The Smithsonian Is Crowdfunding an Epic Hip-Hop Box Set

Here's how to help make it happen

October 17, 2017 9:00 am

There are other opinions out there, but it’s generally agreed upon that hip-hop was officially born at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx on August 11th, 1973, at a birthday party that happened to have DJ Kool Herc, a pair of turntables and a stack of records in attendance. That was nearly 45 years ago, and in the year since, hip-hop has become just as much of an institution in the soundtrack of American life as other homegrown musical styles, like jazz and rock and roll.

As such, another American institution, The Smithsonian, is choosing to honor it with a box set.

A joint project between Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and a committee made up of hip-hop community members like Chuck D, Questlove, MC Lyte and 9th Wonder, the (hopefully) forthcoming Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap will be a nine-CD collection of the genre’s essential tracks.

Accompanied by a 300-page book, the anthology discs will be filled with more than 120 tracks that were selected based on recommendations from artists, scholars, DJs and industry insiders. The final list isn’t out, but it’s a safe guess everyone from Blondie to Biggie will be featured.

Hip Hop (3 images)

“Hip-hop is a musical revolution that embodies the voice of an entire generation and that’s why it’s important for the museum to partner with the hip-hop community and Folkways Recordings to tell this story,” said National Museum of African American History and Culture founder Lonnie Bunch. “Hip-hop helps us to understand the power of black music and the impact of African American culture on the world.”

Obviously the Feds aren’t footing the bill for something this cool, so the Smithsonian has launched a Kickstarter campaign seeking funding for the set. There are pricier rewards — like art prints, trading cards and one-of-a-kind pair of Adidas — up for grabs, but the set alone is just $109.

The campaign is still short of its $250,000 goal, so hip-hop to it.

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