In his latest work, ‘Hip Hop Honeys’ (available in stores starting on March 27th), famed photographer Brian Finke shifts his lens’ focus to spotlight the beautiful, yet woefully underappreciated models of the rap world. Many rap videos features models smoking cannabis in different ways or in some other provocative act. These women, while nearly ubiquitous across hip hop videos for decades, are very often overlooked as set pieces or scenery and primarily used as eye candy to draw in more potential fans and viewers. These models are little more than a prop for the predominantly male artists to parade around in skimpy or skin tight clothing. Now with the help of Finke’s camera, they are able to take center stage and tell their story.
“Every other city we go, every other video…”-Nate Dogg-
While a lot of the modern hip hop aesthetic focuses on the finer things in life like expensive cars, clothes and houses, Finke’s latest work mainly endeavors to show the human side of the women, past all of the glitz and glamour. One can get a sort of ‘behind the scenes’ feel from his shots, which were obtained by Finke visiting the sets of several rap videos over the last few years. This candid glimpse into their world makes us realize that behind the money, cars, and bottles of ‘Cris,’ they are people too.
Be sure to follow the link below for Merry Jane’s full interview with Finke as well as some additional shots from his newest anthology!
For as long as there have been rap videos, there have been women in rap videos. I don’t mean female rappers — though early stars such as Queen Latifah, Salt ‘N Pepa, and MC Lyte certainly produced memorable videos of their own — I mean models. These women typically appear as voiceless entities, vehicles for champagne pouring, money throwing, and, in at least one memorable instance, credit card swiping.
Commonly referred to as “video vixens” or “hip-hop honeys,” and appearing in recurring features in publications such as XXL, Vibe, and Bossip, these models rarely get allotted as much spotlight as the artists that rap in the same videos. In his latest monograph, photographer Brian Finke makes said models his primary focus. Hip Hop Honeys (out March 27th via powerHouse Books) consists of snaps taken on set at various rap video shoots. The rappers in question, though, barely appear. Finke foregrounds the models and reduces everyone else present to a stray limb here and there, faces blocked by women in catsuits.
The book is somewhat of a continuation of Finke’s previous monographs, which all focus on specific professions — mostly ones that don’t get as much shine as those they appear alongside. After turning his lens on cheerleaders and flight attendants for past projects — as well as working heavily with publications such as The New York Times, The New Yorker, and National Geographic — he’s spent the past few years trolling Tri-State area rap video shoots to capture the perfect shots of women who serve a crucial-but-underappreciated role in the music industry.