What does Russell Simmons, Kanye West, 50 Cent, Common, Marc Ecko, Reverend Run, Duke, Lil Jon, Don "Magic" Juan and Whoo Kid all currently share in common?

These iconic hip-hop subjects are all apart of the exhibition of portraits for painter Alexander Melamid. Holy Hip-Hop! New Paintings by Alex Melamid features portraits capturing each icons larger-than-life persona. Melamid is phenomenal when mirroring every spec of the performer (he uses a European technique he’s been applying for the past 40 years) or individual on the life-size portraits.

“Melamid was introduced to his subjects by his son, Dan "Dan the Man" Melamid, a music video director working in the hip-hop industry. For two years, from 2003 to 2005, Melamid spent time with each of the men, got to know them, then photographed and drew them as the basis for his paintings,” according to exhibit materials.

If you’re in the Detroit area, Holy Hip-Hop! New Paintings by Alex Melamid will be on view at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit (MOCAD) from February 8 through April 20, 2008.

A sampling of paintings on display:

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