What do Russell Simmons, Shepard Fairey, and Jay-Z, have in common, besides being some of the most respected influential people in the world? They felt the need to come together to represent their art for the sake of this book. The objective of the project is to showcase the art behind the lyrics of hip-hop in juxtaposition of similar themes in contemporary art, to encourage readers to consider the meaning and value behind these works and themes at large. It celebrates the long-standing relationship between the visual arts and hip-hop music, and is the result of a collaboration between two giants of the American music scene. Each chapter of the book will has a theme: for example, the chapter about New York, titled "Empire State of Mind" after Jay-Z’s epic single, which peaked within the top ten in ten countries in 2009. Lyrics from the song are presented beside contemporary art inspired by New York, an exclusive commentary from Russell and Danny Simmons, and a contextualizing text from legendary writer and activist Nikki Giovanni, as well as other academics. This concept of presenting songs, art, and interviews alongside each other offers an incomparable insight into the influence that hip-hop has on contemporary culture, and the unrivaled significance that this subculture has risen to. This collaboration between so many big names in music, art, and academia is a unique project.
The Art Album