Nas, LL Cool J, Lil Kim, Fat Joe and an array of other rap legends gathered in the Bronx last Friday (May 21) to break ground on a site that will soon home the newly-funded Universal Hip Hop Museum (UHHM).
The UHHM has been dubbed the first-ever museum solely dedicated to rap music, chronicling the rise of the genre across the globe and highlighting its continuing DIY roots.
“Hip hop is one of those things that really gave my life meaning,” LL Cool J said at the ceremony. “It made me feel like I really could do something with my life.”
“[The music] taught me more than schools taught me, believe it or not,” Nas added. “I’m proud to be here in the mecca of hip hop, the Bronx.”
UHHM will be taking up permanent residency in South Bronx, just outside of New York City, as part of the first phase of Bronx Point: a £246.7million ($349million) project running along the Harlem River waterfront.
UHHM cultural ambassador Grandmaster Flash, said: “I came up with a technique by placing my fingertips on the records… Here we are, almost 47 years later…Ladies and gentlemen, I tell you, this is really special.”
The Universal Hip Hop Museum is scheduled to open in 2023. Find the latest UHHM updates here.
Back in December 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed off an allocated $3.7million funding towards the project, as part of a statewide economic and community development package.
Public Enemy’s Chuck D, who was named chairman of the museum’s celebrity board around that time, said: “The museum will be a solid base of recognition of the past. But it will also be involved in hip-hop’s [ongoing] definition, protecting it and making it viable for the future. The celebrity board’s role will be that of a collective with the energy of many helping to propel hip-hop well into the 21st century.”
Along with the Universal Hip Hop Museum, Bronx Point will also be offering affordable housing, public open space and other cultural activities, such as an early childhood space and an outdoor science program.