Rap Quotes: site-specific street art with official-looking signs bearing hip hop lyrics

Artist Jay Shells combines his love of hip hop music and his formidable sign-making skills in "Rap Quotes," with "official-looking street signs quoting famous rap lyrics that shout out specific street corners and locations."

He installs the signs at those same street corners and locations throughout New York City.

Video below. [Animal New York]

(via Ethan Zuckerman)


  1. “Meet me at the corner Myrtle and Adelphi. I’ll bless you with some joints – the mental hollow points” -Digable Planets

    “I’m blacker than midnight on Broadway and Myrtle.” – Mos Def

    1. “I’m slicker this year / I’m slicker this year / Myrtle Ave A Train got the pick in my hair.” Also the Digables. Such Myrtle Avenue love!

      The video for “9th Wonder” has some amazing shots of the neighborhood from the early nineties. Makes me wish I’d seen it then. http://youtu.be/SyeI43BeR54

      1. 20 years later and I’m still hearing & learning new references in Digable Planets. Good stuff.

      2. “And we troopin’ through the Fulton folkways / the Eastern Parkways / I’m broader than Broadway / nothin’ more than mores / I sways, why cause I’m a Brooklyn stroller / no-one’s cooler / pigs on my boulder / so I switch my pitch / as I stretch down Atlantic.”

        One little snippet of a verse, four references to neighborhood streets. Those guys were more attached to their place (for good reason!) than almost anyone I’ve run across.

  2. Will people start sticking handwritten notes to these politely explaining what the heck the lyrics are supposed to mean?  I’d like that.

    I don’t like peas, even if they’re served with butter.

    1. Urban Dictionary:

      Hot peas and butter

      Fun ass game in which one person hides a belt and asks a group of people to find it. The person who hid the belt can help the people find it easier by saying degrees of temperature(i.e. hot, warm, cold) as a metaphor to describe their proximity to the whereabouts of the belt. After the person finds it they yell “Hot peas and butter!” and the other participants have to run back to base before they get their ass whipped with the belt.
      “I found it! Hot peas and butter! Ya better get back to base before I whip that ass!”

      There wouldn’t be much sign left after the notes had been posted!

  3. There needs to be made a sign suitable for posting in a playground in West Philadelphia ASAP.

  4. Isn’t it supposed to be “Carnegie Hall”?

    Edited to add: I’ve just re-listened to the track and it sounds like “Carnegie Hall” to me, but lots of lyric sites have it as “Cargenie Hall”. I wonder if this is my error, a genuine mistake, or the transcription equivalent of a trap street.

  5. Because I have a rain machine specifically built for parades, I hope they spike the bolts used to attach those signs, otherwise, y’know, totally stolen in under two days.

    1.  I’ll start
      “I think her name’s Lucy, but they all call her loose/ I think I thought I seen her on 8th and forty-deuce” –Mike D/MCA

      huh.  that’s all I got.  they shout out a lot of NY places but usually by name not cross-streets, or they mention a subway line or one street generally.  there’s gotta be at least a few more.  anyone?

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