Who defines what is art and what is not?

Is art, either as a form of self-expression or as an object of appreciation, restricted to elites and educated people?

Once upon a time, jazz music was born from the black people communities in the United States, a century after millions of them were brought as slaves from various parts of Africa.

The rhythm that originally was a manifest from socially oppressed and marginalized people, later, ended up becoming a symbol of sophistication and class, sold as a product to individuals with money and a “fine taste”.

Similarly, visual arts are, historically, communication and expression forms through painting, sculpturing or any other hand-made labor that resultes in something visible. It dates back to pre-history, when social class and academic instruction didn’t even exist. 

Millennia later, the developing of visual art as something aesthetically pleasing for conceptual judgement led academies to create the term “fine art”.

Although it is great that things like beauty and subjectivity with necessarily no functional purposes can be admired for what they are, it’s sad to see some types of art getting elitist to the point that it excludes the same people from which it was born: normal people, regardless of race, gender, skin color etc.

Hip hop, as a movement, and rap, as a music style derived from it, were also born in the ghettos, from black people, to express their thoughts and feelings. However, rappers and hip hop artist are still refused to be seen as creators of art by many, due to the fact that what they do doesn’t the fit the standards of what art was systematized to sound like. 

Fortunately, while the day in which we’ll all be able to recognize art, beauty and the freedom to self-expression in everything and as a right of everyone, some artists defy those patterns, making art in their own terms, regardless of conventions.

In the decade of 1980, in the United States, hip hop groups such as De La Soul and A Tribe Called Quest brought up their African roots by adding elements of jazz (which, at that time, was already seen as a sophisticated rhythm) in their songs, creating a style that would remind us how intrinsically connected are the old and the new, the “artsy” and the “noisy”, the “fancy” and the “hood”. 

In this playlist, we aim to bring those sounds in order to make you think, feel, dream, zone out, chill, wonder, question, but most of all: we want to inspire you to love art and to recognize it in all its forms, with no barriers, no discrimination, no limits; because we believe that appreciating art with an open mind  is a way to appreciate the human being as someone who owns the right to be exactly what they are.

Why Dali and Jay-Z?

Salvador Dali was a genius. His vision of the world didn’t really belong to the patterns of this world, and that’s what made him the biggest exponent of the art movement called “surrealism”. Everything he painted looked too crazy to be real.

He’s one of my favorite artists and his style fits perfectly to this playlist because it flirts with all the concepts we convey here: thinking outside the box, being yourself, being a dreamer, not being afraid to explore our deepest thoughts and desires.

Dali is illustrating our playlist logo, with his iconic moustache (note: the painting above is not from him; read below who is it from and why it's here) and a hat borrowed by Jay-Z, fictitiously, of course.

Jay-Z is an astounding rapper and an awesome businessman that also defies the pattern of what it means to be self-confident. He came from the bottom and became one of the most respected black men and rap artists ever. He never refrained from considering his music as art even when the media looked down at hip hop artists due to the cursing, loud music, large clothes and non-traditionally respectful way of acting and talking. 

This is a playlist that reunites stuff seen as opposite by the standards. Both Salvador Dali and Jay-Z make art that transits unapologetically between what’s considered acceptable and what’s not. 

There are other reasons why I choose them to name this playlist (read here my explanation on why I first wanted to put at least one female artist name but ended up not doing it).  

Well, there’s a song by Beenzino that mentions Dali and a song by Jay-Z that fuses rap and jazz; both inspired the idea for this playlist.

And, yeah, because “Dali and Jay-Z” is a nice rhyme.

What kind of music will we find here?

Mostly jazz rap, but also hip hop, R&B, lounge and ambient music, and everything that may sound like of what it would be if a work of fine art and a rap album had a baby. 

Since we’re here to celebrate diversity and defy normativity, I will also do my best to highlight artists out of the male-American spectrum, representing my country (Brazil!), bringing female artists and artists from other countries too.

In the picture above: a painting by Jean Michel Basquiat. If you don’t know him, get to know his story, it pretty much synthesizes the blending of streets art and fine arts, like we want to do here.  http://basquiat.com/

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About the curator: Ana Clara Ribeiro

Music, art and entertainment have always played a big role in the life of Ana Clara Ribeiro. She grew up in Gurupi (an inland city in Tocantins, the youngest State of Brazil), listening to all kinds of music, reading, writing, watching stuff and connecting them to her personal beliefs and other ideas she read about.

As she became a lawyer and a writer, all the topics to which she is constantly exposed continued to give her insights about life, people and the universe, through the lenses of art.

Nowadays, when she isn’t analyzing lawsuits or producing content about Law, Marketing, Business or Music, she is certainly doing something related to her various personal and professional projects, always to the sound of a playlist as eclectic as her life.

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