Zaven Najjar Transforms Rap Lyrics Into Minimalist Film Posters

Some of the most recited rap lyrics from the last few decades have been revamped in the style of Minimalist French film posters. Paris-based Zaven Najjar is responsible for this unexpected mash-up of styles and eras, tapping his background in both directing and drawing. The combination of director/illustrator might seem like a strange one at first, but there have been several notable talents straddling graphic design and film, such as Saul Bass who has worked on movies such as Psycho and North By Northwest.

Najjar’s efforts feature standouts from both American and French rap worlds, including 2pac, Wu-Tang, and Dr. Dre. This minimalist poster style has blown up on platforms like Tumblr and Flickr in the past few years, covering TV, books, and now rap. In a way, they’re almost like artistic memes, aimed at those who are already in on the subtle visual references featured in the movies. This collection, though, is more accessible thanks to the lyrics featured on the actual poster as captions to the images.

The posters succeed in paying homage to minimalist film posters in a number of ways. They epitomize the essence of their lyrics by honing in on a specific object or symbol used by these masterful rappers, similar to movie posters that feature a distinctive scene, outfit, or product that defines the movie’s overarching feel. These kinds of small details may seem arbitrary to some diehard rap fans, but just like in the movie industry, their rappers carefully considered each reference.

The lyrics are distilled down to a collage of geometric, color-blocked designs, often with repetition and symmetry to achieve a flat, minimal look. Most of the posters have a distinctly contemporary feel, and yet others seem to reference the ’50s/’60s Nouvelle Vague movement in French film, which holds a similar attention towards repeated symbols or objects.

Najjar not only revives some of the most repeated rap lyrics of years ago, but also puts some all-star French rappers on the international wavelength. Hopefully, these “Raposters” will bring the same kind of in-the-know fan base for the rap game as for the film industry.

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