Jay Z as Guest Lecturer? - Schooling Students in Fine Arts and Architecture

Jay Z's memoir "Decoded" unveiled the mysterious double entendres and artistic references within his lyrics in a very sophisticated manner which open the eyes to various academics around the nation to the power and artistic genius behind rap lyrics. One of those academics is Dr. Shawn Peters at University of Wisconsin Madison. For the past two decades the hip hop generation has been unofficially led by Sean Carter, not only the pursuit of lyrical mastery, but the manner in which the constituents conduct themselves as businessmen, fashion and the endeavors we care to venture down and ultimately the cultural relevancy of elements to hip hop. As Jay Z continues to disseminate hip hop's fifth element, "knowledge", his lyrical assault on our ears is heavily saturated with knowledge for those who dare decipher the stories of his life experiences delivered through his music.

As Part II of my presentation titled "Hip Hop Inspired Architecture and Design" at University of Wisconsin Madison,  I wanted to awaken the students senses to the content behind Jay Z's "Picasso Baby". Similar to his other songs, its not hard for the students to recite the lyrics, but far too many have limited knowledge about the topics being described in those lyrics. I took the students on a journey that I hope they will never forget. 

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Picasso's Cubism Inspired by African Art - Picasso Baby

Picasso's introduction to the hip hop community during many of Jay Z's lyrics and most notably, his song, "Picasso Baby" is just the latest node in the constant cyclical nature of black artistry merged with mainstream art movements.  . Nadeen Pennisi of Palm Beech State College identifies the specific inspirations for Picasso's first work of Cubism, Les Demoiselles d'Avignon, as copper covered reliquary figures from the Bakota (a.k.a. Kota) people of African state of Gabon and masks from the Dan people from the Ivory Coast. If not for Picasso's introduction to African Art, would Cubism exist?

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