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Jay Shells signs2

Fly to New York for hip hop history tour

Artist and hip hop fan Jay Shells has created an unofficial 'hip hop walking tour' around the streets of New York, installing signs with famous hip hop lyrics on the streets that inspired them.

"It’s an homage to New York hip hop," explained the artist. "New York City is the birthplace of hip-hop and if any place deserve this historical map of sorts, it’s New York."

Lyrics by rappers such as Jay Z, Nas and Kanye West have been printed out by the artist, along with a team of assistants from the Animal New York website, and screwed onto signposts around the city. However,  they are unlikely to stay in place for long as Mr Shells expects either hip hop fans or the authorities to take them down over the next few weeks.

Mr Shells has previously undertaken other unofficial New York signage projects, including one based on the fictional 'Metropolitan Etiquette Authority' and including humorous signs telling New Yorkers to do things like 'Pay attention while walking'. The NYPD did not take kindly to one sign aimed at mounted officers, which stated, 'Clean up after your horse'.

"There are so many blocks that get called out in songs but a block can be huge," explained Mr Shells. "A corner or venue is a place where you can put a stake in the ground and say, "This is mentioned". But it’s really specific locations, a place where you could put a brass plaque in the ground and say, "This happened here".

"That’s the reason I did the project, for that feeling for someone that might be walking by, and that person didn't know that where they’re standing, that particular point, is mentioned in a song."

Image source: YouTube
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