50 years of Hip Hop!

  • by Ann-Kathrin Meier

In 2023, we are celebrating 50 years of Hip Hop culture! The origin of the worldwide movement was a party in New York on 11 August 1973, where DJ Kool Herc for the first time played only instrumental parts of his records while a friend rapped along. Although the term hip hop did not exist at that time, the style of music that emerged there changed music history and started a worldwide cultural movement.
Martha Cooper, the namesake of the Urban Nation Museum’s library, played a significant role in documenting the early days of Hip Hop. Her iconic photographs captured the essence and energy of this vibrant movement, showcasing the creativity and self-expression of its pioneers.

Martha Cooper’s first visit to her exhibition at Urban Nation Museum and Martha Cooper Library, in October 2021. Photo by Nika Kramer

Hip Hop culture and its four core pillars Rap, DJing, Breakdance and Graffiti, have the power to bring people together, to break barriers, and to give a voice to those who often go unheard. Following the principle of “Each One Teach One,“ everyone teaches and learns equally.

The new HipHopHub program of Stiftung Berliner Leben enables children, teenagers and young adults to have this experience in a regular mobile training program. In various institutions such as schools, refugee homes and youth centers, participants are given the opportunity to learn numerous styles of Hip Hop culture directly on site. In 2023, the HipHopHub will focus on dance, with rap and DJ-ing to follow in 2024.

At the URBAN NATION Museum, we continue to celebrate the influence of Hip Hop on contemporary art and society. Let’s keep the spirit alive for generations to come!