Jay Z Honoured With ‘Book Of Hov’ Art Exhibition In Brooklyn Public Library

A contemporary multimedia Jay-Z-inspired art exhibit with thousands of personal objects from the rapper’s career was unveiled at the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central branch on July 14.
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he compilation comprises never-before-seen photos, musical instruments, a life-sized replica of the recording Bassline studio where the “Can’t Knock The Hustle” vocalist recorded some of his first hits, and a mural made of hand-cut and scanned news clippings illustrating the path through Jay-Z’s 13 albums and the companies he founded like Rocawear.

The exhibit is unrestricted and open to the public five days a week during the library’s normal hours of operation. 

Undoubtedly, Shawn Corey Carter stage name Jay Z is one of the world’s best-selling music artists, with over 140 million records sold. He was birthed in New York and brought up in Bedford-Stuyvesant’s Marcy Projects to later become the first hip-hop billionaire in 2019.
The 24-time Grammy Award winner is the wealthiest musical artist in the world with a net worth of $2.5 billion, according to Forbes.

The library designed the massive exhibition as a surprise for the rapper, who attended its inauguration on Thursday with his missis Beyoncé, his inner circle and business associates including music and documentary producer Questlove, athletes Jayson Tatum and Robinson Cano, musicians Fabulous, Lil Uzi Vert, DJ Khaled and the director Josh Safdie.

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he exposition is titled “Book of HOV” and presents the rapper’s career in chapters. The name emanates from back in 1993 when he got the nickname ‘HOV’ as he was recording some of his first records in a studio and people noticed he was improvising all his lyrics. They claimed his capacity was miraculous and mocked him by calling him J-Hova. 

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”’e Book of HOV” is one of the largest in-house exhibitions the 350,000 square-foot space has presented. It extends through multiple rooms, has immersive experiences and it even starts from the veneer. A cube covered in LED screens flashes scenes from Jay-Z’s music videos in the library’s plaza, and behind it, the facade is covered by a display of song lyrics.’e Book of HOV” is one of the largest in-house exhibitions the 350,000 square-foot space has presented. It extends through multiple rooms, has immersive experiences and it even starts from the veneer. A cube covered in LED screens flashes scenes from Jay-Z’s music videos in the library’s plaza, and behind it, the facade is covered by a display of song lyrics.

One space of the library features playable turntables and vinyl with samples used across Jay-Z’s catalogue, surrounded by tape reels, floppy disks and CDs of his original music.

Production designer Bruce Rodgers told the New York Times the exhibit is “probably the most intense installation I’ve ever been involved in.”

“We didn’t want to interrupt the normal workings of the library, but we wanted to make a statement,” Rodgers uttered to the Times. 

Meanwhile, the organizers are optimistic that the collection inspires New Yorkers and upcoming rookies who look up to the iconic rap star, to figure out his journey and let it be a blueprint for theirs. 

© 2023 • Story By Edem Latsu Nukafu
Writer’s email: edemlatsu093@gmail.com


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