THE DAWN of hip-hop can be traced to a fateful Bronx back-to-school party in August 1973, so to celebrate the symbolic 44th birthday today, Google has teamed with two superstars to provide an epic global interactive jam.
Team Google Doodle includes lifelong fans of hip-hop spanning from California to Indiana to Louisiana, and its artists and engineers reached east to the legendary graphic artist and designer Cey Adams and the pioneering artist/host Fab 5 Freddy to create the tech titan’s dopest and most dazzling work of interactive art yet.
To land the graffiti-art aspect of Friday’s Doodle, the team traveled to the New York studio of Adams, the brilliant Def Jam creative director responsible for the looks of decades of iconic album covers, logos and ad campaigns.
Adams emerged from New York’s graffiti movement alongside Basquiat and Haring, and so lived firsthand how such visual art intertwined with the rise of rap.
“First and foremost, the [visual] art component predates the other art forms,” Adams tells The Washington Post’s Comic Riffs. “Certainly music has been around, but when it comes to graffiti — that’s been around since the late ’60s. It was a thing unto itself, that had its own movement.
“So by the time the late ’70s came around, and all the elements become a collective,” Adams continues, “graffiti art took a back seat to rap music. Music has always been universal, whereas art has an elitist edge to it because it’s shown in museums and galleries — it’s not as attainable. Music lives in the air, music is everywhere — it doesn’t cost you anything.
“That said, hip-hop is a visual movement, [and] graffiti will remain a necessary element of creative expression within the culture.”