Project 39 is a compilation of 39 videos, which have each been inspired or influenced by a Hip Hop lyric. The number 39 was chosen as this year, 2018, it has been 39 years since the first Hip Hop song was released- which is believed to have been Sugarhill Gang’s song Rapper’s Delight. For the past 39 years Hip Hop has grown, developed and inspired many while maintaining its sometimes infamous realness.
As a Hip Hop fan I wanted to create a body of work that highlighted the diverse nature of it and avert the focus from its negative traits towards the more positive. Hip Hop is massively inspirational to many: It can be used as a platform for Black men and women to discuss their thoughts and feelings. This is important as society and Hip Hop culture, which can be seen as synonymous to Black culture, pushes a hyper and sometimes toxic image of masculinity towards the world. Although plenty Hip Hop artists adhere to this image, there are many that neglect this. Rappers who are good examples of this include; Kendrick Lamar; Tyler the Creator; Tupac and J.Cole. songs including; u by Kendrick Lamar where the artist opens up about his suicidal and depressive thoughts; Changes by J.cole where he reflects on his experiences as a Black man, living in a struggling Black neighbourhood and the violence he witnessed; and All Falls Down by Kanye West where the rapper dissects the topic of consumerism and self-esteem, also show how many rappers use Hip Hop as a platform to discuss important, intellectual and very relevant issues in society.
Each video is typically around 1 minute long, with very few exceeding 5 minutes. Hip Hop, as mentioned previously, can be seen as synonymous to Black culture, the themes that arise within my videos include; racism, police brutality, poverty and beauty standards. As Hip Hop is a genre of music that is known for sampling bits of music from other genres, I decided to use this ideology to create 39. The videos are sporadic and very different to one another, however, I bring them all together to create one body of work. Inspiration for this project has been sourced from many elements including heated debates with friends, literature especially the dissertation by Israel Kujore titled Black masculinity in Hip Hop, The work of and of course the lyrics of the Great Hip Hop artists I have listened to endlessly over the past year.