If you love Hip Hop, make some noise! (Don’t worry, we can hear you.)
In 2007, Smithsonian Folkways and NMAAHC collaborated to launch the Smithsonian African American Legacy Series, which it describes as a “multi-year collaboration to explore the rich African American musical and oral heritage in the USA.” Now, as part of that series, the project is giving life to Hip Hop heads of every generation with the Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap, which “details the evolution of hip-hop over four decades through 129 tracks spread across nine CDs, along with a 300-page coffee table book featuring 11 essays from prominent music scholars, authors, and journalists covering topics such as entrepreneurship, graffiti, women in hip-hop and more, as well as extensive notes on each track,” according to a press release.
The executive committee behind the project includes rappers Chuck D and MC Lyte; writers and scholars Adam Bradley, Jeff Chang, Cheryl Keyes, and Mark Anthony Neal; early Def Jam senior executives-turned-cultural advisors Bill Adler and Bill Stephney; artist and writer Questlove; and producer and educator 9th Wonder.
Now, we must talk about this tracklist, because it is literally everything!
No matter what era of Hip Hop is your golden era or what region your favorite rappers and emcees hail from, this anthology has something for everyone! From Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” and Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” to Kanye West’s “Jesus Walks” and Nicki Minaj’s “Super Bass,” this anthology is guaranteed to have fans in every age group waving their hands in the air like they just don’t care—or, you know, whatever the young folk are doing these days—and celebrating the genre and culture that was created by Black people in America and went on to become arguably the most impactful musical genre across the globe.
For the Hip Hop connoisseurs who rep the South, this tracklist includes selections from Eightball & MJG, Three 6 Mafia, UGK, Geto Boys, David Banner, Young Jeezy and more. For the West Coast, there’s Ice T, NWA, Dre and Snoop, The D.O.C., E-40, The Pharcyde and countless others from the Golden State. And, of course, from the state where it all started, this anthology takes you all the way back to The Cold Crush Brothers, Roxanne Shanté and Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, and on to MC Lyte, Nas, The Notorious BIG, Wu-Tang and many, many more of New York’s finest.
Almost every prominent rap artist (and a surprising number of lesser-known artists) from 1979 to 2013 can be found somewhere in this musical collection.
Basically, the only real question is this: If you can’t find anything in this list to dance, ride out or bob your head to, are you even a Hip Hop head?
For more information on The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap click HERE.