Nigerian-American documentarian Chi Modu has spent the best part of 30 years presenting defining images of hip-hop, with his work amongst the most well-known and recognisable across the visual canon of rap. If you grew up even slightly aware of hip-hop, you've almost certainly seen one of Chi Modu's iconic images. For those that grew up immersed in it, these images helped to spread this shared culture around the world, immortalised as posters, artwork and images on bedroom walls or stuck onto text books.
As director of photography at The Source during its lofty heyday in the '90s, Chi Modu shot over 30 covers, of that including early shots of Q-Tip, Snoop Dogg, Tupac Shakur and Biggie Smalls. With his work featured prominently across DJ Semtex's 2016 tome Hip Hop Raised Me, Chi Modu's iconic images reached a new legion of fans, foreshadowing the wave to come.
The UNCATEGORIZED photo exhibit tour has now seen Chi Modu touch down in Sau Paulo, LA, Berlin and last year, Lagos. Something of a homecoming for Chi Modu, the two-day exhibit and workshop, partnered with BUDX, was indeed the first time showcasing his work in Africa. As the creative hub of the most populous nation in Africa, UNCATEGORIZED: Lagos offered young creatives an empowering viewpoint on storytelling and preserving creative commodities in the digital age.
Released via Melanin Unscripted, a platform shining light on complex identities around the world, you can watch a short clip on UNCATEGORIZED: Lagos exclusively above.
"I'm always trying to get to the essence or the soul of a person." —Chi Modu