Melamid (b.1945) is long-known in the art world for his partnership with fellow Russian artist Vitaly Komar, with whom he founded the Soviet Realist Pop art movement, Sots Art, which satirized Soviet Socialist Realism. During their almost 40 years of collaboration which ended in 2003, Komar and Melamid were noted as revolutionaries and, at times, rebels. Their work was often compared to that of Pop artists Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

In 2003, the duo decided to explore individual careers. Around this time, Melamid’s first-born son, Dan, introduced him to the world of hip-hop, which included his clients and close friends Whoo Kid and 50 Cent. Melamid was intrigued by hip-hop society because of its rich history and world appeal, and began to paint the hip-hop portraits that became his first solo exhibition.