Hip-hop is as much about what is said as it is and perhaps even more so about the assertion of power and influence, which is why most hip-hop artists boast themselves and their power. Before these artists can start talking about other things they must first prove to the world that they do in fact matter, and are in fact important. This is the triumph of hip-hop. And oftentimes I hear people ask what a particular rap or hip-hop song is about and really its not so much about anything other than an expression of existence and importance of the voiceless and unprivileged. Unfortunately, the success of Hip-Hop could be seen as a double-edged sword especially because it has been around for so long. Because the influence and ubiquity of hip-hop is no longer questioned after being around for over 30 years. Now, hip-hop artists have the power; they sort of don’t need to prove it, although many still feel they do and end up molding themselves to a preexisting way of making music, which often results in it being unauthentic. This is why people are asking if hip hop is dead, and it very well might be on its way down not in terms of ubiquity, but in terms of quality and novelty, except for a few artists. Its like you’ve won the power to say things, but now what?
I think it’s so silly when people ask me why I make art or why I made these ink paintings. Because I made them the same reason an art critic is asking me these questions and the same reason anyone in the world does anything. If you break down a physical thing you get to protons, neutrons and electrons, and I think they discovered even smaller things. Likewise, you can break down a person’s motive for self-expression. And what you end up with are these things. Survival, sex, and a felling of self-importance. These are the core elements behind the reason anyone does anything. Everything someone does relates back to these core things. Everyone wants to survive, to fuck/bring offspring into the world, and feel powerful/existence whether they are conscious of this or not. Indeed, that’s WHY I make art: power/sex, and I fear that not making art threatens my survival/existence. Why I am interested in art is something I would answer differently. These people should ask why I am interested in art or to tell them ABOUT my art, rather than why I make it. And I don’t like when someone gives different reasons for making art other than those core things I just mentioned. And today the problem of survival is virtually solved. If you work a slightly above minimum wage job then you will survive. So today in America people really do things for two reasons: Sex and a feeling of importance, which are related. If I could have sex and feel important all the time, while knowing I have the means to survive, I might not be making art so seriously, or doing anything at all. Why work when you can afford to just play?
This is Lil Wayne and the come is his music. That’s Picasso, and that is my drawing from my “Drawing and Masturbating” series.
Or the top image is a portrait of Murakami/Warhol/Picasso, if we stick within the visual art references.
To me the connection is apparent, and shouldn’t be something revelatory. Every piece of art that Takashi Murakami, Lil Wayne, me, Picasso, and any other artist creates is really, underneath the physical art object, the motive of power and sex all of which are inextricable from each other. Each one of Murakami’s pieces is his offspring, which he took so much time and energy to create. And he makes a lot of work just like lil wayne which infiltrates and impregnates our culture. The two masters stand back and admire their offspring as they are being looked at, used, drooled over, celebrated, glorified and receive much attention. Just like people enjoy impressing others with the accomplishments of their children. The semen could symbolize this feverous creative energy just waiting to be released and splatted? Splattered? SplAtTTTerd?! onto the people of this world.
It is a worthwhile argument to say that music illustrates this theory perfectly because of its ability to be ubiquitous at the same moment, and thus impregnate more ears than a sculpture can. (maybe a sculpture is like sex involving 2 people, and music can be like a mass orgy—like a concert). I think this is why music is so linked to sex even more directly than art. Furthermore, music has a dominating power over the body. It surrounds the body and the body cannot escape it and thus the body can respond through moving or dancing if it enjoys the music. In addition, two people listening to music will hear it the same way whereas observing a painting is a more solitary activity because the whole of the painting is presented to you at once, and you cant synchronize the way your eye moves through it with the person next to you, whereas music unfolds sequentially which two people can (more or less) experience at the same time and place equally. The plethora of tracks Lil Wayne makes, his drive to create says something about his sexuality/sex drive and his drive to exist. More on his studio practice soon.