Famous Rappers Take You on a Tour of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Let Jay Z take you through the Met's art collection.

Notorious B.I.G.
Photo: via MTV.com

hiphop

Ever wanted to tour the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection of Old Masters with the Notorious B.I.G.? Now you can online through the Hip Hop Project created by Regina Flores Mir, a graduate student at Parsons School of Design in New York.

“I really like hip hop, and I was working in the Met media lab last semester and they were always talking about appealing to younger audiences, and I thought, “Where’s Kanye?” Flores Mir told Vice. “You pay all kinds of people to do audio tours at the Met, and if you want to change your audience you have to change your brand. So this was my answer.”

She was inspired to do the project when she learned that students living at Bailey Housing Project in Jamaica, Queens had never been to the Met despite living a subway ride away.

Notorious B.I.G. Photo: via MTV.com

Notorious B.I.G.
Photo: via MTV.com

The project combines rap lyrics from the Genius database with metadata from the Met, using works of art to illustrate key lyrics. For example, “hoe” is coupled with an image of a farmer using the gardening tool and “grip” features a set of ancient knives. However, one issue is that the pictures featured on the site are not labeled with dates or attributions, which makes it difficult to place them historically.

Flores Mir told Vice a major portion of the project was spent conducting ethnographic research to determine which rappers and songs to use; she was able to narrow down her lineup to 13 recording artists—three female and 10 male rappers—including Nicki Minaj, Jay Z, Kanye West, and Drake.

The Hip Hop project lives at www.rappersdelight.nyc, an homage to the Sugarhill Gang song that is widely considered the first commercially successful hip hop track.


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