National Museum of American History Displays Recent Hip-Hop Acquisitions

July 6, 2006
“If you think about the history of hip-hop, we’ve had artists who can talk about from socially significant ideas to something as cool as sneakers.” — Grandmaster Flash From the fluid movement of break-dance to the thought provoking lyrics of urban life, hip-hop has transformed artistic expression for more than 30 years. On July 10, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History will open a display of recently acquired hip-hop objects called “Hip-Hop Won’t Stop: The Beat, The Rhymes, The Life.” Four main elements make up hip-hop—D. J.-ing, M.C.-ing, (later turned into rapping), graffiti art and break dancing. The display will feature objects, including a turntable, a boom box, LPs, a jean jacket and a journal donated by D.J.s Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa, rapper MC Lyte, graffiti artist and MTV-VJ Fab 5 Freddy, and break dancer Crazy Legs. Hip-hop has evolved from its urban roots to a billion dollar business and a global phenomenon. Originating in the South Bronx, N.Y. in the 1970s, this cultural, musical and aesthetic art form provided a creative outlet for African American and Latino urban culture. During a special ceremony in New York earlier this year, some of the genre’s pioneers helped the Smithsonian launch a major multi-year collecting initiative to document the history of hip-hop music and culture. The museum plans to reach out to the community to gather additional objects and oral histories. The long-range vision for the project includes a larger comprehensive exhibition. The National Museum of American History located at 14th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W., is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. through Sept. 4. The museum will close for major renovations beginning Sept. 5. Admission is free. For more information, visit the museum’s Web site at http://americanhistory.si.edu or call (202) 633-1000, (202) 357-1729 (TTY).