NYC mayor, rap legends launch yearlong celebration to mark hip-hop’s 50th anniversary

Mayor Eric Adams announced the city will partner with the Universal Hip-Hop Museum to launch 50 events and fundraisers in 2023.

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Hip-hop’s birthplace, New York City, is celebrating the culture’s 50th anniversary in a big way next year. On Monday, NYC Mayor Eric Adams, flanked by numerous hip-hop luminaries, announced big plans for hip-hop’s 50th birthday in 2023 throughout the city.

Adams spoke about preparations for the yearlong hip-hop celebration during a press conference at City Hall, wearing an Adidas tracksuit a la Run DMC, as captured by CBS News. He spoke about how the city will partner with the Universal Hip-Hop Museum to launch a year’s worth of events and fundraisers in 2023, leading up to the official opening of the UHHM in the Bronx.

“What were saying in ‘Hip-Hop is 50’ is that hip-hop has grown up in a manner that they are not going to be exploited,” Adams said. He went on to say that the city and UHHM are aiming to raise $50 million with the celebration.

On Monday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams (center), flanked by numerous hip-hop luminaries, announced big plans for hip-hop’s 50th birthday in 2023 throughout the culture’s birthplace. (Photo: Screenshot/YouTube.com/CBS New York)

“As we talk about education in school, as we talk about the products that are going to be sold, we’re looking at the economics of hip-hop,” said Adams, “and we are saying to the legends, ‘You have a right that you invested in something, and so now, you should receive the equity that came forward from your investment.’ You should receive that.”

Joining Adams at the press conference were rap pioneers including Grandmaster Flash, Roxanne Shante, Slick Rick, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels of Run DMC, Eric B. of Eric B. and Rakim, Master Gee of Sugar Hill Gang, “Video Music Box” founder Ralph McDaniels and several more.

“I remember running home, rushing to see ‘Video Music Box,’” Adams told those assembled. “Ralph and I went to high school together. And he had that vision of allowing — when other stations did not want the artists to perform — Ralph McDaniels laid the platform and turned it into a conversation.”

McDaniels shared at the press conference Monday that other New York City museums and libraries are also involved in hip-hop’s anniversary observances next year, pushing its educational aspects.

“All educational facilities will be involved in this because I think it’s important,” said McDaniels. “Hip-hop uses the most words out of any genre of music, and I think it’s important that our young people know how to use those words and make them work for them so they can go further. So, just so you know, education is the fifth element of hip-hop, and that will be represented in this celebration as well.”

Along with UHHM President and Chairman Rocky Bucano and some of her fellow hip-hop notables, Roxanne Shante spoke at the press conference Monday, revealing the approach that the city and UHHM would take in programming the year’s events.

“When they first approached me and told me, ‘Listen, what we are going to do, 50 events, 50 days celebrating 50 years of hip-hop,’ I was like, ‘That’s a lot of 50s,’” Shante said. “But I’m honored to be able to participate.”

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