News / Illustration

Cey Adams, iconic graffiti artist and founding creative director of Def Jam records, made today’s Google Doodle

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Today’s Google Doodle is honouring the 44th anniversary of the birth of hip hop with an original artwork created by Cey Adams, the iconic graffiti artist and founding creative director of Def Jam records. Cey designed the custom Google logo graphic in his characteristic graffiti style with vinyl records acting as the O’s. Users can click through to watch an animation by the Google team, narrated by Fab 5 Freddy, telling the story of how hip hop came about in 1970s New York.

After the animation, users can learn to DJ via an interactive tutorial which allows you to drag records onto decks, crossfade and mix the tracks, and even scratch.

A blog by Google shows early visual explorations for the decks and animation, including storyboards and character concepts for how to depict Fab 5 Freddy, as well as Cey’s original sketch.

Lyor Cohen, YouTube’s global head of music, and former head of Def Jam Records, said of the Doodle: “Today we acknowledge and celebrate a cultural revolution that’s spanned 44 years and counting. It all started in the NYC Bronx, more commonly known as the Boogie Down Bronx. Following the fallout from the construction of the Cross Bronx Expressway in 1972 that demolished a lot of the neighbourhood, times were particularly tough. The youth needed an outlet – a unifying sound, a beat, a voice to call their own. The Bronx DJ’s and MC’s rose to the task and the city loved them for it.”

New York-born Cey Adams was a contemporary of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring, and appeared in the 1982 documentary Style Wars about subway graffiti. He co-founded Def Jam’s in-house visual design firm, creating visual identities, album covers, logos and campaigns for the likes of Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Notorious BIG and Jay Z.

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Cey Adams: Google Doodle sketch

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop, Fab 5 Freddy character concepts

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop, storyboards

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop, animation tests

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop, animation tests

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop, deck concepts

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop, deck concepts

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Google: 44th anniversary of hip hop logo