Hip-Hop vs Fine Art: Part 3

Contemporary hip-hop like contemporary fine art is made up of a variety of sub-genres and styles. Themes from the old school era and golden age of hip-hop are still influential in contemporary hip-hop culture. The artist Kendrick Lamar uses a confessional style of rap and explores themes of alcoholism, drug addiction and depression in his work. His lyrics are often dark and direct. Lamar’s work feels reflective, introspective and perhaps comment on the consequences of excess and indulgence.



“Pour up, drank, head shot, drank
Sit down, drank, stand up, drank
Pass out, drank, wake up, drank
Faded, drank, faded, drank

Now I done grew up round some people living their life in bottles
Granddaddy had the golden flask back stroke every day in Chicago
Some people like the way it feels
Some people wanna kill their sorrows
Some people wanna fit in with the popular that was my problem
I was in the dark room loud tunes, looking to make a vow soon
That I’mma get fucked up, fillin’ up my cup I see the crowd move
Changing by the minute and the record on repeat
Took a sip, then another sip, then somebody said to me”

‘Swimming Pools (Drank)’ 2012 by Kendrick Lamar.

Songwriters: Kendrick Lamar, Tyler Williams, Nikhil Shanker Seetharam. Swimming Pools (Drank) lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Warner/Chappell Music, Inc


The painter Cate White makes similarly confessional observations in her work. In her paintings White often depicts personal relationships and intimate moments between people she knows. White lives and works in Oakland, California and regularly pictures deprived urban areas. The urban environment in White’s work is gritty and real. The figures in her paintings are caught in a state of forming. They are partly represented and partly sketched out in outline. This gives the work a deconstructed style as though White is peeling back the layers of reality. There’s no visual security. Like Lamar, White’s introspection and reinvestigation of the urban environment closely mirrors trends in contemporary hip-hop.


Rory and His Mother and His Z, Cate White

Rory and His Mother and His Z, 2017 Acrylic, house paint, spray paint, glitter on canvas 60 x 80 ©Cate White


Pissing in the Hood by Cate White

Pissing in the Hood, 2017 acrylic, latex on canvas, 12 x 36 in ©Cate White


Catch up with Hip-Hop vs Fine Art: Part 1 and Hip-Hop vs Fine Art: Part 2


Further reading:










This entry was published on February 7, 2019 at 10:30 am. It’s filed under Art Thoughts and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: