Jay Shells” Shelowitz who has been posting the words of Biggie Smalls, Mos Def, Nas, Mobb Deep, Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Redman all over the city.
The clever hip-hop lyric signage is planted on the exact locations mentioned in each song:
“I was listening to music at home, working and heard myself rapping along to Big L’s ‘Lifestylez Ov Da Poor and Dangerous’, which says ‘ … on 139 and Lenox Ave. there’s a big park, and if you soft don’t go through it when it gets dark.'”
30 signs have been placed, with another 16 to go and a few have been stolen — shock.
“Since people are stealing them, and I knew they would, I’d like to do this again, but legally. I would use bronze plaques and install into the sidewalk in a way that could not be stolen,” he said. “I need funding for that though. Converse? Red Bull? Holler at me, I need your money.”
Mashable also notes that while hip-hop is typically traced back to the 1970s in The Bronx, a National Geographic article in 2007 claims that the genre originated from beat poet Amiri Baraka in the 1950s Greenwich Village poetry scene.
Ya’ learn somethin’ new everyday…