Hip-hop will turn 50 in 2023, and in order to kick off the monumental anniversary celebration, Grammy-winning rapper Nas and Mass Appeal CEO Sacha Jenkins will launch Hip Hop 50, a series of original programming set to run on Showtime for three years.
According to Variety, the cross-platform series will highlight influential icons and moments in hip-hop history through scripted shows, digital shorts, podcasts and documentary films.
Featured documentaries will include Untitled Ralph McDaniels Documentary, which delves into the importance of television in the rise of hip-hop, Hits From the Bong, spotlighting West Coast hip-hop groups and marijuana advocates, Ricky Powell: The Individualist about the iconic rap photographer, Rolling Like Thunder, an exploration of graffiti subculture across NYC’s five boroughs and Push It, a deep dive into women’s impactful contributions to the genre.
“Hip Hop 50 is a multi-tier initiative, created by Mass Appeal [in partnership with CBS Viacom], and we built this platform to ensure the anniversary of hip-hop is celebrated in a real iconic way, and that everybody should be involved with this,” Nas told Variety.
“This is something that’s coming up that we don’t want to just pass by like it’s small. This is the biggest birthday in the world,” he added. “You’re going to see the stories from every element of hip-hop, whether it’s the street stories, whether it’s the MCing. Whatever it is, we want to celebrate and push this birthday party to the max.”
While there is debate surrounding the actual inception of hip-hop — some say the genre was born in 1973, others believe it wasn’t until 1977 — Hip Hop 50 identifies the former as the official year that the cultural phenomenon came to be.
“1973 marks the party that [DJ Kool Herc] threw for his sister in the basement of a building in the Bronx. 1977 definitely put a battery in some people’s backs who didn’t have the equipment,” Sacha Jenkins told the outlet. “Still, a little before people were out in the parks, proto-Hip Hop was happening as early as 1973, and that’s what is going to commemorate this 50th anniversary in 2023.”
Hip Hip 50 is slated to debut later this year and will run through 2023.