Schomburg Harlem Highlights Hip-Hop Archives During National Hip-Hop History Month

schomburg library in harlemIn recognition of National Hip-Hop History Month, the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture is highlighting notable items from its Hip-Hop Archive Project Collection, initiated in 1999 to actively collect and preserve materials from hip-hop pioneers. The Schomburg Center will also host a free, special Hip-Hop History Month Teen Night featuring music, spoken word, workshops and art-making stations on November 18.

In the early 1970s, hip-hop originated in the South Bronx and became an international social and cultural movement that continues to impact the work of musicians across genres today. November is celebrated as National Hip-Hop Month to correspond with the Universal Zulu Nation’s recognition of hip-hop’s birthday on November 12, 1974.

“From music and dance, to language, art, fashion, and film, hip-hop culture transcends all geographic, ethnic and socioeconomic boundaries,” said Steven G. Fullwood, Associate Curator of the Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division. “The Schomburg is proud to serve as a repository for the memory and ongoing development of hip-hop from its nascent stages to what is now a  global phenomenon, founded in the Bronx and Harlem by black and Latino youth.”

Highlights from the Schomburg Center’s Hip-Hip Archive Project include:

Cold Crush Brothers/Easy A.D. Harris Hip-Hop Collection

The Cold Crush Brothers are a hip-hop group founded by Original DJ Tony Tone, Easy A.D., DJ Charlie Chase, Whipper Whip, Mr. Tee and Dot-A-Rock in the Bronx in 1978. This collection contains dozens of flyers for Cold Crush Brothers performances and other hip-hop performers including Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, The Fantastic Five, The Treacherous Three, Force of the 5 MCs, and others. The file also contains letters, press releases, photographs, copies of contracts with record labels, royalty information, printed materials featured and information about KRS-ONE’s Temple of Hip-Hop, with which Harris contributed.

Founded in 2000 by KRS-One, the “Temple of Hiphop” aimed to preserve and teach the spiritual principles of hip hop culture. Members included Hip-Hop legends such as Kool DJ Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, and Grandmaster Flash. The Temple recognized nine elements of “Hiphop Kulture” including breakin, emceein, graffiti art, deejaying, beatboxin, street fashion, street language, and street entrepreneurialism. Files include a “Temple of Hiphop” membership certificate and orientation packet.

Kid ’N Play Comic Series

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In the late 1980s and 1990s, Christopher “Kid” Reid and Christopher “Play” Martin became one of the most successful American hip-hop and comedy  duos from New York City. Written by Dwight Coye and illustrated by Chuck Frazier, the first issue of Kid ’N Play comic series was released by Marvel Comics in February 1992 and was discontinued in November 1992. Files contain all nine issues from February to October 1992, photocopies of news articles, and correspondence.

Urban Think Tank, Inc. Collection

A nonprofit committed to repositioning rap music and Hip-Hop culture as forms worthy of scholarly study, Urban Think Tank produced several publications such as Full Disclosure: The Business of Hip-Hop and Doula: The Journal of Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture. The file includes correspondence, several issues of Full Disclosure: The Business of Hip-Hop and an issue of Doula: The Journal of Rap Music and Hip-Hop Culture.

Hip-Hop Archive Project items are available to the public by request at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

More information about Schomburg’s collections and programs can be found at www.schomburgcenter.org.

Learn more about how to support the Library at nypl.org/support.

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