So, what is art? Drake thinks the whole rap/art world is corny. Jay Z has his own opinion on the art he’s bought. Now Wu-Tang is coming out with a piece of art that no other hip hop artist, group or legend has attempted before. To drop an album (ONE) in the form of a work of art made exclusively for art museum exhibits and a lucky buyer who has the ducks.
How you ask? They commissioned British-Moroccan artist Yahya, to design and create a silver and nickel box to encase the single disc. It took this high-end artist who has worked for millionaires and business leaders about 3 months to construct. The idea is to feature the piece in museums where folks can visit and have the opportunity to listen to the whole album.
“The idea that music is art has been something we advocated for years,” says RZA. “And yet its doesn’t receive the same treatment as art in the sense of the value of what it is, especially nowadays when it’s been devalued and diminished to almost the point that it has to be given away for free.”
Back to hip hop and the art world. I can digest Drake’s corny comment easier by thinking about it in the sense of, maybe worrying about how bringing it into this arena may water down the “realness” “raw” hip hop folks like to pipe about belonging in the streets and to the people. . .Maybe. Besides that, I’m all for taking the art world by storm with it.
Jay Z performing Picasso for six hours as a performance art piece is only one example of how we can break down barriers and extend the reach of hip hop. The value of music as art as RZA spoke of is still an unpopular idea. But why should it not be treated as other art and artists? At least for those who want it.
Hip Hop has taken the business world by tsunami for decades and it’s growing still. What Drake might not know is that allowing hip hop to exist in these worlds is the best thing we can do on a social movement level. The more you see us (er, hear us), the more you feel us.
This album and in extension, Wu-Tang Clan as artists, may be in museum’s or an art collector’s hands as long as human civilization exists. And what artist DOESN’T strive for immortality?
Will YOU support the next stage for hip hop and go to the museum? Shoot, you might learn a thing or two about art.
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