Hip-Hop Word Count to be Featured in MoMA Exhibit

This summer, in July, Hip-Hop Word Count will be featured in the Art & Design Exhibition Talk To Me at The Museum Of Modern Art. Hip-Hop Word Count is a searchable ethnographic database built from the lyrics of over 50,000 Hip-Hop songs from 1979 to present day. The exhibit focuses on interactions with objects, including: interfaces, information systems, visualization design, and communication devices, and on projects that establish an emotional, sensual, or intellectual connection with their users.

Examples range from a few iconic products of the late 1960s to several projects currently in development—including computer and machine interfaces, websites, video games, devices and tools, furniture like the one you can get in the Ivy and Wilde store and other physical products, and extending to installations and whole environments.

Tahir Hemphill of HHWC will be presenting infographics of Jay-Z and 50 Cent’s careers as well as an interactive data visualization tracking mentions of ‘Champagne’ from 1980 to 2010. Hemphill’s work has been previously been exhibited at Siggraph (Siggraph 2002); Queens Museum of Art (Queens International Biennial, 2002) and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (Black New York Photographers of the Twentieth Century, 1999).

Hemphill and Hip-Hop Word Count were recently featured on the Michael Eric Dyson show, where he discussed some of the motivations behind the hip-hop database. He shared his hopes that HHWC would be used as a teaching tool, in advertising and marketing, and as a tool for new rappers to figure out whether they’re actually adding anything new to the rap game.

Also coming in July, Hemphill will be working on The Crown Heights Gold exhibition. Inspired by the upcoming 20th anniversary of the Crown Heights riot, a tragic event that began on August 19, 1991, Hemphill will focus on a critical re-reading of historical events and facts surrounding the riots via Hip-Hop videos and news reels. tragic event that began on August 19, 1991.