Hip Hop Home: Jay-Z & Kanye West as Design Gurus

Hip Hop Home: Jay-Z & Kanye West as Design Gurus

Sarah Coffey
Apr 12, 2011

"I want to make the extraordinary ordinary." Jay-Z's new lifestyle site, Life + Times, uses this quote to introduce the reader to his curated collection of art, design, music, sports, tech, and style. Like Kanye West, Jay-Z is establishing himself as an online tastemaker with a dedicated following of designophiles. If you think about it, who better to guide you through the world of luxury living than a multi-millionaire rapper?

Although the Black Album memorializes his story as a struggling kid from Brooklyn, Jay-Z's spent more years of his life as a successful businessman than a street criminal. In 2010, Forbes estimated his net worth at $450 million — more than enough to buy Italian modern sofas and conceptual Dutch chairs, which is what he seems to like.

His new site has a high-design slant that includes profiles of Italian import store Orange Skin, cutting-edge Dutch company Droog, and London-based architect and designer Nigel Coates.

Kanye West — who's been referenced many times by design blogs like this one — might not rival Jay-Z in the business arena, but he has a leg up on his mentor in the design world. Kanye was named 2010 style-maker of the year by the Accessories Council, he's been called up to serve on architectural awards panels, and Time Magazine named him one of 2011's best Twitterers, saying, Kanye West has used Twitter to spout off on just about everything from home decor ("I specifically ordered Persian rugs with cherub imagery!!!") to travel ("Hotel bathroom got me feeling like a king!").

Just to drive the point home, here's an amazing example of a tweet from last year:

What's your take? Do you follow Kanye West or Jay-Z for design-spotting? Let us know in the comments below.

DESIGN ON JAY-Z'S LIFE + TIMES
The Alhadeff Approach: Studio Alhadeff Architects
Coates of Arms: Architect and Designer Nigel Coates
The Curation of Design: Orange Skin's Approach to Contemporary Design
Light & Magic: Furniture from Droog
Against the Grain: Twin Luxe Razors

KANYE WEST ON APARTMENT THERAPY
Kanye West's Home: Mixing Minimalism and Pop Culture
Statement Furniture: Fernando & Humberto Campana
The Grammys: Welcome to the Good Life
Best Private Homes 2009
Coyote Ugly? Small Fur Hammock by Bless

Photos: (1) Olvium Villas, Turkey by Studio Alhadeff Architects | Life + Times, (2) "Creatures White Famiglia" by Nigel Coates | Life + Times, (3) Millennium Sofa at Orange Skin | Life + Times, (4) Droog Bronto, Photographer: Gerard van Hees | Life + Times, (5) Twin Luxe | Life + Times, (6) About | Life + Times, (7-9) Kanye West's Home | Interior Design, (10) 808s & Heartbreak by Kayne West at Amazon.com

Created with Sketch.