Whether it’s on the explore page of your Instagram feed, uploaded by a reputable brand you follow or being reposted by an artist you adore, hip-hop art exists in a rich lane of its own on social media.
As you’ve probably peeped on XXL’s Twitter and Instagram, we come across the tastemakers of this content all day, every day. And based on the engagement and comments that the posts typically get, it's obvious that fans love to see their favorite rappers or their musical moments captured in creative ways. With the ever-evolving accessibility of the internet and applications that run on it, these fan-made designs are getting more and more impressive, putting our visual attention in a chokehold.
Visual artists all over the world spend hours at a time bringing their favorite rappers to life through paint brushes, pencils, clay, Photoshop, animation, emojis and anything else you can think of. Scattered on the internet is their work, typically on their Instagram profiles or personal websites, which contain masterpieces that add another layer to illustration. Some draw your favorite rappers into the nostalgic cartoons you used to watch on Saturday mornings. And some take a more physical approach and create special edition merch-inspired items like rap Pokemon cards.
No matter where things line up on the spectrum, seeing so many different art styles and the endless possibilities of imagination it takes to create them really does make you appreciate the type of content that's being put together. So today, XXL highlights 10 special artists from all over the world who make the most creative rapper-inspired art that you need to see.
Below are their respective Instagram profiles, images that prove that their artistic ability is on flamethrower and an overall rabbit hole of dope art content that is truly one of a kind. Tap in.
In one of his many hand-drawn sketches, Jatuur bridges the rap and Avatar worlds to craft an army of elemental microphone checkers. Lil Uzi Vert makes his way as a drip bender, Travis Scott a.k.a. La Flame emerges as a Fire Lord, of sorts, and Tyler, The Creator shakes the ground up as an earth bender, based on his hit song with Playboi Carti. The only one we need next is Wiz Khalifa to represent the air benders. It’s only right considering the chimney-like amount of smoke he puffs out on a daily basis.
Specializing in claymation, Spooky Woods has built up a reputable ability to recreate rappers and their album covers in an art style that requires far more precision and patience than others might think. Here, he blends the rainbow to recreate J. Cole’s KOD cover, Kanye West’s Graduation cover and Kid Cudi's Man on the Moon: The End of Day album cover. Talk about attention to detail, you don't see ceramics like this often.
With its consistent roughness, there’s no cartoon that matches the art of rap more accurately than The Boondocks. Visual artist Diffusedrap agrees, and uses the hood favorite to imagine our favorite spitters as characters in the late-night cartoon. As you can see in the graphic design of these Ski Mask The Slump God, J. Cole and YNW Melly album covers, she transports artists into Woodcrest perfectly. Huey and Riley would be so hype to peep their new neighbors.
Most of us used to sharpen pencils as an excuse to get up in class, but there were always students who did the same thing with purpose because they couldn’t lift the lead off the paper. Dope art comes from those kids today, hence the crispy portraits of Tyler, The Creator, Travis Scott and Childish Gambino drawn by artist Jacob Perez. With the most basic utensil, these creations show that non-digital art will never lose its firepower.
Whether you’re team Apple or you want to be different so bad that you’re team Android, everyone uses emojis. Taking things up a notch from text messages and social statuses, Yung Jake uses the cartoon figures to recreate rappers faces, as he does here with XXXTentacion, Playboi Carti and Juice Wrld. Don’t believe us? Zoom in. This is what peerless talent looks like, all from an iPhone widget.
The most unique part about a cartoon is the artwork. With an extremely versatile arsenal of styles, artist Dino Tomic draws public figures into many well-known television favorites. From Family Guy to The Fairly OddParents to Adventure Time, he gives viewers some insight as to how Snoop Dogg, Post Malone and 6ix9ine would look if they popped up on your screen as you’re binge-watching the classics. One of these shows better hire him, expeditiously. He can clearly design any cartoon style.
Using acrylic paint on canvas, Marit Spilde uses a precise level of detail to make Mac Miller, Frank Ocean and Nipsey Hussle portraits look like real photos. The color composition and attention to detail makes these drawings stand out the most. These are the type of pieces that deserve to be framed with 24 karat gold borders and put in museums. You can’t deny it.
The lifestyle showcased in Grand Theft Auto is often the very environment that rappers spit about being in or coming out of. The two worlds, whether real or virtual, have an obvious relatability, so artist Austin Showtime meshed them together. Crafting Young Thug’s Jeffery cover, DaBaby’s Baby On Baby cover and YoungBoy Never Broke Again’s 38 Baby as a loading screen, your imagination of an all-rap version of GTA will come to life after seeing these.
Exaggeration and emphasis are two key components of rap. And similarly, two things Threat Level God focuses on when creating his art. He draws disproportionate versions of Future and Lil Uzi Vert sharing the planet Pluto, Gunna as a snake sorcerer and the famous Kanye West bear wearing a gigantic Jesus piece. Flipping through visuals of this distinctive art style will have your eyes glued to the page or screen in whichever way it’s presented.
Whether you had the deck of cards yourself or watched your friends feign over them, the youthful memory of Pokemon has a special place in everyone’s heart. But what if the PokeMasters were replaced with rappers? Euphoric Supply provides a dope visual of what that would look like below. Choosing from options like OutKast’s tag team cards, Juice Wrld’s “Legends” card or Drake’s “Hotline Bling” card, which would you play first?