Hip-Hop started out in the heart!
On August 11, 1973, a party curated by DJ Kool Herc at 1520 Sedgwick Ave in the Bronx, New York marked the beginning of our beloved Hip-Hop. The genre’s name was coined by Keith “Keef Cowboy” Wiggins of Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five who first cemented the phrase in his stage performances. Before people knew it, what started out as parties in the park and an outlet for the most vulnerable youth to give voice to their own lived experiences quickly grew into a global phenomena heard round the world. Today, Hip-Hop is arguably the most influential music genre ever, completely transforming and reimagining what the culture looks like. While there are many offshoots of the musical form known as hip-hop, at its heart, the pillars still consist of MCing, DJing, Breakdancing, Graffiti, and Knowledge. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the genre and with Nas’ Mass Appeal company spearheading the collective Hip-Hop 50 efforts, there are so many opportunities to learn more about the genre that shook up the world. To help you out, below are 5 must-see exhibits in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop.
The Universal Hip-Hop Museum
Founded by entertainment manager and business owner Rocky Bucano, the Universal Hip-Hop Museum is located in the birthplace of the genre, the Bronx, New York. Bucano teamed up with legendary Hip-Hop pioneers like Kurtis Blow, Ice T, LL Cool J, Nas and Grandmaster Melle Mel to create the world’s first Hip-Hop museum in the borough. The name Universal is a reference to hip-hop’s global impact and the goal is to provide entertainment, education and understanding around the past, present and future of Hip-Hop. Currently The [R]Evolution of Hip-Hop exhibit is on display, featuring an immersive experience celebrating Hip-Hop’s golden era, 1986-1990. Get your tickets here.
The Book of Hov
The Book of Hov is an installation currently on display at the Brooklyn Public Library in partnership with Roc Nation to celebrate the life and legacy of Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, Hip-Hop’s first billionaire. A fascinating and inspiring exhibit, the exhibit features never-before-seen artifacts from Jay-Z’s personal collection and takes a unique look at his journey from the streets of Brooklyn to a global icon who has shaped and redefined Hip-Hop and its economy over the last 3 decades.
Currently on display through October 2023, The Book of Hov features cool take home collector’s items like a Book of Hov pamphlet outlining each part of the exhibit and 13 limited-edition custom library cards featuring every one of Jay-Z’s studio albums which can only be procured at different branches across the borough. For more information and to schedule your visit, click here.
Hip-Hop Til Infinity
Hip-Hop Til Infinity is an immersive digital installation produced by Nas’ Mass Appeal in celebration of Hip-Hop’s birthday. Taking viewers through the different eras and regions of hip-hops, from the stage to the metaverse, the exhibition features interactive programming, virtual concerts, listening parties, live panels, & more. Currently on display at the Hall des Lumières’, the state-of-the-art technology will blow you away. The exhibit is currently on display from now to September 17th. Click here to purchase your tickets.
The National Hip-Hop Museum
The National Hip-Hop Museum in Washington, DC is another gem, boasting the largest collection of Hip-Hop Artifacts & Memorabilia Ever! Created by Jeremy Beaver, a DJ, producer and the owner of Listen Vision Studios, the National Hip-Hop Museum is a traveling exhibit exploring all aspects of Hip-Hop music, history, and culture, featuring art, food, and broadcasting. In celebration of Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary, the museum is hosting a ton of activations including movie nights, live DJ broadcast sets, and a retail store specializing in rare and vintage Hip-Hop memorabilia and artifacts. To visit the National Hip-Hop Museum, click here.
Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop
Contact High is a visually stimulating unique deep dive into hip hop from a viewpoint many haven’t seen before. Featuring rare footage spanning more than four decades from the 1970s to today, this exhibit takes a look at the work of hip-hop photographers through their contact sheets. An intimate look into some of your favorite hip-hop artists, there are more than 170 images of everyone from Missy Elliott to Queen Latifah and Outkast. Contact High celebrates the evolution of Hip-Hop, connecting you with the genre's most admired figures during some of their legendary moments. Made possible by the Annenberg Space for Photography + International Center for Photography, the exhibition was curated by Vikki Tobak with Fab 5 Freddy serving as Creative Director. The exhibition is based on Tobak’s book of the same name, currently available for purchase. Contact High is currently on display through January 7, 2024 at the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) in Seattle, Washington. Click here to get your tickets.
Happy Birthday Hip-Hop!
Cover photo: 5 must-see exhibits in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop/Book of Hov Exhibit/Photo Courtesy of Veracity Savant