The Hip Hop Hall of Fame has just announced its first batch of inductees. In doing so, they hope to further Hip-Hop’s legacy by showcasing some of the genre’s very best, and most influential artists. It’s a celebration of what they’ve given to the world.
60 artists were announced for this years slate of inductees. LL Cool J leads the list of this, along with Soulsonic Force, and the Us Girls. Kurtis Blow, Harry Belafonte, and photographer Joe Conzo are also among the inductees to be enshrined among hip-hop royalty. All 60 artists will be inducted during the Hip Hop Hall of Fame Awards TV Show on Sept. 15 at United Palace Theater in New York City.
“Hip-hop has a tendency to fall under the radar,” said JT Thompson, the chairman and executive producer of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame. He continued to state that, with over 40 years of history, “we need our own hall of fame to establish our legend and pioneers.”
The first iteration of the Hip Hop Hall of Fame was founded in 1992, originally with less than 10 members.
Inductees are chosen due to their years of experience and contribution to the greater hip-hop community. This opens the hall up for more than just musicians and emcees, with dancers, graffiti artists, activists, and photographers being inducted alongside them. If you had a significant role to play in the life of the genre, you will find yourself a place in the hall.
2017 inductee James Top, an artist on The Odd Partners graffiti crew noted, “We have achieved everything we wanted to achieve when we started this back in the 1970s, which is to be a major force in popular culture. We were an underground culture, but now we’re on top.”
A new Hip Hop Hall of Fame museum is expected to open next year in Harlem. It will be a part of a 20 story entertainment complex. Included in the complex will be retailers, cafes, restaurants, an arts academy, and youth projects. The first phase of the project is expected to get off the ground by the end of February 2018.
Thompson commented during the announcement ceremony that the hall was just just a place of music and artists, but a, “museum and educational institution. We’re able to teach the younger generation not only the history, but also the science, technology, mathematics, arts and culture. Hip hop is not just limited to music and the rap you hear on the radio. Hip hop is a culture and we’re all a part of it.”
2014 inductee Gail Hall of the Mercedes Ladies shared her own thoughts on what makes the Hall so important to the hip hop community.
“Hip Hop Hall of Fame is a tribute that makes me proud, whereas at one point I wasn’t feeling so proud because I felt like we were alienated from the culture… When we were DJing, there were no record deals. Nothing was commercialized. The industry actually told us we would never make it, that hip hop was a fad and would never be respected.”
She continued, “It’s emotional because especially for the people who are inducted, it’s an honor because we were unrecognized.”
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