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Visual Art Oct 24 2016 Written by

Mission: Lord Finesse

(Republished from ‘THIS MIGHT NOT WORK’ The Art Adventures and Endeavors of Andrew J. Katz)


“Microphone Cool Chief, Releasin’ the Smooth Speech / I Get Nasty with a Pen and Some Loose Leaf” – Lord Finesse and DJ Mike Smooth – Baby,You Nasty

On Friday, I had the chance to take in a special performance by the producer, artist, and DJ – Lord Finesse. The event took place at The Fire Station, in Silver Spring, Maryland, and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity that was so close to home. In preparation of the show, I carved out some time to devote to a new cardboard composition. I found an amazing photo of Finesse in the recording studio, in front of a hot mic. After posting my composition on Twitter, I was informed that the photographer, who took the reference image was Cindy Baar, from I’m glad to be connected with her.


The show took a long time to unfold, as there were at least five opening acts. While I love to support new talent and cultivate new connections, I was anxious to see Finesse arrive and get on the mic.

While I was waiting, I had the good fortune to get reacquainted with Lush from We had an inspiring conversation about Hip Hop and the recent direction of my artwork. She was very complimentary and encouraged me to make good on my plans to have my own show. It was refreshing to hear such genuine support and kindness, without a hint of self-interest. It was the perfect conversation to occupy us while we were waiting.

Eventually, Finesse arrived. He walked upstairs to the landing above the restaurant, and I decided to follow. It was pretty low-key, as a few patrons recognized that he was in the building, and he settled at a high-top table in the middle of the room. I pulled out the drawing and went over to him when the moment was right.

I should mention two things: 1) The music was incredibly loud, and it was difficult, if not impossible, to hear conversation. 2) Finesse had seen the drawing on social media throughout the week. He knew I would be bringing it to the show.

Through a few gestures and crude sign language, I asked him if he’d sign the work with lyrics. I had a favorite line written down in advance. He agreed, and carefully, wrote the line on the composition; making it a true collaboration.



After he signed the drawing, I remembered that I also brought my Madina Design ‘Golden Era’ stamp poster. This incredible collection of imagery was inspired by Chuck D’s lyrics from Public Enemy’s Fight the Power, and designed by Mark Culmer of the United Kingdom. In many ways, it was the impetus for me to collect signatures at live music shows. It continues to serve as a record of the shows I’ve attended and is one more way to display my love of Hip Hop. Here is the most up-to-date image of my ‘Golden Era’ poster:


While I always love when these Hip Hop icons sign the original work, it is my ultimate goal to have them assign lyrics to each piece. If they’re willing to take the time and effort to write out their iconic words, it makes the experience more substantive. It becomes the larger vision for my project. I was grateful that Finesse seemed to appreciate the efforts too, as he enthusiastically retweeted my subsequent posts about the meeting. These connections and stories remain the motivation behind my celebration of Hip Hop.

I’m already looking forward to the next mission. Thanks, Finesse! – AJK



Written by

I am an artist, teacher, Hip-Hop head, and visual thinker. I’m looking forward to sharing my images and their accompanying stories and adventures. For more of my work, check out – Drop me…

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