Hip Hop 50 NYC: A guide to the hip hop 50 celebrations taking place across the city

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Sunday, August 13, 2023
New York City events celebrate 50 years of hip hop
New Yorkers are celerbating 50 years of hop hop across New York City. Anthony Carlo has more.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- KRS-One announced the star-studded guests who will be performing during the 50th anniversary event and the block party festival in celebration of all things hip hop.

On a hot summer's night in 1973, brother-sister duo Clive and Cindy Campbell threw a back-to-school jam in the rec room of their Morris Heights apartment building, located at 1520 Sedgwick Ave.

The party was Cindy's idea. With the school year approaching, the gathering would be a good way to earn some extra cash to put towards fresh, new wardrobe.

That night, guests, who were charged 25 cents for girls, 50 cents for boys, witnessed Clive, known around the neighborhood as "DJ Kool Herc," orchestrating the musical atmosphere from behind not one, but two turntables. By the time Clive's friend, Coke La Rock, took the microphone and began talking over Campbell's extended rhythm section interludes of funk and soul records - nothing was ever the same.

Little did anyone know that that party, and the makeshift artform created within those walls, would go on to change the world.

From electrifying a tiny rec room to penetrating an entire globe, hip hop officially turns 50 this week.

Just like how it started, the genre's milestone has been honored all year long with celebrations rooted in fostering community. And it doesn't stop.

READ MORE |50 Years of Hip Hop: The Bronx and Beyond

From exhibits to concerts, here are all the events happening across the five boroughs as New Yorkers ring in a happy 50th year to hip hop.


August 9-11: Lincoln Center's Hip Hop

From August 9-11, Lincoln Center will host a summer event series, featuring dance competitions, silent discos, and concerts.

In addition to DJ performances and dance lessons, the lineup also boasts performances from hip hop icons Rakim, Rapsody, and more. Admission is free.

Head here for the full rundown of events.

August 9-10: 50 Cent's Final Lap Tour

50 Cent, who is also celebrating 20 years of his game-changing debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin', will hit the Big Apple for two nights as part of his Final Lap Tour.

Fans can catch the Queens emcee at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, where he'll perform on August 9 and 10.

Joining him will be fellow hip hop powerhouse Busta Rhymes, who has widely been considered one of Hip Hop's best live performers. Tickets for the show are still available.

August 10: "For the Love: 50 Years of Hip Hop"

The Wu-Tang Clan will headline the "For the Love: 50 Years of Hip-Hop" concert in Queens on August 10.

Presented by SiriusXM and Pandora, the concert will take place at The Knockdown Center in Queens.

Fans need to RSVP before the event to attend the show.

August 11: Hip Hop 50th Birthday Block Party

What better way to commemorate the 50th year of hip hop than with a block party where it all started.

From noon to 6 p.m., the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the Bronx will host "Hip Hop's 50th Birthday Jam."

The free event will be hosted by Coke La Rock, Spindrella, UHHM curator Pete Nice, and Sheri Sher. Performers include Chuck D, Fearless 4, Freedom Williams, Chill Rob G, Sweet Tee, and many more. More info can be found here.

August 11: Hip-Hop 50 Live at Yankee Stadium

A star-studded celebration is on tap for the big day at Yankees Stadium.

The all-star, celebratory Hip Hop 50 Live concert will feature the biggest of names, including Run-DMC, Nas, Lil Wayne, Snoop Dogg, Lil Kim, Ice Cube, DJ Kool Herc & Cindy Campbell, and many, many more.

It all begins at 6 p.m. Tickets start at $63 here.

August 11-12: 5x5 Block Party Series

Just like the park jams that exploded in the 1970s after DJ Kool Herc's first hip hop party, the Big Apple will host a series of free block parties and events across all five boroughs.

Curated by hip hop vet KRS-One, the 5X5 Block Party series will feature a loaded lineup of renowned DJs and seminal artists, along with street art installations, food vendors, interactive experiences, and educational-entertainment talks.

On Friday, from 3 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., the series will travel to Castleton Avenue and Davis Avenue on Staten Island, featuring DJ sets by DJ Red Alert, DJ Drewski, and DJ Evil Dee. Performances include KRS-One, Nems and Jungle Brothers.

On Saturday, the series arrives at the birthplace of it all: 1520 Sedgwick Ave.

DJ Kid Capri and Grandmaster Caz will be ones and twos, while performers include Chuck D, Talib Kweli, KRS-One, and more.

The block party travels to Harlem on Sunday, where special guests and performances will host the festivities on West 125th Street and Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard from 3 to 9 p.m.

August 11-12: BRIC HipHop 50th Anniversary

For the anniversary weekend, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! will host a free concert featuring performances by Digable Planets, Kari Faux, Wiki, Donwill, and Quinnette, along with a screening of the 2002 film "Brown Sugar."

The event is free to attend. RSVP here.


The Book of HOV

13 studio albums. 24-time Grammy award winner. 1 house for all of these accolades and more.

The Brooklyn Public Library's elaborate Jay-Z exhibit, titled "The Book of HOV," chronicles the life and times of Brooklyn's famous son.

Taking over two floors of the network's Central Library location, the free showcase features the ultimate S. Carter collection, including personal artifacts, master recordings, never-before-seen photos - not to mention a re-creation of the actual studio, Baseline Studios, where many of his recordings were born.

For more on the exhibit, head here.

REvolution of Hip Hop

Like many of the celebrations taking place this week, consider this exhibit a hip hop homecoming.

Born in the Bronx, the "REvolution of Hip Hop" exhibit celebrates the artform, lifestyle, and movement courtesy of The Universal Hip Hop Museum, which is under construction and set to open in 2024 at Bronx Point.

Located at the Bronx Terminal Market, the "REvolution of Hip Hop" is an interactive journey that takes visitors through the genre's history using "artifacts, multimedia, artificial intelligence, and virtual and augmented technologies."

The exhibit is on display through the end of August. Head here for tickets.

Hip Hop Til Infinity at Hall Des Lumires

Produced by Mass Appeal, this interactive digital installation promises to visitors through the different chapters of hip hop's history, including regions - from the stage to the metaverse.

In addition to Hall des Lumires' state-of-the-art audio-visual technology, the exhibition also features virtual concerts, live panels, listening parties and more. For more info, head here.


Heavy D

The sculpture will be installed at 42 Broad Street, the latest luxury high-rise to achieve Passive Housing pre-certification in Mount Vernon. Darla Miles has the story.

The life of Dwight "Heavy D" Myers was memorialized with a new sculpture earlier this year.

Created by Brooklyn-based artist Eto Otitgbe, the work, titled "Peaceful Journey," can be seen at 42 Broad Street in the late rapper's hometown of Mount Vernon.

The Notorious B.I.G.

There will be an unveiling of a public art tribute to Biggie Smalls in Brooklyn.

From Bedford-Stuyvesant to the House of Congress, the memory of Christopher "The Notorious B.I.G." Wallace remains as ubiquitous as the motto he once coined, "Spread love, it's the Brooklyn way."

A nine-foot-tall sculpture honoring "Big Poppa" appears in Cadman Plaza, located in Downtown Brooklyn.

Inspired by the title of his 1997 song of the same name, the "Sky's the Limit" sculpture will be available for public viewing until November.

Mural Art

NYC City Hall

On Monday, New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled an installation in the City Hall Rotunda celebrating the genre's 50-year milestone.

The imagery captures posters and flyers from the early days of Hip Hop, featuring iconic figures such as Run-DMC, Clive "DJ Kool Herc" Campbell, Salt-N-Pepa, and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

The City Hall installation is among many scattered around the city, as Mayor Adams previously announced plans to create 50 murals celebrating the genre across all five boroughs as part of a partnership with The LISA Project NYC.

A Tribe Called Quest

(1 of 2)

Over on the intersection of Linden Boulevard and 192nd Street in Queens lives a vibrant mural of the legendary Queens rap group A Tribe Called Quest.

Created by Vincent Ballentine, the tribute was painted on the side of the very building featured in the group's music video for "Check the Rhime."

The Notorious B.I.G.

Kemberly Richardson

Biggie murals in Brooklyn are like pizzerias across the Big Apple. There's so many to choose from.

Among the boroughs famous dedications to Biggie Smalls is one painted on Fulton Street in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

Local leaders, artists, and rappers were on hand for the tribute's reveal on Fulton Street in the Bedford-Stuyvesant section.

The painting is just steps from the rapper's childhood home.


A DMX mural painted outside La Estrella Tropical Restaurant in the Olinville section of the Bronx, pays tribute to the late rapper.

In addition to famous murals of Christopher "Big Pun" Rios, the Bronx is also home to an imagery installation of Earl "DMX" Simmons artwork.

Located in the Olville section, the mural of the "Ruff Ryders Anthem" rapper is painted outside the La Estrella Tropical Restaurant.

There is also one in DMX's native of Yonkers.

A new memorial was unveiled Tuesday in Yonkers to honor the late hip-hop legend DMX.

The memorial is located at the Calcagno Homes, where Simmons lived as a child, and is part of a mural that was restored at the public housing complex.


MTA Hip Hop 50 Metro Cards

The MTA is now selling 50th Anniversary of hip hop commemorative MetroCards.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority and Universal Music partnered for a limited series of hip hop 50-themed Metro Cards.

LL Cool J, Pop Smoke, Cam'ron, Rakim, and more are featured on the limited edition versions of the transportation fare payment cards.

The agency says 40,000 more MetroCards will be available later this month systemwide.

For more info on where to purchase the cards, head here.

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Watch our half-hour special 'The Bronx and Beyond: 50 years of Hip Hop' airing on Eyewitness News at 5:30 p.m. on Friday, August 11, followed by a one-hour extended look on Channel 7 at 1 p.m. on Sunday, August 13. Both editions will be made available to stream on-demand at ABC7NY.com or our ABC7NY app on Roku, FireTV, Apple TV and Android TV.


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