A Hip-Hop Head's Guide to Art Basel 2016

Are you ready?
Are you ready?
Photo by Alex Markow

Art Basel has become a new hub for rappers to express themselves outside of the recording booth with innovative exhibits and ambitious events. Emcees from around the country fly down to Dade County to dive headfirst further into the culture that has ruled the streets of Wynwood and Miami Beach for decades. While some rappers treat it as another gig, others fully embrace Miami’s most anticipated art week.

There are a handful of out-of-town rappers who are excited about making their way down to Miami to support the art community, like Kendrick Lamar, Young Thug, Nas, Ye Ali, Rae Sremmurd, and Smif-N-Wessun, just to name a few. Meanwhile, Miami natives like Denzel Curry and Prez P plan to hold their own showcases, and some major artists from the 305 such as Zoey Dollaz and DJ Khaled are turning up for Art Basel in their own unique ways. Check out these ten rappers who plan to go hard for Art Basel 2016.

10. Zoey Dollaz

What: “Finessing IV the People”
Where: 380 District, 380 NE 59th St., Miami
When: Friday, December 2, 9 p.m. - 4 a.m.
RSVP

Haitian rapper Zoey Dollaz uses any opportunity to help his homeland of Haiti. On December 2, the Freebandz rapper has teamed up with LIV’s resident DJ Stevie J, IV the People, and Exotic Official to host “Finessing IV the People." The elegant fusion of music and art will feature many of Miami's emerging visual artists and aims to showcase various artists and performers. The proceeds will go to the Sowaseed Foundation, which is a nonprofit organization that works with underprivileged orphanages in the Caribbean region, assisting islands with food, shelter, education, and healthcare.

9. Smif-N-Wessun

What: The Culture Exposure Festival
Where: The Bridge Miami, 4220 NW 7th Ave, Miami
When: Sunday, December 4, 12 p.m. — 10 p.m.
RSVP

The Boot Camp Clik will be representing Brownsville in Dade County during Art Basel. Smif-N-Wessun emcees General Steele and Tek will be embracing their love for the arts at the Bridge outside of Wynwood for the Culture Exposure Festival. Along with the Brooklyn rappers, Buckshot will also be in town to expose Miami to his brand of hip-hop while DJs like Statik Selektah and DJ Heron provide the dopest soundtrack to close out Art Basel with nothing but classic hits from New York City all the way down to the end of I-95. The veteran rap duo plans to embrace every piece of art they come across at the Bridge, whether it’s visual or in the form of music.

8. Curren$y

What: "The Hookup" Art Basel Edition
Where: 8&9 Showroom, 7814 NE Fourth Ct., Miami
When: Saturday, December 3, 4 p.m.- 10 p.m.
RSVP

NOLA native Curren$y is a natural-born creative. After putting out at least nine projects this year alone, the Jet Life rapper is, to say the least, in touch with his artistic aura. In honor of Art Basel, Spitta Andretti plans to host a major shindig at 8&9 Showroom in Miami just north of Wynwood. Rappers Smoke DZA and Malc Stewy are scheduled to host the Basel Edition of “The Hookup.” Once the festivities kick off at 4 p.m., art lovers can come through to gaze upon works of art on display inside the showroom and enjoy the sounds of DJ Heron and DJ Eyemax, who will spinning live sets outside.

7. Rae Sremmurd

What: 1800 Tequila x Billboard "IN FOCUS” Photography Exhibition and Up & Down After Party
Where: Nautilus Beach Tent, Sixty Hotel, 1825 Collins Ave., Miami
When: Friday, December 2, 8 p.m. (Invite Only)

Rae Sremmurd has to be the hottest duo in the industry right now. Both Swae Lee and Slim Jimmi have their own unique styles that can’t be compared to other artists in the game. After mastering the art of the “Mannequin Challenge,” the Brothers Sremm are preparing to embrace their love for art and photography by headlining 1800 Tequila and Billboard’s “IN FOCUS” Photography exhibition on South Beach. The invite-only event will feature galleries full of original work from renown hip-hop photographers Cam Kirk, Gunner Stahl, and Places + Faces. Rae Sremmurd plans to check out the exhibition before they perform at the official “Up & Down” after party at the Nautilus Beach Tent near the Sixty hotel.

6. Ye Ali

Upcoming Events

What: Swerve Basel
Where: Miami Live, 912 71st St., Miami Beach
When: Friday, December 2, 9 p.m. - 12 a.m.
RSVP

California artist Ye Ali is bringing his love for West-coast fashion and unique music to Miami for Art Basel. The TRAPHOUSEJODECI rapper and producer is thrilled to be the featured guest of honor for this year’s #SwerveBasel, which will serve as the most distinctive way to embrace creative art through exclusive apparel. Local acts Sam Stan and Twelve’len will perform before Ali with DJ Sean Bang, who has been appointed as the official host of the evening full of artistic expression through music and fashion. Cop your tickets here.

5. Nas

What: Hennessy's Project Wild Rabbit @ Art Basel
Where: The Market Gallery, 1420 Alton Rd., Miami Beach
When: Thursday, December 1, 8 p.m.-11 p.m. (Invite Only)

Nas is no stranger to Art Basel. The Queensbridge rapper has been known to partake in numerous art-based events throughout the last five years. This year, Nas is expected to participate in Hennessy’s Project Wild Rabbit at Art Basel. The gallery will showcase the artistry of graduate students from NYC’s Pratt Institute during Art Basel as part of Hennessy’s Project Wild Rabbit Design Challenge. On Thursday, December 1, artwork from these aspiring artists, in addition to a never-before-seen painting of Muhammad Ali by acclaimed artist & Pratt alumnus Kadir Nelson, will be on display at the Market Gallery in Miami Beach.

4. Gucci Mane

What: 1AM Vibes w/Gucci Mane, 070 Shake, Theophilus London & more
Where: Cafeina Wynwood, 297 NW 23rd St., Miami
When: Friday, December 2, 11 p.m.-5 a.m.
RSVP: Sold Out

After returning home from his prison stint, Gucci Mane has taken on a new appreciation for life, music, and art. The Woptober lyricist will take his passion for art to a whole new level by headlining YesJulz’ 1AM Vibes at Cafeina Wynwood on December 2. The party is a collaboraton with VEVO and PUMA. Unlike her past 1AM Vibe parties, Julz will be featuring artwork from photographer Sickamore and artist Mark Anthony Green. Along with Gucci Mane will be 070 Shake, Theophilus London, Speakerfoxxx, Austin Millz, and more. The event is sold out but tickets will be available at the Door for $50.

3. Pusha T

What: Play Clothes x Genius Pop-Up w/Pusha T
Where: Appt. Only, 3430 NW Seventh Ave., Miami
When: Friday, December 2, 2-8 p.m.

Although he’s known for his coke raps, Pusha T is a low-key art connoisseur. He was a special guest for Swizz Beats and Bacardi’s “No Commission: The Dean Collection” gallery in Wynwood last year, and this year he plans to make his return to Art Basel. Aside from attending the numerous galleries in the area, Pusha plans to hit Appt. Only to embrace his love for art and fashion at Play Clothes & Genius’ Pop-up event. With a Ciroc happy hour from 4 to 7 p.m., the G.O.O.D Music president is expected to arrive, and there’s no telling who he’ll bring with him. Find out more information on Appt. Only's website.

2. Theophilus London

What: The Bushwick Collective’s “House Party”
Where: Juxtapox Clubhouse, 537 NW 24th St., Miami
When: Friday, December 2, 7 p.m.-3 a.m.

After a two-year hiatus, rapper and singer Theophilus London recently made a comeback to the game with his new single “Revenge.” If you haven’t noticed by now, the Trinidadian-born Brooklyn native has taken full advantage of his return to music by appearing at a slew of events during this year’s Art Basel. Aside from hosting the official after party for Scope on South Beach, London will also perform at the Bushwick Collective’s (free) House Party with Pete Rock & C.L Smooth at the Juxtapoz Clubhouse and YesJulz’s 1AM Vibes.

1. DJ Khaled

What: DJ Khaled's Birthday Celebration At LIV: Art Basel Edition
Where: LIV at the Fountainbleau, 4441 Collins Ave., Miami Beach
When: Monday, December 4

Art Basel is a special time for DJ Khaled since the weekend packed with music and culture usually falls near his birthday. In honor of this year’s Art Basel, the DJ, producer, and world-renowned adlibber is set to serve as brand ambassador for Appt. Only Showroom’s exclusive events going down outside of Wynwood throughout the week. Artwork from Distortedd and a happy hour courtesy of Ciroc are enough to go turn up with We the Best Music Group’s founder. It wouldn’t be complete without a star-studded night at LIV to celebrate Khaled’s birthday and officially close out Art Basel.


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