In the song “Rappers R N Dainja,” the Blastmaster KRS One stated back in the 9 Cinco that he will expand your consciousness and dismiss foolishness. Why? Because in the atomic structure of Hip-Hop, he declared, “I AM THE NUCLEUS.” Creeping up on 30 years since the release of that album, KRS, because of his willingness to defend the pillars of Hip-Hop from the physical, metaphysical, philosophical, and spiritual realms, it still firmly occupies that spot. With the world buzzing about the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, KRS-One went back to the future and returned to the essence of the birthplace of energy, to the Community Center (1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx). Launching Birthplaceofhiphop.nyc, KRS-One will lead a series of community-based programs, including a masterclass in Hip-Hop. The classes and popup exhibits will showcase and celebrate not only how Hip-Hop began but also its soul and current expressions. The story began during the summer of 1973 as a back-to-school fundraiser at the Community Center for an affordable housing building. Now, 50 years after its humble beginnings, this spirit is thriving worldwide and has been expressed in word, music, dance, and a variety of art forms. Hip-Hop stands alone as a movement in the sheer scope of its influence.
On April 25, KRS-One joined community leaders, tenants, and the building’s owners to officially launch what is to come on August 11 and beyond: a celebration that will display the artform, the epicenter of the world-wide cultural phenomenon known as Hip-Hop.
“The 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop is a global movement that speaks to the grit, voice, and power of how it came to be in the first place: We used our voices when they tried to silence us. We used our creativity when they tried to stifle us,” said Hip-Hop icon and legend KRS-One. “We created the culture because we wanted to stand out and stand up for our artistry. Hip-Hop is the people’s movement. I am excited to showcase this to the world in the space where it all began—at 1520 Sedgwick in the Community Center. It feels right to be here, where it all began.”
Both leading up to the anniversary on August 11, and beyond, KRS-One will host a series of educational programs that include Hip-Hop’s major “cultural” contributors, the history of Hip-Hop over 50 years, and never before seen exhibits launching on August .
Hip-Hop has always been about community and KRS-One and Birthplaceofhiphop.nyc are now calling on the worldwide Hip-Hop community to participate in a logo competition to celebrate Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary. The winning design will recognize the elements of Hip-Hop necessary to both celebrate the 50th anniversary and inspire future generations to continue to grow and expand Hip-Hop’s message.
More info about the contest can be found by visiting www.birthplaceofhiphop.nyc/logo-contest/ The contest is open from 12:01 a.m. April 28, 2023 until May 31, 2023, at 11:59 p.m.
“I’m especially excited about this global logo contest,” KRS-One said. “We’re calling all creatives, designers, graffiti artists to show us their best representation of what Hip-Hop is. As Hip-Hop marks this historic milestone, we look to this generation of Hip-Hop creatives, designers, and enthusiasts to create the official logo of Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary.”
Fans who think that his trek into the Bronx will serve solely as an ambassador, fret not. The Lehman Center for the Performing Arts (on the campus of Lehman College/CUNY, 250 Bedford Park Boulevard West, Bronx, NY 10468), in association with Sal Abbatiello of Fever Records, will celebrate the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop on Saturday, May 6, 2023, at 8 p.m. with The Hip-Hop Fever 2023 concert. KRS-One headlines a lineup that also features Grandmaster Melle & Scorpio, Kurtis Blow, the Sugar Hill Gang, Nice N Smooth, Soul Sonic Force, Cl Smooth, Black Sheep, Keith Murray, and Sweet G. Hosted by Video Music Box’s own Ralph McDaniels and Abbatiello, with music by Grand Wizard Theodore and DJ Hollywood.
Tickets for Hip-Hop Fever ($40, $45, $60, $65, $70) can be purchased by calling the Lehman Center box office at 718-960-8833; para Español: 718-960-8835 (Monday through Friday, 10 a.m.–5 p.m., and beginning four hours before showtime on weekends), or online at https://www.lehmancenter.org/events/Hip-Hop-fever. The Lehman Center is accessible by the #4 or D train to Bedford Park Blvd. and is off the Saw Mill River Parkway and the Major Deegan Expressway.
Doors open at 7:00 p.m., and showtime starts at 8:00 p.m. sharp.
Over and out, holla next week, til then….but wait.
As I was about to hit Send, I just heard we lost one of our last remaining champions. RIP to the great Harry Belafonte, who has died at 96.