The Hip Hop Project is an endeavor undertaken as part of work for the Media Lab at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Using the words from rap lyrics as key-word searches through the Met's digital archive of over 200,000 works of art, users can experience a curated "tour" of the work at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. This project engages visitors who love rap music and provides them with a unique lens through which to view the museum's collection. Although the rap lyric may not be directly correlated to the art work in meaning, it allows visitors to see work that they may not have otherwise known existed.
Design. Technology. Art.
The Hip Hop Project title is a nod to the Met's own The Artists Project. The domain name, RappersDelight.nyc, pays homage to The Sugarhill Gang’s song, Rapper's Delight, largely considered to have popularized Hip Hop music. The project was created using Genius, the world’s biggest collection of song lyrics and crowdsourced musical knowledge. The code uses RapGenius-JS which is made possible by the Genius API. The project also pulls data from the Met's API developed by the Met's Digital Media department. An ethnographic research study was conducted to determine the 13 rappers used in the project. Participants were asked two questions: (1) who their favorite rappers are and (2) who the most influential rappers of all time have been. The participants in the study are a group of cultural influencers including a Grammy Award Winning R&B singer, a crew from The Baisley Housing Project in South-Side Jamaica, Queens, and a comedy writer (and D.J.) who is known for writing "Slow Jamin' the News" with President Barack Obama on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Design. Prototype. Iterate.
The Hip Hop Project was developed by Regina Flores Mir as a proof-of-concept for a potentially larger research project. As a part of this beta release, there are a number of constraints that have been used. For example, the app is designed to only search for the first 60 unique words in a rap song and only return a maximum of 25 images from the Met. There are a number of potential directions this project could go in. For further questions or feedback please contact Regina on Twitter.