When we noticed some of the most recognized rap lyrics popping up everywhere around town from alleys to spin studios, we knew there was something specific behind this visual movement.
Meghan McGrath is the creator and artist behind Street Script, both a business and art movement. The basis of Street Script is to bring a form of beauty to the hip-hop’s otherwise dirty lyrics through illustration and design.
We caught up with Meghan to talk about how Street Script started and find out about some exciting news for 2015:
How did Street Script start?
It’s hard to pinpoint when it all started. It’s been a work in progress for years, with a few key events that made it what it is today. I’ve always written words and lyrics on paper, but this one moment really made it clear for me. In 2013, I was working at Fortune Sound Club; it was a particularly slow night, my friend asked me to sketch out an Ice-T line: “Gangsters don’t dance we boogie.”
The sharpie I used was barely even working, but we thought it looked nice so we put it up on the bar. Then something weird started happening; people started coming up and taking photos with it and posting it on Instagram. This little piece of paper really drew a positive reaction from people. It was cool. It all hit me that night. I started Street Script a few days later.
When did Street Script start gaining recognition?
I first started putting lyrics up in the streets almost a year ago, and it began to exist in public spaces. The element of surprise is something I like to include in my work. I think it’s the fact that it looks different from other stencil and graffiti street art. That it’s not supposed to be there in the first place is what made people recognize it initially.
So Street Script was always meant to become a business?
Yes. Always. I won’t front like it’s something I was doing anyways and all of a sudden everybody happened to notice. I’ve always been interested in business and marketing. I think it’s a very important part of good art. The truth is, art doesn’t exist without it. Even non-marketing is a marketing strategy. I think a lot of people don’t like that about me. They think it makes me less legitimate, but to tell the truth, I don’t really care.
Why hip-hop instead of other genres that can also have raunchy lyrics?
Hip-hop means something to me. When I was a kid, I had a really dope sister (I still do). I would sneak into her room all the time to listen to her CDs and just wanted to be a part of it. Brand Nubian, A Tribe Called Quest, and Wu-tang – I was listening to things a nine-year-old wasn’t supposed to listen to. I couldn’t do another genre because hip-hop is all I know.
What’s the best part of your Street Script experience thus far?
There is nothing more exhilarating than a stranger accepting your work. My first solo show in July was a highlight because all these people I’d never met came to see the work. Just knowing that a connection has been established makes you feel like you can do and create anything – and that it’s going to be okay.
Where do you see Street Script going?
It’s changing in the New Year. I can’t disclose exactly what’s happening but Street Script will get a facelift; new name, new art, more weird ideas, bigger things and new places. That’s really all I can say at this point. Wait and see!