How to get NYC’s limited-edition hip-hop MetroCards

80,000 special MetroCards feature Cam’Ron, LL COOL J, Rakim, and Pop Smoke.

Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner
hip-hop metrocard
Photographs: MTA

MetroCards may be on their way out, but the swipeable subway passes will always be collectible. And to add to your collection of cards is a new limited edition pressing to honor hip-hop’s 50th anniversary this summer. 

Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) teamed up with the MTA to create 80,000 hip-hop MetroCards. There are four different types featuring hip-hop icons Cam’Ron, LL COOL J, Rakim, and Pop Smoke.  

RECOMMENDED: Celebrate 50 years of hip-hop with these NYC events and exhibits

“When I first started in Hip-Hop, we were using tokens and then in the ’90s the MetroCard came out,” LL COOL J said in a news release. “Through the pandemic, I remember riding the subway anonymously by myself. Now in 2023, I have my own limited-edition MetroCard in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop. This is a beautiful full-circle moment. Hip-Hop is amazing!”

The LL COOL J cards coincide with the second year of The Rock The Bells festival in Forest Hills. The annual music festival is dedicated to the ongoing preservation and illumination of a once-local hip-hop culture, which is now global. 

To score a hip-hop MetroCard, you’ll have to buy your subway passes at specific stations:

    • LL COOL J cards can be found in Forest Hills at the 71st Ave stop in CTR areas N333, N333A, and N333B.
    • Pop Smoke cards appear at the Canarsie-Rockaway Pkwy stop in CTR area R634, in addition to the New Lots Ave stop in CTR area H041 (in collaboration with the Shoot For The Stars Foundation)

Vending machines with the Cam’Ron and Rakim cards will be revealed soon. 

“From standing on top of the Empire State Building to grabbing a slice at the corner pizza shop, NYC creates iconic moments that are recognized around the world. But it doesn’t get closer to real city life than swiping a MetroCard and standing clear of the closing doors,” Rakim said in a news release. “It’s an honor to be celebrating the 50th Anniversary on the streets… and now below them… of the city where hip-hop was born.”

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