Raleigh residents, local legends celebrate 50 Years of Hip-Hop

Raleigh residents celebrated 50 Years of Hip-Hop Saturday on Fayetteville Street in downtown Raleigh

Hip-Hop started with a summer party in Bronx borough of New York City in the early 1970s.

50 years later, people like Grady Bussey with the City of Raleigh Museum, who organized the block party in Raleigh, say it’s more than just the music, it’s the culture bringing communities together.

“Hip-hop is described as a communal experience,” Bussey said. “You know, when you think about the music and you think about songs, you think about your location in a lot of time do you think about who you were with.”

Bussey still remembers the first time he heard hip-hop.

“I fell in love with hip-hop when I was eight years old,” Bussey said. “We used to have to listen to it on AM radio at night. And I heard Run DMC for the first time and I was like ‘Oh my god, what is this?’”

The event also had educational events and a symposium to celebrate the 50-year milestone. One man, Graham Venable, was in attendance to watch his nephew play drums and other young people showcase the gifts in the genre.

“It’s been a long time coming and hip-hop has been in the shadows. Now it rose to the top,” Venable said. “I want the kids to have fun. I want them to learn and be exposed to people and things.”

Larry Lamont, who is best known for managing Public Enemy DJ Terminator X, told WRAL News the future of hip-hop is looking bright.

“I like the fact that they don’t have to worry about labels and the powers that be,” Lamont explained. “The internet makes them stars overnight.”

Hip-Hop has evolved tremendously since its inception and reaches into the world of fashion, art and communication. Looking ahead, Lamont and others hope no one forgets how and why this started.

“It was all about uplifting yourself,” Lamont said. “If we go back into the 80s, to original hip-hop, we were all talking about ‘we can do this,’ and ‘we can do that,’ and a lot of positivity.”

The party wraps up Saturday night with a sneaker ball at Raleigh’s Union Station.

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