Since 2013, multi-disciplinary artist Jay Shells (Jason Shelowitz) has been travelling to major US cities, installing his Rap Quotes campaign. At the time of this publication, the campaign has touched down in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston and the Bay Area. Part art book and part guide book, “The Rap Quotes Coast to Coast” takes you on a new kind of journey, with gorgeous photography by Aymann Ismail to offer context for the hip hop lyrics that mark locations in these major cities.
Each city/chapter opens with remarks by local hip hop journalists and ends with a map plotting every site-specific rap lyric for that city, giving the reader the ability to take their own hip hop-specific tour of the city they love. The Rap Quotes campaign is ongoing, and in the next few years will launch in Chicago, New Orleans, Miami and other cities around the globe. With text by Ernest Baker, Cassie Owens, Jensen Karp, Maurice Garland and Lance Scott Walker.
“Taking lyrics from well-known rap songs, artist Jay Shells creates street signs and installs them at the physical locations referenced on the tracks. The “Rap Quotes” project is one of the greatest hip-hop themed street art projects of all time ...” - Andrew Lasane Complex
“I remember getting a call that I was used for a Rap Quote. I was so amazed and honored to be included. It’s so good to see the culture being embraced and spread around like this all across the world!” - Bun B, Port Arthur & Houston, Texas
“That’s a really dope one bro, all my Brooklyn n----s hitting me ‘bout it. They love it.” - Prodigy Hempstead & Queens, New York
“At the time, Instagram was fairly new and still mostly a photography app. I was running around historical locations in Queens taking pics for my account, when someone sent me a pic of the quote. I was like ‘no way in hell.’ I drove to the location and took crazy pics. I was really proud to show everyone because South Jamaica is so influential to my career.” - Pharoahe Monch Queens, New York
Jay Shells was born in 1979 in Oceanside, New York. His work has been exhibited in galleries throughout the United States, Germany and the United Kingdom as well as featured in publications including The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Times, Juxtapoz, Complex, ARTINFO and The New York Times. Jason’s work appears in the book Seinfeldia by Jennifer Keishin Armstrong, and Street Messages by Nicolas Ganz. Many of Jason’s public art campaigns have been written about extensively on an international scale.
Aymann Ismailwas born in 1989 in Newark, New Jersey. He is a renowned photographer, videographer and journalist who initially made waves creating original content for Animal New York. Aymann is currently producing, writing and directing the web series “Who’s Afraid of Aymann Ismail” for Slate.