Queens Public Library is devoted to recognizing, documenting, and celebrating the history of hip hop culture, and we’re bringing a new six-month exhibit to Central Library this fall that honors three hip hop pioneers.
A Cypher in Queens features nine-foot-tall “audio sculptures” of three Queens artists who have died in recent years: Prodigy, from the Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep; Phife Dawg, from the St. Albans supergroup A Tribe Called Quest; and Jam Master Jay, the legendary DJ and member of Run-DMC who grew up in Hollis.
Each sculpture consists of a bust of the artist that sits atop stacked speaker boxes, inspired by Carnival season on the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Visitors will be able to listen to the music of each artist with wireless headphones from the Library’s Media Center.
“These three hip hop icons were chosen for their individuality, unique style of delivery, excellence, and contribution to the art-form of hip hop,” writes artist and creator Sherwin Banfield. “Each audio sculpture celebrates not just the artistry of hip hop culture, but also serves as a memorial for the genius of each artist representing Queens.”