Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Artist Posts Street Signs Featuring Rap Lyrics

As loyal readers know, I'm a fan of both classic hip-hop and taking artistic license with street signs. So I'm very excited about this new project by artist Jay Shells.

Photos courtesy of AnimalNewYork.

He took more than 30 rap songs that mention specific New York locations and then used the lyrics to create official-looking signs. Shells then posted them all over the city.

Based on the video, it doesn't sound like the project has the city's blessing. But as Shells indicates, the biggest danger to the signs is probably people stealing them — rather than workers taking them down.

"I think people will steal these," he says. "Within a week, they'll be gone."

Not surprisingly, I have yet to encounter any of the signs myself. My usual rounds take me through Midtown East and Roosevelt Island — two places that no self-respecting rapper would name-check. The locations appear to be concentrated in Harlem, Brooklyn and Queens.

But it does look like at least one sign is on the west side of Midtown, assuming this one was planted in front of Carnegie Hall.

(If anyone tries this in the Bay Area, I recommend starting with Rappin' 4-Tay's "Playaz Club": "...on the corner of Third and Newcomb right in the heart of HP [Hunters Point].")

Long before Foursquare, rappers were trailblazers at checking into locations. It's nice to see a reminder of that.