Guest Star: "If A$AP Rocky Called Out A Corner, I'd Be Happy To Do It"

Monday, Apr 1, 2013 2:45PM

Written by SOHH for Jay Shells

[After raising eyebrows last week when footage of his new Rap Quotes campaign went viral, street artist Jay Shells gives SOHH readers the inside on why he's throwing up your favorite rapper's lyrics throughout the New York streets.]

From the time the idea hit me to the time I put the signs up, it was only about two weeks. I don't like to waste time. If I get a good idea, and this is always true in life, there's a chance that someone somewhere else has the same idea and if you wait, someone's going to do it first. I had the idea and I wanted to go as quickly as I could to get it out to the world.

Luckily I was able to do it and so I got three up in three days and now I've got six more that I'm looking at right now that are going to go up over the weekend and I've got more on the computer that I'm going to print. Now that this is going around, people are sending me verses that I might have missed although I'm only able to use some because people aren't sending me specific enough lines. It's going to be ongoing for a while.

It started with verses that I was able to think of on my own. I'm 33 and I've lived through a good portion of hip-hop's history so a lot of this came to me as I started thinking about it. I reached out to friends who supplied some and that's it. It really was between my friends and I. It wasn't really something you could find online although I did try and found a few. I'm not limiting it to rappers from New York but the mentions have to be about New York.

I have a Yelawolf verse from his brand new sh*t that just came out a few weeks ago where he's calling out the Chelsea Hotel on 23rd Street. He's not even a New York emcee and he's calling out spots. A lot of the signs that I made were from artists I listened to frequently because they were able to come to me right away but that's why I'm glad to open this up publicly for people who are like, "What about this! What about that!"

I've been going back and forth with Domingo, the producer, who is sending me stuff I completely forgot about like a Chubb Rock verse where he's calling out a corner in Brooklyn and I'm happy to do anything like if A$AP Rocky called out a corner, I'd be happy to do it. He's always repping Harlem but I haven't heard him call out a specific corner.

It can be someone super popular or somebody very low but it can't be someone so unheard that nobody is going to know who the f*ck it is. It's a pretty wide range of emcees and if I know them, I'm pretty well-versed in hip-hop, I'm going to make a sign.

I fly solo on these. Too many people could draw too much attention and I think if you roll into a neighborhood you're not from with a crew, it's giving off the wrong impression. I go alone and I have one lookout. In the last case, it was this videographer who's a f*cking dope photograher and lookout. He's kinda looking through the camera with one eye and out to see what's gonig on with the other. We were really successful and so I'm going to keep him around as my partner in crime for this project.

Jay Shells is an artist and graphic designer based out of the New York City area. He is an avid hip-hop fan and has worked on numerous street-based projects over the past few years.

Check out Jay Shells' "Rap Quotes" project:

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