It’s no secret that NYC is the birthplace of Hip-Hop, and since then, the love between the genre and the city has gone hand in hand. The culture of NYC is inspired by hip-hop, but the culture of the city, specifically The Bronx, inspired local kids to create an art form for them and by them.
Specifically, one of those kids was Clive Campbell, who would later be known as DJ Kool Herc, the Father of Hip-Hop. One day a young Clive and his sister came together to throw a party to raise money for school clothes, and they had no idea they would eventually change the world. Clive’s style of emceeing and scratching records at that neighborhood party in 1973 was the catalyst for what we know today as b.
The genre has come a long way, uniting people from different walks of life, transcending race, gender, and background. Hip-Hop is hands-down the most inclusive art form, and it all started here, in New York City.
We’re reminded almost every day of Hip-Hop’s impact on music, entertainment, culture, and community.
Throughout the year, the city will celebrate with events featuring the artists and culture of hip-hop music. Fans can enjoy concerts, activations, and exhibitions by all your favorite DJs, dancers, artists, and more who will show up and show out to make this anniversary of hip-hop culture the most extraordinary one yet!
Here are some upcoming events to attend to celebrate the music, culture, and community that Hip-Hop has cultivated over the past 50 years!
1. Hip Hop 50 Live at Yankee Stadium
On the exact date of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop’s inception, head to this musical celebration in the borough where it all began! Headliners include legends of the genre and NYC natives like Run DMC, Lil Kim, Slick Rick, and Cam’ron, and even a set by the Father of Hip Hop himself, DJ Kool Herc! There will be a set dedicated to the Queens of Hip Hop and DJ sets by legends that have been a part of the journey from day one. There’s no place but Yankee Stadium to host such a heavy-hitting occasion like this, so be sure to get your tickets, plan your outfit, and get ready to celebrate! Hip Hop 50 Live at Yankee Stadium is co-produced by Mass Appeal, Live Nation, and the New York Yankees.
Where: Yankee Stadium, The Bronx
When: August 11th.Tickets
The MTA is celebrating hip-hop’s 50th birthday with limited-edition, commemorative MetroCards that are sure to become a collectors item. There will be a total of 80,000 specialty cards released across select stations this month featuring hip hop legends like LL Cool J, Pop Smoke, Rakim and Cam’ron. Learn more here.
- LL Cool J: Forest Hills (beginning August 5 until supplies last)
- Pop Smoke: Canarsie-Rockaway Pkwy and New Lots Av (beginning August 5 until supplies last)
- Rakim: Systemwide (to be released later this month)
- Cam’ron: Systemwide (to be released later this month)
When: First 40,000 released on Saturday, August 5th
3. Real Rap: Hip-Hop Star Power on Screen – July 28th–November 3rd
To celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip–hop, Astoria’s Museum of the Moving Image will present the screening series Real Rap: Hip–Hop Star Power on Screen from summer to fall. The films in the series represent the history and synergy of hip–hop on the big screen and feature performers who have uniquely influenced both film and music. Events will also include special guests, discussions, a spoken word showcase, and a summer dance party! Some movies you can expect to see during Real Rap are Belly, New Jack City, 8 Mile, Poetic Justice, and more.
Where: 36-01 35 Ave, Astoria
When: July 28th–November 3rdTickets
4. For the Love: 50 Years of Hip-Hop
This all-day music festival taking place at Knockdown Center will welcome New York’s very own Wu-Tang Clan to the stage for a special performance that’s sure to be legendary! The festival will be comprised of different festivities from breakdancing performances and double-dutch to live, interactive broadcasts of Hip-Hop Nation’s Gray Rizzy and The Heat’s DJ Steel. Plus, if you get hungry you can fill up at a variety of BIPOC-owned and operated food trucks. Learn more here.
Where: Knockdown Center, Queens
When: August 10th
5. Hip Hop Til Infinity
Manhattan’s largest permanent center for custom-designed immersive art experiences, Hall des Lumières, also pays homage to Hip-Hop’s 50th. Produced by Mass Appeal & SUPERBIEN, in partnership with Certified, Sony Music Entertainment’s platform dedicated to celebrating Hip Hop, the exhibition will bring 50 years of Hip Hop to life with an immersive experience through Hip Hop’s celebrated moments!
This evocative digital installation will transport guests through Hip Hop’s different eras and regions – from the skate parks to the stage to the metaverse. The exhibition will also feature interactive programming, including virtual concerts, live panels & conversations, listening parties, artist meet & greets, and more.
Where: 49 Chambers Street, Manhattan
When: August 2nd to September 17th
6. Genius IQ/BBQ
Genius, the world’s most extensive collection of song lyrics and musical knowledge, is bringing back its signature live concert event, Genius IQ/BBQ, and this year, it’ll be a free, all-day music festival celebrating Hip-Hop’s 50th birthday! Genius will welcome hip-hop greats, up-and-coming artists, and renowned DJs to the Knockdown Center in Queens. Previous year performers included 2 Chainz, 21 Savage, and Doja Cat. We’ll keep you [posted once the official lineup is announced, but to hold you over, you can expect feature brand activations like the So Fresh, So Clean Shop from Paco Rabanne 1M, an art installation from Infiniti, and a VIP ‘Genius Lounge‘ presented by Patrón El Alto, and a Rap Cafeteria experience filled with lyric-inspired dishes from local NYC food vendors–presented by Paramount+ with Showtime’s The Chi!
Where: 52-19 Flushing Ave, Queens
When: August 19thWaitlist
7. F. Gary Gray in Action
After solidifying his legacy by directing videos for hip-hop acts like Outkast, Dr. Dre, TLC, and Ice Cube, New York City native Felix Gary Gray tried his hand at filmmaking and knocked it out of the park. Since then, Gray has produced numerous action and culture-packed films like Set It Off, Law Abiding Citizen, and Straight Outta Compton. The series will run from August 4 to August 20 with screenings beginning on August 11th at The Metrograph.
Where: Metrograph In Theater
When: August 4th – 20th
8. Summer for the City Hip-Hop Week
Lincoln Center’s Summer for the City honors the golden anniversary of that fateful night with a campus-wide celebration of the music, fashion, dance, poetry, and global cultural influence of Hip-Hop. Join us for live performances by Rakim, DJ J.PERIOD with Big Daddy Kane and more special guests, Brazilian performer Arthur Verocai hosted by Adrian Younge and Ali Shaheed Muhammad, outdoor dance parties and silent discos featuring the greatest DJs of past and present, a trap choir experience, and participatory family events.
When: August 9–12
9. LP O’Brien’s Bodega Culture at Alice Tully Hall
Bronx-born LP O’Brien is hosting a bodega pop-up in conjunction with Lincoln Center’s Hip-Hop Week to share bodega culture and the community experience it brings. The pop-up will be a fully recreated bodega storefront serving beer, wine, cocktails and bites. Proceeds from the event will go towards a local charity in partnership with the Bronx Native. Remaining food and product from the event will be donated to Amsterdam Houses.
Where: Alice Tully Hall (1941 Broadway)
When: August 9-12 from 5:00 pm – 11:00 pm
10. The 2nd Birthplace Tour (Hip-Hop at 50 Tour)
The 2nd Birthplace Tour is a 2-hour walking tour with 10 stops that honors the artists and entrepreneurs. You’ll explores sites in The Village that were pivotal in introducing Hip-Hop cultural elements like B-Boying, DJ-ing, Graffiti, Fashion, and Emceeing to the world. During a pivotal 20-year period in Hip-Hop history (1979-1999), numerous spaces throughout the Village functioned as a secondary incubator for B-Boys, Graffiti artists, Emcees, DJs, and designers creating what we now call Hip-Hop Culture. Join in on this afternoon or evening walking tour to visit some historic spots and learn some hip-hop history!
Where: The tour begins at Washington Square Park
When: August 11thRegister
Experience the rhythm that moves souls at Live Hip-Hop, the ultimate after-work haven for hip-hop aficionados. Witness the stage ignite with electrifying live performances by the industry’s most trusted artists, including The Rakiem Walker Project Band. With an exclusive lineup that promises legendary rappers and rising stars, this weekly celebration guarantees an unforgettable experience, with classic cocktails, dancing galore, and so much more.
Where: Somewhere Nowhere, 112 W 25th St
When: Every FridayTickets
12. Hip-Hop Week Takes Over Park Lane New York
Darling, Park Lane’s whimsical rooftop bar located on the 47th floor, will showcase a special series of different vinyl-only DJs each evening, as well as an exclusive pop-up cocktail menu inspired by the history of Hip-Hop. The DJ lineup includes Stretch Armstrong, Niles Harris, Niks and DJ Dhundee. There will also be a bespoke Hennessy tasting session and merchandise giveaway!
Where: Darling, 36 Central Park S
When: August 8th – 12th
13. Sherwin Banfield’s “Botanical Boombox: Brooklyn Branch”
A new sculpture of a solar-paneled tree that bears fruit symbolizing hip-hop artists is on display at Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Power of Trees exhibition. Each branch represents a different neighborhood of Brooklyn as onlookers will learn about Brooklyn’s important hip-hop contributions through music samples. The work is accompanied by a special playlist using the music featured.
Where: Brooklyn Botanic Garden
14. Brooklyn Brewery’s limited-edition lager featuring Notorious B.I.G.
Brooklyn Brewery is releasing a special-edition Brooklyn Lager featuring Notorious B.I.G. to honor the Brooklyn legends contribution to hip hop. In conjunction, Brooklyn Brewery has also launched a limited-edition Notorious B.I.G. x Brooklyn Lager capsule collection of apparel and accessories available for purchase here. Additionally, Brooklyn Brewery has joined forces with music journal Wax Poetics for a three-part event series paying homage to Notorious B.I.G.’s cultural legacy taking place on August 17th, August 31st and September 14th.
Amateur Night At The Apollo: Battle Of The Boroughs
Twelve contestants from across Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Bronx, Staten Island, and New Jersey will take the famed Amateur Night at the Apollo stage to compete for bragging rights and a chance to win $20,000. In a night of neighborhood rivalry, artists from the five New York City boroughs and New Jersey will bring their singing, dancing, and more to Harlem and the nation’s original talent show, Amateur Night at The Apollo.
Amateur Night is hosted by the comedian Capone. Each show begins with a festive pre-party with the longtime Amateur Night band and music by DJ Jess and Set It Off Man Greginald Spencer. Throughout the show CP Lacey, the resident “Executioner,” sweeps booed contestants off the stage.
Where: 253 W 125th St, Harlem
When: Wednesday, July 26thTickets
Attend the unveiling of “Sampling.”
Children’s Museum of the Arts is thrilled to announce a public mural collaboration with the New York Public Library’s Picture Collection to be exhibited in the windows of The Jerome L. Greene Performance Space at WNYC and WQXR’s headquarters on Varick Street from July through August. The large-scale collage, for which printing and installation costs have been funded by lead sponsor Hudson Square Properties, will commemorate the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop and was created by the students of the local City-As-School, one of the country’s oldest alternative public high schools.
Where: 103 Charlton Street, Manhattan
When: July 12th
Rock The Bells Festival
Rock The Bells is LL COOL J‘s global platform dedicated to elevating Hip-Hop culture from its roots to the modern day, and it was recently announced that there will be exciting additions to 2023’s Rock The Bells Festival. Co-presented by Procter & Gamble and Walmart, the current legendary lineup will expand to include LL COOL J feat. DJ Z-Trip, Brand Nubian, Jungle Brothers, Lost Boyz, and an unforgettable Native Tongues celebration with performances from Queen Latifah, De La Soul, Jungle Brothers, Monie Love, and Black Sheep.
Where: Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, NY
When: August 5thTickets