Artists including Afrika Bambaataa planning a hip-hop museum in the Bronx

A group of hip-hop originators hopes to open an interactive institution in Kingsbridge Armory

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Afrika Bambaataa

Afrika Bambaataa


New York City, and especially the Bronx, has been the birthplace and stomping grounds for many of rap’s biggest stars and even of the genre itself. While many people are familiar with the great hip-hop artists, tracks and videos, the music’s origins are less well-known. Now, some of the originators of the genre intend to change that with the Universal Hip-Hop Museum.

The plans were announced yesterday at City Hall after Afrika Bambaataa, Grand Wizard Theodore, Grandmaster Caz and several other pioneers of the genre were honored for their achievements. Bambaataa, a Bronx native often referred to as “the godfather of hip-hop,” will serve as the proposed museum’s chairman, with other luminaries serving on its board. According to The New York Times, the in-development project will include interactive features to provide information about the culture and movement behind the music. Should the museum come to fruition, the hope is to open it by 2017 in the Bronx's Kingsbridge Armory, an abandoned building that is currently being redeveloped to hold a massive ice rink and community center.

If it seems like a museum devoted to the genre should already exist, that’s because the Universal Hip-Hop Museum is only the latest effort to create a space to commemorate the music that has for decades shaped NYC culture. The Hip-Hop Hall of Fame—known for its '90s awards show of the same name on the BET—has been trying to open a permanent museum in midtown since 1994. Then, there’s the National Museum of Hip-Hop, which is actually a nonprofit that hopes to secure a physical space in Harlem.

Here's hoping Bambaataa and his cohorts will be able to make their dream a reality.


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