Thursday, September 7, 2023

The Grammy Museum has announced the opening of “Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit,” a 5,000-square-foot love letter to hip-hop. As of 10/7, fans will have a chance to immerse themselves in the music, dance, graffiti, fashion, business, activism and history that spawned a cultural phenomenon.

Items on display will include The Notorious B.I.G.’s iconic red leather pea jacket, LL COOL J’s red Kangol bucket hat and Kurtis Blow’s handwritten lyrics for the 1980 hit single “The Breaks.”

The exhibit will also boast a “sonic playground” featuring interactive stations inviting visitors to demonstrate their creativity through DJ’ing, rapping and sampling.

“Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit” was curated by Felicia Angeja Viator, associate professor of history at San Francisco State University, author of To Live and Defy in LA: How Gangsta Rap Changed America and one of the first women DJs on the Bay Area hip-hop scene; Adam Bradley, professor of English at UCLA, founding director of UCLA’s Laboratory for Race and Popular Culture (the RAP Lab) and co-editor of The Anthology of Rap; Jason King, dean of the USC Thornton School of Music and former chair of the Clive Davis Institute of Recorded Music at NYU; and Dan Charnas, associate arts professor at the Clive Davis Institute of Music and author of Dilla Time: The Life and Afterlife of the Hip-Hop Producer Who Reinvented Rhythm. Viator, Bradley, King and Charnas worked with Grammy Museum Chief Curator/VP of Curatorial Affairs Jasen Emmons and a 20-member advisory board.

The fruit of their labor is built around eight themes: the culture’s origins, innovation, sounds of hip-hop, fashion, regionalism, entrepreneurialism, media and community.

“Hip-Hop America: The Mixtape Exhibit” will run through September 2024. For more information, click here while we pop, lock and drop it—or at least try.

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