The Smithsonian Goes Hip-Hop
Wed, 01 Mar 2006 11:14:43
The Smithsonian Institution has announced plans for an initiative called "Hip-Hop Won't Stop: the Beat, the Rhymes, the Life," a project that will cost up to $2 million and take up to five years to complete. When finished, it will offer visitors a chance to get up close and personal with historic records, turntables, microphones, lyric sheets and lots more. Specific acquisitions include a diary of MC Lyte, and various artifacts from the collections of Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa.
Museum officials plan to raise the money from private donors. In addition to accumulating a collection of physical pieces, organizers also plan to record oral histories and hold consultations with advisory groups.
This isn't the first time that curators have shown a fondness for emcees. The Brooklyn Museum of Art and Seattle's Experience Music Project are among the other institutions who have previously offered a hip-hop homage.
Said to have been born in the Bronx in the 1970s, hip-hop became first a vibrant and unique pocket of American culture, then exploded into one of the most influential pieces of that culture worldwide. The Smithsonian's project is another testament that the movement, once dismissed as a novelty or passing trend, has the sort of staying power that is worthy of museum collections and history books. Russell Simmons, Ice-T and Reverend Run of Run-DMC are among the hip-hop icons who have lent public support to the project.
"We know it will be a lasting fixture," said Simmons. "And it should be. All over the world, hip-hop is an expression of young people's struggles, their frustrations and opinions."
-- The ARTISTdirect Staff