A great song can compel us to create a visual accompaniment to the music in our minds. Lyrics, at their essence, are stories. Even the incoherent jargon of mumble rappers are narratives in their own unique way. In a creative partnership to celebrate lyrics, Genius, the world’s biggest encyclopedia of music, and Dropbox, the leading global collaboration platform, teamed up to launch Lyrics to Life in Los Angeles. The art experience aimed to bring songs from Nicki Minaj, Sia, Tame Impala, and other artists to life in mini art installations that you can can touch and interact, making it a fully immersive event.

“We believe people should have the freedom to create amazing things without limitation, especially when it comes to the technology and products they use to collaborate,” said Carolyn Feinstein, Chief Marketing Officer at Dropbox. “Through our partnership with Genius, we’re excited to announce Lyrics to Life—a new collaborative experience that will show the industry what’s possible when individuals, teams and ideas come together.”

“Everything we do at Genius revolves around bringing music fans deeper into the songs and lyrics they love,” said Brendan Frederick, Genius’s Chief Content Officer. “We’re excited to team up with an innovative company like Dropbox on a project that gives the creative world a new way to experience the brilliance of lyrics.”

The pop-up gallery was held in an event space in an quickly gentrifying industrial area in the Arts District in Downtown LA. Each art installation was housed in its own section of the space with the lyrics that inspired the work presented right before or next to it. Most of the presentations were decent, like the Animal House “My Girls” inspired artwork by Mokibaby and the Nicki Minaj “Moment 4 Life” inspired artwork by Peggy Nowland were visually engaging. However, I was pretty disappointed with the piece inspired by The Notorious B.I.G’s  “Juicy”. Maybe I’m being biased, but that song was one of the most icon compositions, not just in hip-hop, but in mainstream music. The artwork presented was just Biggie’s legendary opening line “It was all a dream” made into a text sculpture. That entire song was a visually stimulating experience, as you can picture Big reading Word Up Magazine, the 50-inch screen, money-green leather sofa, and the two rides (one with a limousine with a chauffeur), so something much grander could’ve been done. Not hating on the artist who made the piece (Typoe), but you could practically direct a movie based on “Juicy”‘s lyrics.

Overall, it was a cool activation by Genius and Dropbox, capitalizing off the Instagrammable art craze that’s going around (i.e. 29 Room, Ice Cream Museum). There were a lot of basic, aspiring influencers who tried too hard to get the perfect pose down, but as a fan of music and art, I like Lyrics to Life and hope that there are future executions. I wished they actually played the respective songs, so those who aren’t familiar can hear the real inspiration.

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Rex Pham

Originally from the Bay Area, who then moved to Los Angeles, then out to New York City. NYU Stern MBA c/o 2014. Inspired by the grind of NYC to create something that has value. Lover of all things digital, culture, and brand strategy.

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