Hip Hop royalty gathered on Thursday (May 20) for the groundbreaking of a Universal Hip Hop Museum in the New York borough that birthed the culture.
Icons like Nas, LL Cool J, Grandmaster Flash, Fat Joe, Slick Rick and more came together in New York’s Bronx and held shovels for the official ceremony celebrating the construction of the museum that was described by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. as “long overdue.”
Diaz opened his remarks at the ceremony by quoting lyrics from Boogie Down Productions’ “South Bronx” and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five’s “The Message,”
“Hip hop has continued to mature. It started from the early days of young boys and girls who saw the rest of the world ignore us,” he said, according to the New York Daily News. “Showing the rest of the world the injustices that were happening in the South Bronx, in East New York, in Manhattan, in Harlem. God bless you all, and God bless Hip Hop.”
Fat Joe said Hip Hop “came out of the Bronx like Vietnam.”
“I’m just a kid, I’m talking 8 years old, and I would be listening to Hip Hop,” he said during his remarks, according to the Daily News. “And I knew this was what I wanted to do. It was born from nothing, and it has fed millions and millions.”
During his remarks, Grandmaster Flash recalled the early days of a phenomenon that would influence culture worldwide.
“This is a really special time,” he said while choking up. “There was a time where nobody gave a f**k about the Bronx. Nobody cared. This thing we were doing was anti-everything.”
LL Cool J, who was born in Queens, acknowledged that the Bronx was the “mecca of Hip Hop” while explaining how much the culture influenced his life.
“When I saw Run-DMC, it took my soul,” the Rap legend said during his remarks, according to the Daily News. “And from that point on, I knew I had a journey that I was going to be dedicated to for the rest of life.”
The $80 million, 52,000-square-foot museum financed through city, state, and private monies will be located at 610 Exterior Street in the Bronx Terminal Market.