On August 11th 1973, at a party in the Bronx, hip hop was born. The bash was hosted by 18-year-old, Clive Campbell - better known as DJ Kool Herc - who took to the DJ booth, having queued up heavily percussive, dance-friendly parts of songs - known as breaks - on two turntables. Little did he know that looping these breaks would birth the genre known as hip hop.
To mark the 50th anniversary of one of his favourite genres, RYCA has created two new hip hop-inspired limited edition pieces that are available exclusively at Enter Gallery now.
In today’s blog we’re revealing a little more about RYCA's love of the genre, and diving into hip hop culture to decipher some of the elements that make up the new piece - Sources of Hip Hop
A True Player
RYCA is an artist whose love of hip hop permeates everything from his sculptures to his limited edition prints. Across his oeuvre, RYCA has created numerous pieces immortalising the biggest names in rap music, from his sculptures of Biggie, MF Doom, and Eazy-E, to his Hip Hop Ingredients limited editions.
The first of RYCA's new exclusives is Hipfuckinhop - the latest edition to the artist's selection of enormously-popular sweary sayings, and the perfect statement piece for anyone who lives and breathes hip hop.
[INSERT HIPFUCKINHOP WHEN IN SYSTEM]
The second exclusive is Sources of Hip Hop - the most recent in a series of RYCA’s works to be inspired by the Godfather of Pop Art, Sir Peter Blake. The first was Elements of Acid House – a homage to UK rave culture, released in early 2022.
It’s bigger than Hip Hop
This new piece is a celebration of all things hip hop. From the street corner to the world stage, hip hop has grown into one of the world’s most prominent musical genres and cultural influences.
50 years on, its impact can be seen across everything from fashion, art and entertainment, to language, politics, media and technology.
“Rap is something you do; hip hop is something you live.” KRS One
The movement is founded on four main pillars, including rapping, DJing and turntablism, break dancing and visual art and graffiti – all of which get a salute in RYCA’s artwork.
RYCA’s piece features a number of nods to the fashion sported by hip hop’s biggest stars, and in particular, Biggie, who was one of hip hop’s earliest fashion authorities, regularly dropping brand names into his lyrics.
“Coogi sweaters, Jesus pieces' gotta do it big” – Lil’ Kim
RYCA feeds in two references to Biggie’s fashion prowess, including the colourful pattern of Australian knitwear brand, Coogi, and the Jesus piece chain - a staple of Biggie’s wardrobe, which has since been immortalised in lyrics by everyone from Nas and Kanye West, to Rick Ross and Timberland.
"My Adidas walk through concert doors, and roam all over coliseum floors." – Run DMC
Elsewhere in the piece, RYCA features ADIDAS trainers made famous by Run DMC, a snapback cap worn by everyone from N.W.A to Eminem, and a camouflage pattern, sported by the likes of Tupac and Public Enemy.
Sources of Hip Hop features a number of status symbols seen in hip hop, most notably the diamond grill sported by many a rapper, and the 1964 Chevrolet Impala, or ‘lowrider’ as it’s more commonly known.
“Cruising down the street in my ‘64” – Eazy-E
This car, which is associated with West Coast rap, has featured in some of the most memorable lyrics and music videos in rap history. Perhaps you’ll recall the car, jacked up on hydraulics, bouncing down the street in Dr Dre and Snoop Dogg’s Still Dre video, or maybe you remember Tupac throwing up the West Coast hand sign (which also features in the artwork) as he rides in a yellow impala in the video for To Live and Die in L.A.
RYCA also slips in references to some of hip hop’s most beloved party favours, from dime bag and blunts, to a favourite drink. Before rappers moved on to cognac and Cristal, it was all about malt liquor. Everyone from Eazy-E and Eminem to Wu-Tang and Warren G have rapped about this strong low-cost booze, and rappers like Tupac, Ice Cube and Biggie appeared in adverts promoting the drink.
“Olde East 800 yeah that’s my brand, Take it in a bottle 40, Quart, or Can,” – Eazy-E.
In mic drop fashion, the piece even pays homage to hip hop in the hand-finishing of the silkscreen print, using 23ct gold and varnish to ensure that each print is suitably bling.
Sources of Hip Hop is available exclusively at Enter Gallery now. Get yours here