Street artist and graphic designer Jason “Jay Shells” Shelowitz has been making a name for himself in the art world for his bold images and political statements. With his latest project, Shells is bombing the city using the clever angle of crafting street signs with rap lyrics and placing them at the actual location that inspired the lines.
ANIMAL teamed up with Shells on his journey, and he offered some insight on what inspired him to take on this ambitious work. “A lot of rappers call out their block,” he explained. “When you’re on a corner that’s called out in a song, I think it’s cool to know that.”
Shells says late Harlem rapper Big L inspired the first of the signs, using lyrics from the boom-bap classic “Lifestyles Ov Da Poor And Dangerous” affixed on a red sign with bold white letters. Other notables in the project include Kanye West, Jay-Z, KRS-One, Heavy D, Big Daddy Kane, Nas, Jim Jones, and fallen greats such as Heavy D and Guru of Gang Starr fame. In a classy move, late Pro Era rapper Captial Steez also gets a nod.
Shells takes some bold measures to get his signs up, even posting one in front of Brooklyn’s 73rd Precinct in honor of a lyric from M.O.P.’s Lil Fame and the track “Brownsville.” The artist also humorously defends his art, opting to employ a nerdy voice under the guise of an art student if cops give him any issues.
Check out the video from ANIMAL below and hit the gallery for some shots of the art.
Photos: ANIMAL, Ego Trip