Museum Mixtape

By Juan Obando |

Museum Mixtape is a video-album in which up-and-coming rappers perform improvised freestyle rhymes as live critiques of museums in the southeast United States. The piece aims to create a playful connection between hip-hop narratives and institutional art spaces, reflecting on the current state of cultural economies, institutional community engagement and emerging subcultural forms and their intersections.


Ease – Nasher Museum, Durham, NC
Ease – Nasher Museum, Durham, NC
Hello, My name is Ease
We’re at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
We’re gonna rap about some art today
Let’s have a good time. Check it!

I just snuck in, I don’t think the curator saw me
Gave the guards a few quick slips, but now it’s all me
The first painting that I see, super tall B
I think they call it “Snoop Dog just joined the Union Army”
People say it’s so whack. Me? I call it throwback
but Robert E Lee called, he said he wants his coat back

This dude makes me wonder, kind of like Stevie
He’s about to take off, like “Chill, my people need me!”
He’s the man for certain, those Ray-Bans are working
he looks like Superman, the Black Panther version
But I don’t know how he can rip designer clothes
Oh, snap! I gotta get me one of those
Tell them I need one for the summer
If I rock this in the club all the shorties gonna want my number
That joint is high, dude, it’s blowing up, fox too
By fall I need a silver one that says Fox News

Speaking of fly stuff, well this is harder
You hit the block with one of these, the cops will never start shit
You hold it low, you can block a hit from archers
Kick a persian in the hole and tell them “This is Sparta”

My name: Ease, I keep it fresher than others
And that looks like Precious’ mother
That was mean, let’s move on
I wonder what a boat would look like at the prom

Well, that’s Art History
Let’s thank the artist for solving that great mystery
I mean, for real, I did always wanted to know how that would like
Let’s keep going, though

Now, I don’t know what this is but I want it on a t-shirt
I’d walk to get that sucker ‘til my feet hurt
Rock at at my shows, dog
That design is so hot
And as for a hair salon I think Imma grow locks
The mirror with no-show pops
Drive well, no cops
I’m winning August 3rd I heard the ladies there are so hot
Police auto auction, my new car is so cop
And if I’d have to have a million dollars
I’d blow guap

I just win like Gretzky
Let me get outta here before these people catch me

Miss Angelina – Bass Museum of Art, Miami Beach, FL

Another beautiful day in the M.I.A.
Chilling in South Beach, It’s your girl Miss A
I love the sun and I love these palm trees
And, hey, I’m mad colorful, you know what I mean? Yup!
Straight outta the pool, What is there to do?
Oh, The Bass Museum. Alright. that’s cool
Let’s check it out, see what is about. Go give the art world a shout.

Hold up, Hold up. Went from the warm beautiful sun
But it’s freezing in here, this ain’t fun
It’s all white and there’s nobody here
It’s like a hospital, it’s kind of weird
It’s kind of creepy
But let me peak me some art, let’s go over here to the start.

Ok. Still no color, it’s all white.
I thought art was supposed to be bright
I mean, we’re in Miami and shit
But, alright, let’s see what else is good.

C’mon, son. C’mon, son!
I know this, it’s a McDonald’s cup
But is that art, bro? Man, whatssap?
If that’s art, I’m gonna quit rap pin’
put cups and museums and get my paper stacking

Man, it’s kind of lame. This whole thing, a damn shame
Where’s the people, the colors, the feeling?
I’m gonna stick to the streets to do my art dealing.

Peace, I’m out!

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MC Jumanji – Bass Museum, Miami, FL
Yeah, your boy JUMANJI
Woah! 305-Win It, South Beach, Miami All Day
There used to be some consideration for all these classics
Classes, down to the Bass for art passes
There’s something to be said for these iron-clad Valkyries hanging off of the balcony
And fogging up my glasses
Do I need an angel beside me to stay passive
Just to hit the street and communicate with the masses
Cuz some people are saying that the youth have been distracted
That they lost they touch with real art
Almost lost to the casket
Lost like crusades in Damascus
Reaching through the frame and the chassis
Old ink stained with molasses
Visual aesthetic in every Biblical passage
Enough to make it break the mold and pass it
I’m unchained
Children of heaven here to hold me back
Unsheathed is my spear every time my tongue is holding rap
Societal woes got kids of yesterday holding crack
But they don’t want the pipe they want the light
The virgin owe them that
Baby Jesus, raise up, time to run the game
12 apostles live your life and death is such a shame
Heaven opened up and god sent you holy rays
Drop down to they knees let ‘em give your name that holy praise
Trials and tribulations, lord knows it’s been a better day
Try and the fail, lord knows I’ve seen a better way
But I woke up believing, alive and in my bed today
And out my head came all those grand masters and what they had to paint
Find love in the stroke when the guardian is leading you
Find hate in the stroke when the guardian is leaving you
Open up your mind, it’s more than they are feeding you
Welcome to some culture, it’s really nice meeting you
J-U-M-A-N-J-I, find an artist in his prime
and I will paint on your canvas with my lines
Oil inside your mind, lines coming out just like a hurricane
Natural disaster, this is what happens when art meets rappers

Absalute – Ackland Art Museum, Chapel Hill, NC
Alright, rise and grind y’all
Welcome to Chapel Hill, North Carolina
We’re at the Ackland Art Museum
We’re actually here at the Contemporary Art department
I’m gonna give you a quick walkthrough

Look, my name’s Abs
You talk about the best, you gotta mention me
I snuck into the back of the museum
I skipped the fee
Contemporary means it pretty new, essentially
So no DaVinci, see, it’s all from this century

Some of this Art isn’t very understandable
Here’s a painting of a naked woman, with some animals
I mean, let’s move on
What we got next, man?
This looks like Charles Manson with a sex change

I know these artists are on their grind, like the X-Games
but this painting here stinks like sweat stains
It annoys me like road blocks, so I gotta move on
I won’t stop
And this next joint is so hot
It probably writes rhymes, it’s a robot!
It looks like it does everything but roll pot
I blow guap, my lifestyle’s exciting
Google Images has way better lightning

Picasso Baby, it’s art eh way Abs raps
and this next joint is cool because it’s “abstract”
But this next joint, I say it’s objective
It’s clearly childbirth from the baby’s perspective

Maybe I’m wrong, I know it’s not a Monet
You thought it was just us? Well, here’s the big homie
Look, if I made this you all probably laugh
This dude looks like Shrek on a body cast

Where’s the exit at? Am I warm or cold?
I’ve seen better artwork from a 4-year old
But this next joint? I’m kinda loving this
You could put it in your room and it will hide your ugliness

An MC with a Hammer and you ain’t touching this
I’m balling, but this is too expensive rug to get
If I was wealthy, I would put it on my dad’s floor
but this the type of rug you pay a hundred stacks for

A master of my craft, I’m no apprentice
The game needs me like this devil needs a dentist
I’m just playing
I really kinda truly, though
would probably would put this big thing in my studio
I’m just playing
I say these things to get a laugh
And I can see the picture when I’m stepping back
I had fun and I think they saved the best for last
but time is money so I gotta hit the exit fast

Lottie Dottie – SECCA, Winston Salem, NC
Hey, what’s up Winston Salem? This is your girl Lottie Dottie
We’re at the SECCA Museum in Winston Salem, North Carolina
Follow me, we’re gonna check this out
This building is crazy

Lottie Dottie, I’m about to party at the SECCA Museum
tri-fold let’s get it poppin’
Yo, I like this building right here, so dime these lights
keep the art and put the bar right here

Aw, Snap! This picture is taking me back
Reminds me of that Lincoln tunnel caught up in that traffic
Yeah, I’m not about that life
So next time I go, you know, I’m taking a flight

Oh word, What’s really good?
This reminds me of the rooftops from my old hood
Harlem, where I was born and raised
But in my later days, tri-fold is where I stay

yo, come check this out
Twinkle, twinkle, little star
I wonder what the hell you are, this artist really went too far
Yo, what was on his brain?
When he painted this was he a little insane?

Oh, wow! This is really amazing
Looks like 50 kids just drew all over this painting
And if you look real close
I think I see a ladder, a chair, and a boat

Yeah, this picture is grooving
Colors really look like they’re really moving
Yo, this artist’s got swag
You know why? Cuz it matches the Gucci bag

Yo, this building is crazy, we’re about to get 2,000 people up in here
And it’s gonna be the party of the year

Yo, follow me. Let’s check this out.

Now, this artist got loose. I think he was sipping on too much Grey Goose.
And what’s going on here? All I see is boats thrown up in the air
Now this picture got swag?
You know why? Cuz it matches the Gucci bag

And that picture is tragic but the rainbow gives it just a little magic
Yo, my time is out. About to leave, so I’m about to be out.
But you know my name, Lottie Dottie is my name and my claim for fame.
So, Lottie Dottie, I like to party at the SECCA Museum
Come on, tell everybody
I’m Lottie Dottie, I’m about to party at the SECCA Museum
Go tell everybody
I’m Lottie Dottie, we’re about to party at the SECCA Museum
Go tell everybody
I’m Lottie Dottie, we’re about to party at the SECCA Museum
Tell them

B.Surius – Weatherspoon Museum, Greensboro, NC
You can be my art piece
I say you can be my art piece

Do this remind you of the marijuana you’d be smokin?
You know the key to my heart is when you bust it open, bust it open?
See this right here? It’s like you got me still like a statue
And that’s you upon to me, while I am on top of you
And I say, now you got my head running in circles
And that makes me feel like I don’t even deserve you
Let me use you as my muse while you’re over there working
You look good on instagram but way better in person
I say you can be my art piece
You can be my, you can be my,
I say You can be my art piece
You can be my, I say you can be my
I say now you’re tripping on me and I can’t tell you why
When it comes to doing art, i think about it on the fly.
Do this remind you of a horse? of course.
It makes me think about me and you in Ferraris or a Porsche

You can be my art piece
I say you can be my art piece

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Easy Steve – Hunter Museum, Chattanooga, TN
Rapper in a museum, Who would have thought? Let’s make art!
Mr. Lonely, Mr. Lonely

Why do we focus on the good things in life?
Like, dancing with your girl or with your wife
Cuz to me, that doesn’t always seem right
Cuz there’s kids starving every day and every night
And people dropping bombs, and the endless fight
And the junkie on the corner wanna take that flight
Cuz all I wanna do is just get high
And I just wanna leave but I’ve lost my kite

This one looks like a boat to me
With no oars, someone come row for me
Cuz there is no home for me
Someone please just help me leave
Cuz they are just blocking Steve
Which means they are just blocking me
Hello Mr. Lonely, hello Mr. Lonely

This one shows that no all is perfect
And one day that will all surface
Cuz in the end, it was all worthy
Not because it just served its purpose

What’s your purpose? What’s your purpose?
Was it worthy? Was it worthy?
From the painting I just learned it
From the painting I just learned it

This is my girl screaming “please don’t leave!”
I’ll promise I’ll be better, give you nicer things
I saw this coming one night in my dreams
Funny how I never practice what I preach

Mr. Lonely, Mr. Lonely
It’s coming back on me
Mr. Lonely, Mr. Lonely
Mr. Lonely, Mr. Lonely

This when I come home
Walk in the door, no one is ever gone
And guess what? I never have to be alone
And guess what? Nothing ever goes wrong

See you later, Mr. Lonely, good bye Mr. Lonely
Trying to see you no more
Mr. Lonely, Mr. Lonely


Loonar Halo – Museum of Contemporary Art, Virginia Beach, VA
Riding thru the city
Brought my homie Kels with me
I’m sitting shotgun like I brought 12 shells with me
12 Shells hit him , Now he’s laying in Picasso paint
Art eating, I’m thinking and theiving to rob the bank !
I’m all the way live!
I Brought 9 with me (energy)
Waiting for the planets to collide
Yeah and he ride thru in a panic
See the scenes of the city in a view that’s panoramic
Now he stationed cause he’s stationed
But we never playing patient , for the patients…
Like a doctor, to the game…
You sorta waiting…
Then he’s has to spark them off
Then he bout to start them all
The race is about to start cmon
Looks like the man when he walking
He’d be beatboxing, like I’m rapping when I’m talking.
Get ya Walkmans!
Then we are about to walk with them
I spark the izm, every time I’m at the park with him
Yeah , keep rocking ,
Like pops here…
When he keep bopping
And bboying,
& You know?
He’d be stopping…
Like the man with the holographic vest on it
You never see his chest on his chest plate
Touch him in his chest plate and then connect
When he alley up and catch the X
And everything is rocking now
And everything is jumping
Like he freaking Johnny Stockton now
Shooting but he scoring, he exploring
The way that he paint the wave is foreign
And every day is a new one,
Yo what you gon do son ?

The Koolest – Contemporary Art Museum, Raleigh, NC
All around the world, all around the world
All around the world, all around the world

Want me to do a verse, dope like I’m moving work
Local rapper? Nah, I’m everywhere on this Google Earth
Brighter than the sun and stars in the universe
Wanna get the picture? You gotta get out and shoot it first
Yea, I done been from Cali to Dallas
Vegas in the Palace, everywhere on the map kid
Been there, done that, we run that
Might even find me in the desert with the pumpjacks
Im from a place where they might hit you with the pump, jack
Dirty Durham, Raleigh-wood, Chapel Hill, North Cack
You can hear them shots ring like a call back
It can be a dark place like they paint the walls black
Only thing in the hood is pain
Instead of taking the streets, I’d rather take the stage
Every hood in America look the same
My homies be on the corner, they selling and cooking ‘cain

All around the world, all around the world
All around the world, all around the world

Those two lines be the scene to me
Blue fields and they speak to me
Oil pumps going down-down
Getting that money, that greenery
Why do we hurt the earth for her worth
Somebody make it clear to me
Look so perfect but its plain to see
She hurting, B!
Green fields, white line
Im up in the night time
But hey! Sunshine
Cackalacky where you at baby?
Im on the map, hey!
Say what-what-what-what
Say what-what-what-what
Talkin bout some green and lines and shit
I don’t care about this ice, who is?
Hey! Look like some pizza with some caramel sauce
Look like some rocks and some indigo, go!


Juan Obando started working in his native Bogotá in 2005, where he received a BA in Industrial Design with a minor in Architecture and Urbanism from Universidad de los Andes. In 2010 he received his MFA from Purdue University and has subsequently been exhibiting throughout The U.S., Germany, The Netherlands, Australia, Colombia and Venezuela. His work has been selected twice for Colombia’s “Salon Nacional de Artistas” (2008, 2010) and reviewed by different international publications, including the Madrid-based journal Artecontexto and the South African magazine Itch. In 2012 he developed an editorial piracy project while on residency at Casa Tres Patios, in Medellín, Colombia, and was recently awarded a Rhizome Commission for his MUSEUM MIXTAPE (Dirty South Edition) project