Chris Burden’s Urban Light sculpture, which sits in front of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable art pieces sitting within our county lines. Add to that a trio of L.A.-based rappers—Murs, Eligh, and Scarub, who collectively unite under the group name 3MG—and you wind up with an art experience that feels profoundly Angeleno—a cultural blend of contemporary art and musical dopeness. That’s exactly what happened the night of May 17th as the 3 Melancholy Gypsies, a portion of the hip-hop collective Living Legends, performed to a sold-out crowd at LACMA, the Urban Lights serving as a perfect backdrop to their lyrical flows.
The performance was only the first in a new series, Through the Mic: LACMA x Hip-Hop, a concept developed by the museum’s curators and Southern California rapper Nick Carter, who performs under the stage name Murs, which will consist of curated performances every third Thursday of the month by some of the best hip-hop artists Los Angeles has to offer. “We are trying to explore the diversity inherent in hip-hop, and pick out the best and brightest,” said Through the Mic co-curator Jason Gaulton, as we spoke to him in the courtyard of the museum, “it’s about appreciating what the city has to offer and what the museum has to offer.”
The night included an incredible and energetic performance by 3MG, an after hours viewing of Chris Burden’s Metropolis II, free summer passes to LACMA, and a high concentration of marijuana smoke, and was a perfectly balanced blend of high art and hip-hop cultures. The music had fire and energy, as each of the 3 Melancholy Gypsies performed solo and then came together as a group for the first time in over five years. Murs’ rendition of Easy E’s “Boyz-N-The-Hood,” Scarub’s hypnotic control over the audience as they swayed left and right at his command, and Eligh’s always bewildering lyrical flow had us feeling the joy that only an authentic hip-hop performance can provide at the end of our night.
Before the show, we sat down with Murs in LACMA’s directors lounge where he said he was “looking forward to bridging the gap between the hip-hop generation and the arts, LACMA to be specific, and encouraging us to come here…There is dope shit here for us!” It’s a mission that was definitely accomplished, as the line for summer passes after the show was filled with hip-hop listeners, young and old, drawn to the venue by the promise of 3MG’s performance, which did not disappoint.
We have quite a few hip-hop heads over here at Flaunt, and our post-Denim Issue days have been filled with the sounds of our favorite genre pulsating through the office from our executive editor’s computer. We never miss a chance to get some good hip-hop in our lives and, as such, we’re already gearing up for next month’s Through the Mic performance by underground acts Medusa and Dumbfoundead. Now that we’ve got our free summer passes to LACMA, we’ll also be enjoying all of the museum’s art beforehand. Surely, after the success of Thursday’s performance, we won’t be the only ones there.
Written by Brandon Jones