A Closer Look at the Future Universal Hip-Hop Museum in the Bronx

The birthplace of hip-hop is the Boogie Down Bronx. So it only seems right that a museum to honor the music and everything about it will be built there.

"There are a lot of untold stories, human interest stories that will be in the museum," Hip-hop legend Kurtis Blow said. "It is just going to be an awesome, awesome piece of history for this culture."

Kurtis Blow is the chairman of the board of the Universal Hip-Hop Museum. The city's Economic Development Corporation says the museum will be a part of Bronx Point, a housing and entertainment complex to be built on a vacant lot on East 149th and Exterior Streets along the Harlem River.

"Not only just my legacy being in a brick-and-mortar location where everyone in the world can come and see, but a lot of guys like me," Kurtis Blow said.

Kurtis Blow released one of the first rap songs to hit vinyl and the radio, back in 1979. But hip-hop had already been on the streets.

"Was rapping and scratching and b-boying all around New York City about seven or eight years before my first record," Kurtis Blow said.

Hip-hop can be traced back to a party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in 1973. From its roots in the South Bronx, hip-hop and rap are now a multi-billion dollar industry, accepted by mainstream America and a global cultural force.

But it hasn't been easy getting major support and money for a museum about hip-hop.

"First and foremost, we had to educate a lot of people to get them to understand how hip-hop has really contributed to every aspect of modern society," said Rocky Bucano, the executive director of the Universal Hip-Hop Museum. "So Microsoft is one of our big partners. Now we are working with YouTube and Google as well."

Plans for this project have been in the works for years. Organizers say they are now on schedule to open the doors to the Universal Hip-Hop Museum in 2023.

There will be interactive activities teaching visitors how to DJ on turntables or become a graffiti artist, and there will be plenty of old school hip-hop artifacts.

"Lyrics from Tupac, Snoop Dogg gave one of his bikes," Kurtis Blow said. "We have sound systems, big huge sounds systems from the Disco Twins out in Queens and DJ Tony Touch from the Bronx. We have the first certified gold rap song, 'These Are The Breaks.'"

So much history that began in the Bronx, and will be showcased in the Bronx.

Rendering of the museum above courtesy of the Universal Hip-Hop Museum.

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