Jean Grae, Jati Lindsay
WALK INTO THE Gallery at Flashpoint and you might expect to hear music. That’s because hip-hop has taken over the space as the muse for 16 artists for the show “M3: MCs, Mics and Metaphors,” through Aug. 29.

Artist Tewodross Melchishua curated the exhibition, and he asked his participants for one thing: to find inspiration for their work from a verse, a song or a specific MC. So there are portraits of major figures in hip-hop history like Afrika Bambaataa (by Ribqah) and A Tribe Called Quest (by Jeff McCauley), and stark action photographs of rappers like Jean Grae onstage (by Jati Lindsay).

Other media present a looser interpretation, such as an anime-style short film by Jabari Hall-Smith on the conquests of a superhero, set to his own music; white cotton pulp casts of MC objects by Ann “Sole Sister” Johnson that feel like lost artifacts; and a khaki jacket designed by Carmen Webber (of “Project Runway“) with a silk-screened image of Big Daddy Kane (by artist Brian Paupaw) on the back.

The show has a little bit for everyone, following Melchishua’s ambition to offer a “visual conversation.” He adds: “This whole idea of hip-hop and lyricism is about dialogue, either between generations or between artists. I wanted to create this circle where the works are speaking to one another.”

» Gallery at Flashpoint, 916 G St. NW; through Aug. 29; 202-315-1305.

Written by Express contributor Danielle O’Steen
Photo by Jati Lindsay/courtesy Flashpoint