The world's first museum dedicated to hip hop will open its doors in New York.
A project supported by rappers
A hip hop museum in New York is not a new project. Supported by rappers Kurtis Blox, Ice-T, Nas and LL Cool J, it has been in gestation since 2014. This time was necessary to put together the budget, estimated at 80 million dollars (€73,627,200), gather the archives, put them into perspective through the work of researchers and retain the architectural file.
Supported by rappers and hip hop pioneers, The Universal Hip-Hop Museum is funded by New York City to the tune of $3.5 million, Microsoft, Google and the MIT program in arts, culture and technology.
Why a hip-hop museum in the Bronx?
The choice of the Bronx in New York is not insignificant. This is the neighbourhood where hip hop started in the 1970s. The cradle of this new musical genre developed in the cellars of his buildings. Under the impulse of the Puerto Rican group the Ghetto Brothers, the Black Party and DJ Kool Herc, he made the best of 163 rd Street, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue and Prospect Avenue.
This poor neighbourhood of the Big Apple is the showcase of the demands of the small, the most precarious, African-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Hispanophones. Urban music is then their mouthpiece. Rap, graffiti, beatboxing, breakdancing and djing developed and were structured by labels and radio shows, as shown by Hip Hop Family Tree, Ed Piskor’s amazing comic book series tracing the history of this musical genre.
The Hip Hop Museum is also part of a larger Bronx urban development project. A very underprivileged district with a bad reputation, this will attract tourists from all over the world.
DJ Kool Herc, Beyoncé, 50 cents… They’ll all be there.
Located near the Harlem River, The Universal Hip-Hop Museum will consist of several floors covering thousands of square meters. In addition to the conservation areas and the museum open to the public, it will house housing, green spaces and shopping centres.
The venue will welcome visitors around the five main pillars of hip hop: rap, graffiti, jiing, breakdance and beatboxing. They will be an opportunity to immerse themselves in the history of urban cultures and in the archives bequeathed by male and female rappers. This will thus sweep away 50 years of this musical genre.
There will also be videos, photos, installations of permanent or temporary exhibitions and sounds. The spectrum will be wide, from the beginnings of hip hop with DJ Kool Herc to Beyoncé, to 50 cents or NWA.
The Universal Hip-Hop Museum will be directed by Kurtis Blow, the great figure of American rap from the 1980s to the 1990s.
Nevertheless, you will still have to wait to discover the hip hop museum, because for the moment, the place looks like a big wasteland. But soon, lovers of urban cultures will have a new place to visit as a priority when they come to New York, The Universal Hip-Hop Museum!
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