QPL Honors The Borough's Hip Hop Heritage With Massive Audio Sculptures

Queens Public Library will commemorate the borough's hip hop heritage with "A Cypher in Queens", which features three nine-foot-tall audio sculptures by the Astoria-based sculptor Sherwin Banfield, honoring Jam Master Jay, the legendary DJ and member of Run-DMC who grew up in Hollis, Phife Dawg, from the St. Albans group A Tribe Called Quest, and Prodigy, from the Queensbridge duo Mobb Deep. The sculptures will be on display at Central Library (89-11 Merrick Blvd., Jamaica, 11432) from Sept. 19, 2019 through February 2020.

QPL's hip hop coordinator Ralph "Uncle" McDaniels will host the grand opening on Sept. 19 at 6 pm, and welcome Jason Mizell Jr., Jam Master Jay's son and the event's deejay, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, a poet and Phife Dawg's mother, who will read her work and talk about her son's legacy, as well as sculptor Sherwin Banfield.

The monumental structures feature the busts of each of the musicians placed atop of stacked speaker boxes, with integrated audio equipment and headphones, allowing visitors to listen to playlists curated by Banfield and streaming the music of each artist.

Other programming related to the exhibit will include a talk with Havoc from Mobb Deep, a hip hop art workshop with Sherwin Banfield, and a DJ workshop.

The program highlights QPL's dedication to documenting and celebrating the rich history of hip hop culture in the borough. Home to some of the most successful and prominent members of the hip hop community, including Nas, LL Cool J, Ja Rule, 50 Cent, and Nicki Minaj, Queens has been vital to the growth of the genre and its culture since its inception.

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