Ahead of its fifth anniversary in September, Washington D.C.’s National Museum of African American History and Culture — in collaboration with Smithsonian Folkways Recordings — has announced a massive Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap box set, slated to arrive on August 20.
Deemed a “first-of-its-kind collection,” the anthology delves into the evolution of hip-hop across four decades, spanning from 1979 to 2013, through 129 tracks across nine CDS. In tandem with the audio component, a 300-page coffee table book featuring 11 essays from renowned music scholars, authors and journalists will explore specific facets of the genre’s development, including topics of women in hip-hop, entrepreneurship and graffiti, along with extended notes on each track.
“Born in Bronx and raised across the American West and South, hip-hop is one of the most influential genres of music in the modern era,” Kevin Young, the Andrew W. Mellon Director of NMAAHC, said in a statement. “Through beats, dynamic rhymes, and pointed lyricism, hip-hop has provided a platform for communities and generations to voice their ongoing struggles and has changed society and culture around the world.”
The box set’s curation began in 2014 with an executive committee consisting of rappers MC Lyte and Public Enemy‘s Chuck D, writers and scholars Adam Bradley, Jeff Chang, Cheryl Keyes and Mark Anthony Neal, early Def Jam executives Bill Adler and Bill Stephney, artist-director Questlove and producer 9th Wonder. Over the following seven years, the NMAAHC assembled additional panels of advisors to ensure equal representation across all subsets of hip-hop and rap.
“We wanted the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap to be reflective of the culture, of the music, of the people, of everything that is part of hip-hop,” added Dwandalyn R. Reece, NMAAHC’s associate director for curatorial affairs, curator of music and performing arts and producer of the anthology.
Watch the trailer for the forthcoming Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap above.
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