9 Live Events, Concerts, Exhibits and Releases To Celebrate Hip-Hop's 50th Anniversary

Hip-hop’s golden anniversary is more than just a musical achievement. It’s a cultural milestone. In the 50 years since the art form was born on 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, hip-hop has shifted and shaped pop culture as we know it today.

But to celebrate hip-hop is to also acknowledge the struggles of the impoverished. As author Michael J. Moore gracefully penned in his Kendrick Lamar biography The Butterfly Effect, “Hip-hop saves the community; it’s the voice of the voiceless, the sound of oppressed people spinning negativity into vibrant art.” Hip-hop began as a platform for the disenfranchised to express their reality and transformed to a creative outlet that let the world know these communities existed. Denying their realities and experiences is denying hip-hop. They are woven into the very fabric of hip-hop.

Even during the “decline” of hip-hop in the mainstream, the cogs continued to turn. Artists, producers, dancers and DJs were still putting in the work to further the culture. Hip-hop never needed an audience; it was always there for its people, and it always welcomed those with good intentions. It has taken on many forms in the past 50 years, from DJ Kool Herc‘s “break” technique to assertive rhymes and melodic G-funk style, the “bling era” of the noughties and 2010’s SoundCloud rap, but it has never faltered. With its metamorphosis, hip-hop has also become a channel of romance, encouragement, sex appeal, luxury, braggadocio and almost anything you want it to be. Even with the ongoing transposition of rap, it will always have something for everybody. Hip-hop will never ebb away.

To commemorate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, Hypebeast has rounded up 9 live events, concerts, art exhibits and releases in honor of this celebration.

Hip Hop Is History

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Questlove is set to author his newest book, Hip Hop Is History. The title will chronicle his legacy and experiences within the genre, with all of it written from his own account. “For all those who are present and accounted for, there is something to celebrate with hip hop’s 50th,” he said in a statement to Variety. There may be a lot of water under that bridge. Our disdain for looking in the rearview mirror is entrenched in pain and trauma. But as a child of legacy and nostalgia culture, I want to be the GPS for people to celebrate that thing called hip-hop.”

A release date is yet to be announced, however the book is expected to drop in Q1 2024 via Questlove’s AUWA Books.

“Hip Hop at 50”

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Queen Latifah and Whoopi Goldberg are co-curating an exhibit at the Morrison Hotel Gallery Los Angeles and New York City entitled “Hip Hop at 50.” Handpicked iconic photographs from renowned photographers such as Danny Clinch, Timothy White, and Lynn Goldsmith, Josh Cheuse, Mike Miller, Jonathan Mannion and more will “create a visual odyssey that captures the essence of Hip Hop’s evolution from its birth in the Bronx to its global prominence,”  with the 50 works featuring subjects such as Run-DMC, Snoop Dogg, Tupac, Dr. Dre, Notorious B.I.G., Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Eminem and Wu-Tang Clan.

Morrison Hotel Gallery
116 Prince Street
New York, NY 10012

Morrison Hotel Gallery Sunset Marquis
1200 Alta Loma Road
West Hollywood, CA 90069

MTA Special Metro Cards

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New York City’s Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) will be joining in on the celebration with their line of MetroCards that feature portraits of four iconic New York City rappers: LL Cool J, Rakim, Cam’ron and the late Pop Smoke. Created in collaboration with Universal Music Enterprises, each rapper’s MetroCard will be available for purchase in their respective boroughs for a limited time only.

“The Book of HOV”

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JAY-Z‘s life is the focus of the newest exhibit taking place at the Brooklyn Public Library, Central Branch. ‘The Book of HOV” is a multimedia exhibit that “explores JAY-Z’s global impact as a musician, innovator, entrepreneur, and philanthropist” and will feature archived objects such as original recording masters, never-before-seen photos, his iconic stage wear, awards and recognitions and videos and artifacts from the rapper’s professional life. In addition, a limited edition JAY-Z library card featuring the artwork of  his albums are available.

Brooklyn Public Library
10 Grand Army Plaza
Brooklyn, NY 11238

Hip-Hop 50 Live

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On August 11 in the Bronx — the birthplace of hip-hop — a stellar lineup of Run DMC, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Ice Cube, Eve, Lil Kim, Remy Ma, Trina, T.I., Fat Joe, Common, Ferg, EPMD, Ghostface Killah, Lupe Fiasco, Slick Rick,  Kool Herc and Cindy Campbell, Grandmaster Caz, Kurtis Blow, Melle Mel, Roxanne Shante, Scorpio and the Sugarhill Gang, Clark Kent, Marley Marl, Mannie Fresh and Battlecat are all coming together for Hip Hop 50 Live at Yankee Stadium. The event is co-produced by Nas‘ Mass Appeal, Live Nation and New York Yankees, with tickets starting at $50 USD.

“Hip-Hop ‘Till Infinity”

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Mass Appeal and SUPIERBIEN team up for the “Hip Hop Til Infinity” exhibit, open now at New York City’s Hall des Lumières. The production is “an immersive trip across 50 years” of the genre and will utilize the venue’s state-of-the-art audio-visual technology for interactive programming such as virtual concerts, live panels and conversations, listening parties, artist meet and greets and more.

Hall des Lumières
49 Chambers Street
New York, NY 10007

Hip-Hop 50th Birthday Jam

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The Universal Hip Hop Museum is inviting everyone for their a block party at Mill Pond Park on August 11. The celebration kicks off with a breakin’ competition hosted by Red Bull BC One, a Rapmania showcase and graffiti artists creating live art for the occasion.

Mill Pond Park
Exterior St & E 150th St
Bronx, NY 10451

Nike Air Force 1 Low “Bronx Origins”

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