Hip Hop in NYC

 Audio Guide

Narrated by Joel Peresman, President & CEO of The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame


New York City is world renowned as the birthplace of hip hop. Invented by DJ Kool Herc at a house party in the Bronx in 1973, hip hop came into being with the use of a break beat dividing and repeating portions of a song on loop. With this simple break, the world was introduced to New York City’s first original music style. The genre grew to prominence in New York City’s outer boroughs during the 1970s, with major figures like Grandmaster Flash, The Sugarhill Gang, and Run-DMC pioneering the sounds of the genre and bringing it to the top of the music charts. Run-DMC was the first group to sell a gold record in the category of hip hop and along with the Beastie Boys and LL Cool J– all New Yorkers– brought hip hop into mainstream popular culture in the 1980s. Hip hop's evolution as a cultural force and lifestyle is shown in films like Wild Style and Style Wars. Over the years, New York City’s five boroughs have given hip hop some of its greatest hits with stars hailing from Staten Island up to the Bronx to Brooklyn. From the Notorious B.I.G. to the Wu-Tang Clan, Jay-Z and DMX to A Tribe Called Quest, hip hop icons from New York City paved the way for recording artists, creating a new legacy through the 1990s and into the 2000s. Recently, figures such as Cardi B, A$AP Rocky, and Nicki Minaj have continued to keep New York City at the top of the charts for a new generation of hip hop fans.