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NMAAHC’s FREE Hip-Hop Block Party Returns!

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The Hip-Hop Block Party: NMAAHC's Bash Is Back!
The Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture. Image source: Angela N., Flickr.

Ready to groove and move to what’s bouncing back onto the scene? The Hip-Hop Block Party is returning for the second time, and you won’t want to miss a beat! Mark your calendars for Saturday, Aug. 12, 2023, because that’s the day the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture transforms into the ultimate hip-hop mecca!

This year, they’re cranking up the excitement to the max as we celebrate a monumental milestone – 50 years of hip-hop’s brilliant artistry, breakthrough innovation, and global dominance. Five decades of pure hip-hop magic, and we’re about to jump right into the heart and soul of this epic cultural phenomenon.

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The audience at last year’s block party. Image source: Secret DC.

The air is electric with the beats that have shaped generations, the rhythm flowing through your veins like a musical adrenaline rush. As you step into the lively world of the Hip-Hop Block Party, you’re not just attending an event – you’re part of history in the making. From the funky beginnings to the mind-bending present, you’ll journey through the rhythm and rhyme that rocked the world.

However, this celebration isn’t just about music; it’s about honoring the very essence of a culture that has woven its existence into every corner of the globe. Hip-hop isn’t just beats and bars – it’s a movement, a lifestyle, a language that transcends culture and eras.

The Hip-Hop Block Party Bonanza: Immersive Hip-Hop Experience In The Museum!

There will be many activities from 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. inside the museum on the first floor in Heritage Hall. Such as:

  • Interactive performances – Hip Hop Standing Yoga and Hip Hop Cardio with FITDC and The Art of Rhyme-Doin’ it the Right Way.

  • Providing audiences with the opportunity to share their opinions on trending hip-hop topics

  • A game of Hip Hop Trivia will be held to test audiences’ knowledge of the who, what, and when of the genre’s emergence over the past half-century. The night wouldn’t be complete without a special bonus round: ‘Name That Rap Voice’ – where contestants must guess the artist by just hearing their voice!

  • My Memories Photo Booth Collection Photo

Oprah Winfrey Theater (Concourse)

  • Screenings of Graffiti Rock and Wild Style are scheduled.

  • In Rhymes & Rebounds: Exploring the Fusion of Hip-Hop and Basketball, Justin Tinsley, a journalist and cultural observer, explores the intersection of art and sport with Flau’jae Johnson, rapper and basketball player for the 2023 NCAA Champion LSU Tigers.

Explore More! Interactive Gallery (L2)

  • Design and Make Your Own Tag and Bling

  • Live Sneaker Cleaning and Foot Care Expo

“Power of Place,” Community Galleries (L3)

  • Hip-Hop X Pop-up Sneaker Display

“Musical Crossroads,” Culture Galleries (L4)

  • Musical Crossroads Highlights Tour

  • Rap-influenced verse produced for audiences by The Typewriter Poets

Click here for more information regarding the activities taking place on Aug. 12!

The Party Features Which Artists?

There will be legendary artists performing at the block party. Among them are as follows:

American DJ and rapper Kid Capri! Bronx native Kid Capri turns records into pure gold! From eight, he scratched and spun his way to glory. Young Capri unleashed his turntablist wizardry and left audiences spellbound, even in his teens!

This dynamic artist wasn’t just content with pleasing local crowds. He took his talents to the iconic Studio 54, where the beats he dropped had the public busting moves they didn’t even know they had. In addition, he captured his powerful sets on mix tapes that became hotter than a summer sidewalk in the Bronx.

American DJ and rapper Kid Capri. Image source: Getty Images.

Now, let’s fast forward a bit. Kid Capri went from rockin’ those decks at Studio 54 to producing sessions for a crew of legends! Heavy D, Boogie Down Productions, and even the legendary Quincy Jones couldn’t resist the Kid’s musical abilities.

However, he wasn’t just about music. Capri knew how to bring the laughs too. On stage at Russell Simmons‘ Def Comedy Jam, he spun chuckles as effortlessly as he turned those records. For seven seasons, he was the godfather of comedy and beats, orchestrating hilarity like no other.

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Kid Capri DJing in his younger days. Image source: Pinterest

In 1991, Kid Capri unleashed “The Tape,” his debut solo masterpiece that sent shockwaves through the music scene.

Kid Capri’s 1991 debut solo album “The Tape.” Image source: Discogs.

Seven years down the road, he dropped the ultimate bombshell, the “Soundtrack to the Streets.” GOSH! The musical journey this man has taken us on! And he’s still going strong! He’s like the Energizer Bunny of hip-hop!

The Musical Maverick: DJ Cuzzin B Takes Center Stage

Who’s the other star appearing at the block party? Senior producer DJ Cuzzin B, aka Robert “Bobby” Carter, from NPR’s rocking Tiny Desk Concert series. But did you know that this musical maestro’s expedition started way back in 2000 when he graduated from Jackson State University? A blast from the past!

Young and enthusiastic Carter, fresh out of college, snagged a three-month internship. This mere stepping stone evolved into a 20-year radio career at NPR’s dazzling headquarters in Washington, D.C.

“I was interning at WJSU, the school’s radio station, and a recruiter for NPR walks in. I rushed her and asked for a job. She told me to slow down,” recalls Carter. “She said I couldn’t have a job, but she could give me an internship.”

Once that initial internship wrapped up, the producer from St. Louis decided to begin a new round of internships. He swam his way up the career ladder, transforming into an official employee like a superhero donning his cape!

DJ Cuzzin B, a.k.a. Robert “Bobby” Carter. Image source: Courtesy of Special To Clarion Ledger

With each passing year, Carter took on various roles with the energy of a musical ninja, and the result? In 2019, he earned the coveted title of senior producer for the Tiny Desk Concerts.

Bobby Carter, alongside his incredible music team, faced off against the challenges of the pandemic. And what did they do? They flipped the script and gave birth to the Tiny Desk [Home] Concerts series! From the soulful Kirk Franklin to the mesmerizing Tame Impala, and let’s not forget Jazmine Sullivan, these concerts became the stuff of legends.

Aside from music, Carter is keen on innovation too! He gathered brand-new initiatives and dazzling programs to sprinkle some stardust over the Tiny Desk audience. Like teaming up with Complexcon, diving into HBO’s Insecure,” and even rubbing shoulders with the glitz and glamour of the 2021 film “Coming 2 America.” Talk about taking Tiny Desk to places nobody ever dreamt of!

Unveiling Monie Love’s Hip-Hop Journey

Crank up the hype-o-meter because the last artist I will mention will bring The Hip-Hop Block Party to a whole new level! British rap diva, Monie Love, breaks through!

Born Simone Johnson, a true hip-hop force, on Jul. 2, 1970, in the heart of Battersea, London, England. But Monie Love didn’t stop at her British roots. She packed her bags, hopped across the pond, and set up shop in the hip-hop mecca of New York City in 1989. That’s what you call leaping!

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British rapper Monie Love. Image source: New Lease Music

Monie Love wasn’t just rocking the mic solo from the get-go. Back then, she teamed up with her childhood pals MC Mell “O,” Sparki, and DJ Pogo, forming the ultimate dream team under the name Jus Bad Productions. Their first smash, “Freestyle,” dropped in 1987, and the streets were never the same again. But that was just an appetizer!

Fast forward to ’88, when Monie Love took the stage alongside DJ Pogo, they unleashed a series of 12-inch singles that were like treasures waiting to be discovered. And guess who heard the singles – DJ Tim Westwood! Then again, life’s not always a straight road. There were a few plot twists and delays, but that’s when fate stepped in.

Monie Love and DJ Pogo made their way to Cooltempo Records, armed with the infectious track “I Can Do This.” It blasted its way into the UK Top 40 charts like a musical meteor. Did someone say unstoppable grooves?

Unforgettable Hits

But Monie Love wasn’t here to drop hits and disappear into the sunset. She was just getting warmed up. She also unleashed another smash, “Grandpa’s Party,” paying homage to Afrika Bambaataa.

And she paired up with Andy Cox and David Steele of Fine Young Cannibals for the ultimate summer jam, “Monie In The Middle.”

In addition, she joined forces with True Image and took the UK to another level with their soulful rendition of the Detroit Spinners’ classic, “It’s A Shame (My Sister).” These geniuses even cracked the US Top 30 with that powerhouse hit.

So, gear up for the block party of the century! Ensure you’ve got your dancing shoes laced up and your energy levels set to maximum.

Find the NMAAHC Hip-Hop Block Party on Aug. 12, 2023, at 10:30 AM at the intersection of Madison Drive NW and 15th Street NW.

Written by Nikiya Biggs | LinkedIn | Twitter | Facebook

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Experienced, dedicated, and goal-oriented writer with a flair for producing informative and captivating content. Experience spanning 5+ years in writing includes correct grammar, fact-checking, and adaptability. Throughout my life, I've been exposed to many opportunities. I have played the piano, participated in many recitals, and won numerous awards throughout my life. I have been honing my writing skills for years in my spare time. As an example, I have completed writing exercises and created my own stories in this regard.

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