Sharine Taylor on Michael Ford and the role of architecture in hip hop

Back in 2019, Sharine Taylor interviewed Michael Ford, an architectural designer and the founder of the Hip Hop Architecture Camp, to discuss the intersection of architecture and hip hop culture:

One of the things that I notice is that a lot of the times when house and home are showcased through hip hop music videos, they embody the ethos of modern architecture. Is that an observation that you’ve also noticed as well?

That’s true. Even if you look at, not just movies, but music videos, for example, Drake’s “Hotline Bling” that had a very modernist take to it. But hip hop, I won’t say that all of the movies or music videos that show housing or architecture are always modernism. I think hip hop is a global culture and just due to the fact that it is a global culture, many of those backdrops are different. Belly had a lot of modern architecture, but if you look at movies today or music videos, there’s a lot of different styles that are being shown.

Black Panther‘s release brought the discussion of Afrofuturism back to the forefront, so it’s a variety. One thing that modernism does provide that some of the other styles don’t is that modernism is, you can argue, about removing ornamentation and stripping things down to the bare essentials — which is problematic in and of itself and another discussion completely. What are the bare essentials? But it allows the artist and the work to really resonate within that space where the architecture is present. Again, there’s not as much ornamentation, so an artist normally takes presence in the shots.

(h/t Nicolas-Tyrell Scott)

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