The museum will be located in the Bronx and is the brainchild of local hip hop aficionados. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the $3.75M grant last Thursday to the nation’s first museum dedicated to hip-hop.
Now at a temporary location in the Bronx Terminal Market, The Universal Hip Hop Museum is the brain child of New Yorkers who have been on the hip-hop scene since the very beginning. One of these New Yorkers is executive director Rocky Bucano. Born and raised in the Bronx, Bucano was a DJ as a teenager in the early 1970’s.
Bucano describes the 8-year-old museum as an “ambitious, audacious dream.” Bucano’s co-founders include hip-hop legends Kurtis Blow and Grand Wizzard Theodore, who helped pioneer the popular DJ technique known as scratching.
According to CNN the founding board of directors includes Ice-T and cultural ambassadors include New York natives LL Cool J, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, Grandmaster Flash, Fab Five Freddy and Nas.
In 2018, the Universal Hip Hop Museum announced that Public Enemy’s Chuck D would serve as the chairman of the museum’s celebrity board.
Thanks to the state funding, the 50,000-square-foot hip-hop museum will have a permanent place to call home in Bronx Point come 2023. The museum’s construction will begin in the summer of 2020.
The museum will showcase all aspects of hip-hop culture — from fashion and breakdancing, as well as the evolution of hip-hop — highlighting artists new and old, from the late ’70s to today. The museum will offer workshops, mentorships and programming to help area youths.
It’s here! Summer… and man, is there is a lot going on in the world. So if you just want some time to pause and do something fun alone or with loved ones, check out a few things happening this month. Personally I am looking forward to the Sneaker Exhibit. Enjoy July!
ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL
Rated PG-13 –NOW PLAYING
If you just want to catch a really great flick…. Me and Earl and The Dying Girl “lives” up to the hype. (Yes, I’ve seen it, and yes, I’ve got a lot to say… GBN review coming soon.) Oh, and Earl is the greatest character I’ve seen in a while. Highly Recommend. Check out the trailer here: https://youtu.be/2qfmAllbYC8
Rated R – NOW PLAYING
Admittedly I’ve been benched for the last few months and not up on my reviews and screenings, but I have been meaning to see the critically acclaimed DOPE.
High-school senior Malcolm (Shameik Moore) and his friends Jib (Tony Revolori) and Diggy (Kiersey Clemons) bond over ’90s hip-hop culture, their studies and playing music in their own punk band. A chance encounter with a drug dealer named Dom lands Malcolm and company at the dealer’s nightclub birthday party; when the scene turns violent, they flee — with the Ecstasy that Dom secretly hid in Malcolm’s backpack. A wild adventure ensues as the youths try to evade armed thugs who want the stash.
I just saw the trailer for this and I’m hooked. Gotta say… I am loving Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson in the acting game. Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) directs. Check out the trailer here: https://youtu.be/Mh2ebPxhoLs
July 8 – July 11, 2015 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival: A celebration of Hip-Hop Culture and the Borough of Brooklyn Artists include: Common, Mobb Deep, Lion Babe, Freeway, Charles Hamilton, Pitch Blak Brass Band, Skyzoo, John Robinson, DJ Rob Swift, Torae, and “Uncle Ralph” McDaniels, http://www.bkhiphopfestival.com
July 18 – IRVINE, CA; July 19, 2015 – MOUNTAINVIEW, CA
Artists Include: The Game, Bone Thugs-N-Harmony, Ice T, Afrika Bambaataa and The Soulsonic Force, Big Daddy Kane, Rakim, Mack 10, Xzibit, Warren G, Rapper’s Delight, Kurtis Blow, Too Short, Doug E Fresh, DJ Quik, Kool Moe Dee, King T, Grand Master Melle Mel, Tha Alkaholiks, Biz Markie, Slick Rick, EPMD, Cold Crush Brothers, Ras Kass and other special guests. The event will be MC’d by Chief Rocker Busy Bee. https://www.facebook.com/artofrapfest
The Colorado Black Arts Festival is excited to present the best of visual and performing arts to celebrate its 29th Annual Festival July 10-12, 2015 in historic Denver City Park West. This year’s Festival theme “Rock Steady” conveys the ability to excel in the arts with a rocking and soulful dimension. It represents a soulful genre that captures artistic rhythms with origins in the African diaspora. Rock Steady 2015! To learn more, go to: http://www.colbaf.org
“The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five is by far one of the most important records known to man. A “total knock out of the park” as Public Enemy’s Chuck D once told Rolling Stone, the 1982 record marked a pivotal moment for hip-hop. The first of its kind, at seven-minutes rapper Melle Mel and co-writer Duke Bootee traded clear-cut lines about the everyday struggle and decay in America’s ghettos. From the ubiquitous “broken glass” to the “junkies in the alley” and how the kids that are “born with no state of mind” end up succumbing to the live fast, die young statistic. It’s an monumental piece of recording that perfectly demonstrates the foundation on which hip-hop was founded.
Beyond that though, it’s also the very record that Mickey Bentson, co-founder of The Universal Zulu Nation, and Ice-T brought up during a phone conversation with REVOLT. “Grandmaster Flash and Melle Mel made one of the hardest records ever: “The Message” with no cursing. Wow. That’s unbelievable,” Bentson exclaimed. “Where you gonna get all this stuff at? Nowhere but at the Art of Rap Festival baby.”
In 2012, Ice-T chronicled the rich foundation and importance of the hip-hop into a one hour-and-a-half epic, better known as the critically-acclaimed documentary, “Something From Nothing: The Art of Rap.” An intimate journey that uncovers the layers, elements, and science of hip-hop, the film took it back to the essence, while bringing along famous faces like Dr. Dre, Kanye West, Eminem, Q-Tip, Chuck D and many more for a discussion on the art form. Three years since he opened the conversation, Ice-T, joined by Bentson, has added another layer (and new meaning) to the “The Art of Rap,” with an inaugural event he is calling “the most prolific and essential hip-hop festival ever.”
The Art of Rap Festival, which will take place over the course of two days in California, features a dream team line-up of emcees that range from Big Daddy Kane to Rakim, Afrika Bambaataa, EPMD, Doug E. Fresh, Grandmaster Melle Mel, King T, Kurtis Blow, Biz Markie, and more. Just like the film, the festival, which will feature co-headliners including Game and Ice-T at its July 18th Irvine date and Ice-T at the July 19th Mountain View show, takes it back to the essence.
Speaking about the summer must-attend festival, Ice-T and Mickey Bentson hopped on the phone with REVOLT and discussed just how and why this event came together.
In 2012, Ice-T, you released this film and now it has transformed into a full blown festival. How did you two come together for this?
Ice-T: Well, [The Art of Rap] happened for me, I was sitting around and for a while when you would say you an emcee, people actually had this heavy respect for you. Well the point that when you would say ‘rapper,’ people would kind of look at you like a clown. Rappers were kind of acting up and I didn’t like that, so I said you know what I want to make a film that makes people really respect the art of rap. It’s not a game, it’s real stuff. I worked really hard on my music, I grew up with [Big Daddy] Kane and Rakim and people like that, and I said this is serious business. So we shot the film, it did what it was supposed to do, make people understand that it is an art form and the next obvious move was to take it on the road. The Art of Rap Tour is meant to be about the craft and the culture of hip-hop, so we go all the way from The Soulsonic Force to somebody like The Game.
As you mentioned, this festival is about the craft and culture. Why is this such an important element for this event?
T: We want people to take pride in what they do. If you take pride in your music, you’re going to do good music. If you look at music as just a way to get paid, then you might throw up any ol’ shit, and you also ain’t gonna represent it right, [because] when you get interviewed you gonna say any ol’ s*** — and that bothers the artists. That’s like me coming into jazz and not knowing who Miles Davis was, and there’s going to be people who’s going to have feelings about that. Continue reading “Ice-T Breaks Down Why “Art of Rap” Festival in July is Important to Hip-Hop, Art and Music”→
According to bet.com, Ice-Thas announced his very own music festival for this summer. The first-ever Art of Rap Music Festival kicks off July 18 at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine, Calif., followed by another show July 19 in Northern California at the Shoreline Amphitheater.
Keeping in line with his critically acclaimed Art of Rap documentary from a few years ago, the festival lineup is jam packed with influential rap artists including Ice-T himself, Afrika Bambaataa, Melle Mel,Rakim, Kool Moe Dee, The Game, Bone Thugs ‘N’ Harmony, Doug E. Fresh,Warren G, Kurtis Blow, EPMD, Xzibit, Biz Markie,DJ QuikandSlick Rick.
The Art of Rap Music Festival will feature two stages with more than 25 different artists, as well as break-dancers, graffiti artists and vendors. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 24 at 10 AM PST.
At Good Black News, February is an especially invigorating time. When Black History Month rolls around, people have more interest than normal in African-American history, music and culture, and GBN inevitably benefits from the heightened exposure. We make an extra effort to provide a wide variety of information and stories (historical and current) during this time, and point to events and programming we find to be educational as well as entertaining.
Even so, we are a small operation with limited (albeit growing) reach, and we know a lot of black folks feel skeptical about BHM — it always seems like the same old, same old — Martin, Malcolm, Rosa, and the black movie, tv show or person du jour get celebrated in the national news, and then everybody forgets (or tries to forget) about African-American history until next year.
Last night, however, as I was flipping through cable before going to bed, I noticed there was not only an increased amount of black programming (and not just on BET or TV One or PBS), it was more varied than ever. So much so, I wasn’t even sure what to watch: “Angel Heart” with Lisa Bonet and Mickey Rourke, a horror thriller set in New Orleans and the world of voodoo (which reminded me of a time where the media considered Bonet the controversial one from “The Cosby Show”), “School Daze”, the Spike Lee movie set at an all-black college in the South, or “Iceberg Slim: Portait of a Pimp”, a 2012 documentary produced by Ice T, primarily chronicling the author’s experiences in Chicago and Los Angeles.
I had been thinking about “School Daze” earlier that day, so I took it as a sign and flipped to that. It was the scene where the light-skinned sorority girls (lead by Tisha Campbell-Martin and Jasmine Guy) bump into the dark-skinned girls (lead by Kyme and Joie Lee) and go into a full-on musical fantasy where they square off as they sing “Good and Bad Hair.”
My jaw about dropped — I saw this movie in the theatre when I was in college, but I’d forgotten how provocative the lyrics and the visuals were. I mean, this movie was released in 1988 and had black women going hard for each other over hair, calling each other “high-yellow” and “jigaboo,” holding up fans with images of Hattie McDaniel as Mammy and Vivien Leigh as Scarlett to taunt one another! Up until Chris Rock‘s 2009 documentary “Good Hair,” when had this subject matter ever received exposure in mainstream entertainment?
I’d also forgotten how talented the actors and dancers were/are, blending traditional and historical dancing styles and choreography with contemporary steps, and how creative and original Lee was to even imagine doing a number like this in what was then only his second motion picture.
The next scene was a frat hazing scene where pledges where being paddled and this all-too-real violence (as well as the abhorrent misogyny that would soon be coming down the pipe) made me realize the film was deeper and pointed to more problems and issues in the black community than I’d recalled. “School Daze” received its share of flak (at the time and over the years) for being the hodgepodge of styles that it is, but it’s an important, innovative part of Lee’s work as well as black cinema, as relevant as “Dear White People” is in 2015, and fully worth a re-watch and discussion with the new generation of young people and college students.
Jazzed from this rediscovery, I flipped over to the Iceberg Slim documentary. Although I’ve known about Iceberg Slim for decades, I’ve never read his work, dismissing it based on its categorization as “gangsta” literature. Having matured since my 20s however (at least I think I have), I realized I really didn’t know anything about Iceberg Slim other than my perception, so perhaps I should learn more. I’m so glad I did. Not only was the documentary particularly well-executed (creative visuals, innovative music, interesting talking heads and dynamic footage of old Slim interviews), I learned what an intelligent man (Robert Beck) lay behind the Iceberg Slim persona, and how he wrote books such as “Pimp” and “Trick Baby” as cautionary tales rather than celebrations of street life. Even though I don’t (neither does he in his later years) condone or excuse his repulsive criminal behavior and abuse of women, I do recognize he artfully captured and described a very real part of the black experience in the 50s, 60s and 70s.
I also had no idea “Trick Baby” was made into a motion picture by Universal, which helped spur the burgeoning “Blaxploitation” film boom in the 1970s, or that he lived for years only ten blocks away from my grandparents in the Crenshaw district of Los Angeles/Inglewood. It was equally fascinating to learn Birdman of Cash Money Entertainment acquired the rights to “Pimp” and Slim’s other works to keep them alive on the Cash Money Content imprint via Simon & Schuster. And now I want to read those books and get that movie.
All in all, these late-night viewings made me even more excited and energized about Black History Month. And when I looked at my DVR this morning, I saw a variety of options casually waiting for me there, too: the latest episodes of the “Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore”, “How To Get Away With Murder”, “Empire”, “Black-ish” and what I hear via Twitter was an incredible performance by D’Angelo on “Saturday Night Live” last night. If that wasn’t enough, I started writing this piece while watching NFL QB Russell Wilson attempt to lead the Seattle Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl wins, which, if he does, will be a first for an African-American quarterback. (And btw, what an unexpected treat to see Missy Elliott featured in the halftime show with Katy Perry — Missy was fire!)
We all have the ability, even casually, to celebrate and discover (or re-discover) our history, music, literature and culture and I invite all GBN followers to comment, tweet, email or share any unexpected, positive BHM experiences you have. I’m going to continue to chronicle mine alongside more formally-presented stories and articles — looking forward to hearing yours as well!
NEW YORK (AP) — For years, anti-gay epithets and sentiments in rap have largely been accepted, along with its frequent misogyny and violence, as part of the hip-hop culture — a culture that has been slow to change, even as gays enjoy more mainstream acceptance. But a shift appears to be on the horizon.