Jay Shells Brings The Rap Quotes Project to Atlanta
Welcome to Atlanta where the playas play
And we ride on them things like every day
Big beats, hit streets, see gangsta’s roamin’
And parties dont stop til’ eight in the mornin’
“Welcome to Atlanta” by Jermaine Dupri feat. Ludacris
After hitting New York, Los Angeles and Philadelphia over the past two years, street artist Jay Shells brought his Rap Quotes project to the Dirty South this week. Channeling his love for hip-hop, Shells makes official-looking street signs quoting famous rap lyrics that shout out specific locations, and then installs those signs on the street corners or in front of the locations mentioned in the track, bringing the music to life.
“A lot of rappers call out their block,” Shells said in Animal New York’s YouTube video. “When you’re on a corner that’s called out in a song, I think it’s cool to know that.”
For the Atlanta project Shells hung up site-specific signs from songs by Ludacris, Killer Mike, T.I., Drake, Big Boi, Future, Canibus and many others. The Rap Quotes took Shells all over the spread-out city from private homes, to clothing boutiques, to restaurants, and perhaps most prominently, to Atlanta’s plentiful strip clubs.
“Like every city that we go to for this, it’s just so cool to be in those locations—that tourist element to it—that’s why it’s so fun,” Shells said.
While Atlanta’s hip-hop scene had sparked numerous hits in the late-80s and early-1990s, it wasn’t really until the middle of that decade when Outkast, Goodie Mob and LaFace Records truly put Atlanta’s Dirty South sound into the national consciousness. From there Lil Jon innovated the crunk movement, which spawned numerous hits in the late ’90s and early 2000s. In the new millennium it’s been artists such as Ludacris, T.I., 2 Chainz, B.o.B., Soulja Boy and Young Jeezy who’ve kept ATL hip-hop flourishing.
“It’s a totally different vibe here that I was expecting based on the sound of the music,” Shells acknowledged. “I find that there’s a connection to the overall vibe in the city and the music that’s coming out of it. It feels like the music, and that’s the coolest thing for me.”