NYC & Company presents the Holiday Bazaar December 7th, 2009

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This past weekend at the Hip Hop Culture Center NYC & Company held a Holiday Bazaar featuring over forty Harlem vendors. Kicking off the event was a fifteen minute performance by the cast of the Broadway musical Memphis. There were also special performances by professional Tap Dancer, Omar Edwards; Musician, Atiba Wilson; and Pioneer, Vy Higginsen & her youth choir. Retail and cultural booths as well as food vendors were spread throughout the venue and NYC & Company provided free trolleys for the public to navigate around the neighborhood.  Click here to see footage from the Holiday Bazaar that took place this past Sunday, December 6th, 2009 from 12pm-5pm. You can also view pictures of the Holiday Bazaar here.

 1520 Sedgwick Avenue honored by New York Art Committee  December 4th, 2009

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Hip-Hop landmark 1520 Sedgwick Avenue will be honored by a New York Art Committee for its cultural significant to the city. The address is noted for it’s role in Hip-Hop history as the place DJ Kool Herc gave a small party in a recreational room inside of the building in August of 1973.

The party helped lay the ground work to help Hip-Hop music to flourish in and around the Bronx in the early 1970’s. 1520 Sedgwick is one of six spots that City Lore and the Municipal Art Society will honor for it’s contribution to New York society and the world.

“1520 Sedgwick Ave is the birthplace of Hip-Hop, creating an art form and culture unique to New York City that would go on to change the world,” said Ray Riccio, CEO of clothing company Sedgwick & Cedar. “This is a very proud day for DJ Kool Herc, The Pioneers, Hip-Hop Culture, S&C Co. and all those that care about preserving history.”

Kool Herc and a number of other pioneers are co-owners of the Sedgwick & Cedar clothing line, which is named after the famous building. In 2007, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue was declared eligible to be considered a historic and cultural landmark in New York City. City Lore is a non-profit membership organization that was launched in 1986 to produce programs and events that showcase New York’s cultural heritage.

Jam Master Jay documentary in stores NOW   Decemeber 4th, 2009

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Synopsis: Legendary Hip-Hop DJ Jason Mizell, aka Jam Master Jay, is gunned down in his Queens studio. Security tapes of the incident mysteriously disappear, the five witnesses are uncooperative and no one is talking…until now. ‘2 Turntables And A Microphone’ documents the investigation of the unsolved murder of Jam Master Jay, RUN- DMC’s groundbreaking DJ and producer, deftly revealing the history of Hip-Hop and mainstream rap along the way. Exclusive, candid interviews with 50 Cent, Ja Rule, Russell Simmons, RUN-DMC and more offer insight into Jam Master Jay’s life – including information that could finally help police solve the murder that shook the music world to its core.

This DVD is also available with a purchase of 50 Cents new album “Before I Self Destruct” (3-Disc Deluxe Edition) in stores now.

View trailer below:

 

 In Iraq’s African Enclave, Color Is Plainly Seen  Decemeber 2nd, 2009

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BASRA, Iraq — Officially, Iraq is a colorblind society that in the tradition of Prophet Muhammad treats black people with equality and respect.

Amani Hamid, 16, left school because her family could not afford the bus fare. African-Iraqis are denied even menial jobs. Washing cars is the only source of income for many African-Iraqi boys and men, they said, because no one will hire them. But on the packed dirt streets of Zubayr, Iraq’s scaled-down version of Harlem, African-Iraqis talk of discrimination so steeped in Iraqi culture that they are commonly referred to as “abd” — slave in Arabic — prohibited from interracial marriage and denied even menial jobs.

Historians say that most African-Iraqis arrived as slaves from East Africa as part of the Arab slave trade starting about 1,400 years ago. They worked in southern Iraq’s salt marshes and sugar cane fields. Though slavery — which in Iraq included Arabs as well as Africans — was banned in the 1920s, it continued until the 1950s, African-Iraqis say. Recently, they have begun to campaign for recognition as a minority population, which would grant them the same benefits as Christians, including reserved seats in Parliament.

“Black people here are living in fear,” said Jalal Dhiyab Thijeel, an advocate for the country’s estimated 1.2 million African-Iraqis. “We want to end that.”

Click here for full story.

Hip Hop Wednesdays on Fuse TV November 5th, 2009

fusetvFuse TV has increased their Hip-Hop offerings by dedicating each Wednesday to music and Hip Hop content. The “Hip Hop Invasion” will consist of  specials on various rappers like Tupac, Lil Wayne, Jay-Z, and many others.

Every Wednesday, Fuse will air a variety of documentaries, music videos, interviews and concerts starting at 7PM / 6C.

Fuse has been expanding its Hip Hop offerings since September, when the network aired Jay-Z’s “Answer the Call” concert at Madison Square Garden.

In September, author/journalist former BET host/journalist Toure joined the network as host of the “Hip-Hop Shop” TV show.

To see schedule click here

McNally Smith College of Music embraces Hip Hop November 5th, 2009

cube1McNally Smith College of Music, located in St. Paul, Minnesota, added a three-semester program this year dedicated to hip-hop studies. The Diploma program is for prospective students who want to explore and develop in a cross-departmental curriculum that covers music, recording technology, language, music history, and music business.

While a supporter, College President Harry Chalmiers stated the move may worry some scholars. “There are people who might say, ‘If you have Hip Hop in a college, isn’t that almost a contradiction in terms?’” he told CNN.com.

However, seeing the potential of a music genre that includes different cultural aspects, Chalmiers continued, “When we look at Hip Hop closely, we see that we can study its impact on people’s lives, on society. Where does this music come from? When it’s angry, when it’s sometimes vicious, vile or rude, why is that? What are people trying to say? These are important questions to ask.”

Faculty member Kevin Washington compared the possible backlash of Hip Hop being taught in schools to that of another musical genre. “Jazz started like Hip Hop — out of the urban neighborhoods, black neighborhoods. There was a language, there was clothing, there was a style that everybody started copying. So when they started putting jazz in schools, there was controversy at first…I felt that we [are] in the same situation with that.”

Students who enroll in the Hip Hop program get hands-on technical training on recording and mixing music in a studio. They take part in a three-course history sequence that grounds hip-hop in its cultural origins and learn the fundamentals of language through creative writing and performance.

See footage from Hip Hop program here.

Examing Hip Hop Culture  November 10th, 2009

tavisTavis Smiley airs a special on Hip Hop issues featuring commentary by Talib Kweli, KRS-One, Common, Nelly, LL Cool J, Dr. Gail Wyatt, Erica Kennedy, Bakari Kitwana, Heavy D, and Master P.

Since hip-hop emerged from the South Bronx in the 1970s, it has become an international, multi-billion-dollar phenomenon. It has grown to encompass more than just rap music—hip-hop has created a culture that incorporates ethnicity, art, politics, fashion, technology and urban life.

While keeping much of its original fan base, hip-hop music and culture have become popular among mainstream consumers—particularly suburban youth. Some believe that as commercial and “gangsta” rap emerged, so did lyrics that glorify drugs, violence and misogyny. Many artists who choose, instead, to feature socially conscious and politically oriented lyrics are considered alternative or underground.

For full read click here

R.I.P.  DJ Mr. Magic October 9th, 2009

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“Every Saturday ‘Rap Attack,’ Mr. Magic, Marley Marl …” — Notorious B.I.G., “Juicy”

Biggie immortalized him in rhyme, but by the time the Brooklyn MC name-checked Mr. Magic on 1994’s Ready to Die, the DJ was already a living legend. It was confirmed that Mr. Magic passed away Friday, October 2nd  after suffering a heart attack.

Magic, born John Rivas, was a pioneer in hip-hop and made his mark as the first DJ to host a mixshow hour on commercial radio, which was revolutionary in the early 1980s but as common as a rap CD with a “Parental Advisory” sticker on it today. Back in 1982 when Mr. Magic, along with Marley Marl as his DJ and Tyrone “Fly Ty” Williams as co-producer, kick-started “Rap Attack,” the program’s launch was arguably as significant to music history as when the Moonman planted the MTV flag in outer space.

“Rap Attack” was a cultural touchstone fondly remembered by countless rappers, breakdancers, journalists and fans who were transfixed by the early sounds of hip-hop transmitted through their speakers by Mr. Magic.

Aside from the musical nods (”Juicy” and Whodini’s “Magic’s Wand”), Magic was also known for his part in the watershed battle between the Juice Crew — founded by Marley Marl and featuring Big Daddy Kane, Craig G. and Kool G Rap — and KRS-One’s Boogie Down Productions.

“He was known for his direct and sarcastic attitude on the air,” he wrote. “And every artist wanted his approval when it came to breaking new records.”

He was hip-hop’s Walter Cronkite and a respected voice gone far too soon. May his wand rest in peace.

R.I.P. DJ Grand Master Roc Raida

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October 19th will be a month since the passing of Harlem’s own DJ Grand Master Roc Raida aka Anthony Williams. He passed on Saturday, September 19, 2009 from cardiac arrest resulting from injuries he suffered in an accident while training in Krav Maga, a type self-defense system that he had been studying weekly for the last two years.

He began DJing at the age of 12, spinning at local parties around Harlem. In 1995, Roc Raida represented the United States at the DMC World DJ Championships and won. He was the first DJ from New York City to hold this title and was automatically inducted into the DMC/Technics DJ Hall of Fame. In 2001, he appeared in the movie Scratch.

Throughout his life, he lived his passion – being a professional Hip Hop DJ.  Williams was honored to have worked with recording artists including Showbiz & AG, Lord Finesse, Kool G Rap, D.I.T.C., Big L and most recently, he toured exclusively with Busta Rhymes.

Roc Raida was given his name by former group member MC Sergio of Harlem NY. The two toured through Harlem performing at multiple night clubs before Raida went on to join the X-Men with Sean C, Johnny Cash, Steve D, Diamond J, DMD, Rob Swift, Mr Sinister, Dr.Butcher, GM Spin, Fatman Scoop (which later became the X-Ecutioners).

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There will be Hip Hop Tribute for Roc Raida at SOB’s on Tuesday, November 17th, 2009. For more details click here

Harlem Business Alliance Presents   September 21, 2009

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Rapper behind ‘Roxanne’s Revenge’ gets Warner Music to pay for Ph.D September 4th, 2009

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“This is a story that needs to be told,” Shante said. “I’m an example that you can be a teenage mom, come from the projects, and be raised by a single parent, and you can still come out of it a doctor.”

Her prognosis wasn’t as bright in the years after the ’80s icon scored a smash hit at age 14: “Roxanne’s Revenge,” a razor-tongued response to rap group UTFO’s mega-hit “Roxanne, Roxanne.”

The 1984 single sold 250,000 copies in New York City alone, making Shante (born Lolita Gooden) hip hop’s first female celebrity. She blazed a trail followed by Lil’ Kim, Salt-N-Pepa and Queen Latifah – although Shante didn’t share their success.

After two albums, Shante said, she was disillusioned by the sleazy music industry and swindled by her record company. The teen mother, living in the Queensbridge Houses, recalled how her life was shattered. “Everybody was cheating with the contracts, stealing and telling lies,” she said. “And to find out that I was just a commodity was heartbreaking.” But Shante, then 19, remembered a clause in her Warner Music recording contract: The company would fund her education for life.

She eventually cashed in, earning a Ph.D. in psychology from Cornell to the tune of $217,000 – all covered by the label. But getting Warner Music to cough up the dough was a battle. “They kept stumbling over their words, and they didn’t have an exact reason why they were telling me no,” Shante said.She figured Warner considered the clause a throwaway, never believing a teen mom in public housing would attend college. The company declined to comment for this story.

Shante found an arm-twisting ally in Marguerita Grecco, the dean at Marymount Manhattan College. Shante showed her the contract, and the dean let her attend classes for free while pursuing the money. “I told Dean Grecco that either I’m going to go here or go to the streets, so I need your help,” Shante recalls. “She said, ‘We’re going to make them pay for this.’”

Grecco submitted and resubmitted the bills to the label, which finally agreed to honor the contract when Shante threatened to go public with the story. Shante earned her doctorate in 2001, and launched an unconventional therapy practice focusing on urban African-Americans – a group traditionally reluctant to seek mental health help.

“People put such a taboo on therapy, they feel it means they’re going crazy,” she explained. “No, it doesn’t. It just means you need someone else to talk to.” Shante often incorporates hip-hop music into her sessions, encouraging her clients to unleash their inner MC and shout out exactly what’s on their mind.

“They can’t really let loose and enjoy life,” she said. “So I just let them unlock those doors.” Shante, 38, is also active in the community. She offers $5,000 college scholarships each semester to female rappers through the nonprofit Hip Hop Association. She also dispenses advice to young women in the music business via a MySpace page. “I call it a warning service, so their dreams don’t turn into nightmares,” she said.

Hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons said Shante is a shining role model for the rap community. “Dr. Shante’s life is inspiring,” Simmons said. “She was a go-getter who rose from the struggle and went from hustling to teaching. She is a prime example that you can do anything, and everything is possible.”

Read more here.

Happy Birthday Hip Hop   August 11th, 2009

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It was 36 years ago to this very day that a young Clive Campbell aka DJ Kool Herc and a handful of kids in a small, sweltering rec room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue on August 11, 1973 started a music and cultural revolution that changed the world forever!

It began from humble beginnings in The Bronx. Cindy Campbell (Herc’s kid sister) decided to throw an end of summer, back to school party. Her big brother, DJ Kool Herc, extended the break beats and mesmerized the jam packed crowd. DJ Kool Herc performed the ground breaking art form of the Merry-Go-Round, playing the same 2 records, isolating the funkiest percussion sections, extending those 5 second break beats into 5 minutes of dance fury. He tapped his Jamaican roots where Island DJ’s at yard party’s would toast individuals…Herc used the Mic to move the original Bronx house party crowd with shout-outs over the records, which began the element of Emceeing. 

koolhercHerc’s parties featured a new style of dance where people would up-rock or hit the ground to go off, he named these dancers “b-boys”. Soon DJ Kool Herc had to move the party outside from 1520 Sedgwick Avenue to Cedar Park. He hot wired the base of a street lamp to juice up his Herculord speakers. Three thousand people showed up in complete darkness that summer night. Hip Hop would never be contained in-side again.

Happy Birthday Hip Hop and God bless DJ Kool Herc and his young sister Cindy who started it all that hot summer’s night. To learn more about August 11, 1973 visit Sedgwick & Cedar click here.

 

The Scratch DJ Academy Offers Tutorial Book  July 6, 2009

The Scratch DJ Academy recently released its turntable tutorial, titled On The Record: The Scratch DJ Academy Guide. The book attempts not only to direct deejay hopefuls in their scratching endeavors, but also to familiarize readers with the lifestyle and culture of other successful deejays who have made huge impacts on the art form.

Co-founded in 2002 by legendary Run-DMC member Jam Master Jay, The Scratch DJ Academy aims to bring together amateurs and veteran deejays and producers. In addition to the new book, aspiring deejays can pay $300 for a six-week turntabling program at different locations in New York City, Miami, and Los Angeles.

The book contains interviews with over 45 celebrity deejays including DJ AM, Grandmaster Flash, Q-Bert, and DJ Skribble who give insight on the history of the art form, the art of the mixtape, and how to handle gigs, among other tips.

Founder of Rap Coalition, Wendy Day starts new consulting agency June 12, 2009

Wendy Day, founder of Rap Coalition has created a new consulting agency designed to work with clients in finding ways to sell their music and establish their own record label. This new venture, Indie Label Builder, will serve as an “Incubator” to lay the groundwork for a successful stint in the music world, by utilizing the company’s expertise in launching labels and artists in a competitive field.

“The cool thing about incubating labels is that the success rate of urban Indies will skyrocket, “Wendy Day told Allhiphop.com. Indie Label Builders offers services such as planning, organization, promotions, set up and company structuring. The company also offers day –to-day assistance in regards to tax structure and payments, marketing plans, budgets, selling CD’s and digital downloads and obtaining proper contracts for artists and producers.

“You can expect a nurturing environment where they can build and run their own companies under the guidance of someone with my experience, expertise, and track record-for less than you’d pay an employee,” Wendy says. In addition to the Rap Coalition, the writer/business woman made a name for herself while managing the careers of rappers such as Slick Rick, Twista, David Banners, and others.

With her latest venture, Day is looking to provide equal footing for those who have encountered roadblocks on their way to garnering success.


VH1 Hip Hop Honors celebrates 25 years in the Def  June 4, 2009

 

VH1 will celebrate Def Jam Records 25th Anniversary at the VH1 Hip Hop Honors set to take place Tuesday, October 12th. This year will also mark the star-studded event’s departure from the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan, NY, to the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Howard Gilman Opera House in Brooklyn, NY. 30 Rock star and Saturday Night Live alum Tracy Morgan will reprise his role as host for the third consecutive year.

Former Yo! MTV Raps host Fab 5 Freddie and author/filmmaker Nelson George will continue to serve as the programs the program’s executive producers. Over the past years, VH1 Honors have celebrated the contributions of legendary artists including KRS-One, Public Enemy, Sugarhill Gang, Big Daddy Kane, Ice-T, Ice Cube, Rakim, Cypress Hill, and MC Lyte.

Each year the program recognizes iconic films, movies, and individuals who have helped to mold the culture, from the graffiti movement, to R&B great Isaac Hayes. “Throughout the years VH1 has honored numerous artists from the Def Jam label, but due to the magnificent impact that Def Jam as a company has made on not only Hip Hop culture but pop culture as a whole, we thought they definitely deserved the opportunity to be honored,” says VH1’s EVP of Music Production Lee Rolontz.

Def Jam Records impact on comedy, spoken word, fashion and pop culture will also be celebrated. Additional details about the 2009 VH1 Hip Hop Honors including performances, presenters, specific honorees, and related programming will be made available later this summer at VH1.com.

Young Jeezy Reaches For SAG-CARD  April 1, 2009

For those wondering what a SAG card is, it’s the abbreviation for Screen Actor’s Guild. The Screen Actor’s Guild covers all union films, commercials, videos that are shot on film. Getting a SAG-CARD is very important to a newcomer wanting to get work in Hollywood or anywhere else union projects are being filmed.  Is Jeezy the next rapper to step onto the BIG screen?

Nowadays more and more rappers are emerging onto the movie scene. Ludacris, Common, T.I, and 50 cents have all done it, now its Jeezy’s turn. The talented rapper who had everyone chanting “My president is black, lambo’s blue”, has landed a role in the new film “Janky Promoters” written and produced by Ice Cube. The movie is about two shady promoters (Ice Cube and Mike Epps) who get in over their heads when they get a chance to book a big-name hip-hop act. The Hip Hop superstar is played by Young Jeezy which shouldn’t be too difficult for the lyricist because he is exactly that. Hitting the BIG screen may be new to Jeezy but dealing with bad promoters doesn’t come as a surprise to the rap star. Jeezy told Vibe Magazine: “I’ve been through the ‘janky promoter’ thing. When you’re in that club and came to see your favorite artist, and its taking them forever to come out-like they’re back there being funny, just know that he’s probably trying to get his money [laughs]. The movie is one of those flicks that’s just good, and it still has the G edge to it, and it’s my debut flick”. “Janky Promoters” will be hitting theaters soon. Hip Hop heads go out and support lets “Put On” for our culture!


Hip Hop Gives Cuba A Voice April 2, 2009

 

Hip hop is one U.S. commodity that has made it past the trade embargo to Cuba. Cuba has developed a homegrown rap movement, inspired by the sounds and fashions of U.S. hip hop. But what makes Cuban rappers different is their lyrics address social issues in a country where free speech is tightly controlled. Cuban rap began to surface in the 1990s, a grassroots affair, with songs recorded in rappers’ bedrooms and distributed on cassette tapes. The island’s fledgling hip hop scene was given a boost in 1999, when it was endorsed by the government as “an authentic expression of Cuban Culture.”

In the following years the government set up the Cuban Rap Agency (CRA) to promote the scene, as well as a record label, “Asere Productions,” and a rap magazine called “Movimiento.” Government approval helped Cuban hip hop emerge from the underground, but some see that endorsement as a gilded cage. Formed in 1996, rap duo “Doble Filo” (”Double Edged”) have been part of the Havana scene since the beginning and work with the Cuban Rap Agency. But rapper Irak Saenz admits there are contradictions in being part of the system. “It does limit our creative freedom,” he told CNN. “The CRA has an agenda that goes with the government’s agenda. It doesn’t limit me but it does force me to be creative in how I express my ideas.”

Along with fellow Cuban rap duo “Los Aldeanos” (”The Villagers”) “Doble Filo” work with U.S. hip hop audio/visual label, Emetrece Productions. But “Los Aldeanos”, who formed in 2003, are part of a younger generation of Cuban rappers. They don’t belong the CRA, and nor do they want to. They are defiantly underground and outspoken. “Hip hop is an art form speaks the truth about how people are living,” says Aldo Rodriguez, one half of Los Aldeanos. “Our lyrics don’t always go with the standard Cuban rhetoric and often that won’t get airplay,” says Rodriguez. “I can be famous in other countries, but here they won’t let me play a concert in a theater.”

Like most other Cuban rap groups, “Los Aldeanos” aren’t yet in a position to make a living from their music. El B has won Cuba’s Red Bull freestyle rapping championship three years in a row, but he still has a day job as a primary school teacher. A lack of funds and equipment means the island’s hip hop producers have to use a certain amount of ingenuity when it comes to recording their music. Doble Filo’s producer Edgaro explains that in the group’s early days, he would make tracks by looping the last few bars of songs on cassette tapes. These days, Edgaro produces songs on his PC, but the software is pirated from copies brought into the country and circulated on the streets. It simply isn’t available in the stores.

As the scene develops the groups are getting more ambitious. Doble Filo are now incorporating live musicians into their sound, weaving in elements of traditional Cuban music, and they are set to release their debut album “Despierta” (”Wake up”) through Emetrece Productions. Emetrece is run by Melisa Riviere, a Ph.D. candidate in the Anthropology Department at the University of Minnesota. More than just promoting good music, she says Emetrece is trying to educate, and to challenge the U.S. embargo on Cuba. Like Cuba’s rappers, she sees hip hop as a tool for social change. As El B puts it, “I think one of the things people take from the music is the idea that we can do anything, we can change anything, we can be anything we want.”


THE HIP HOP CULTURE CENTER IN HARLEM PRESENTS THE 3RD ANNUAL RAPATHON

 

New York, NY– Get your energy drinks, sleeping, bags and hottest rhymes ready, the 3rd Annual Rapathon is finally here. With an extended 2 hours, H2C2 takes the art of an emcee to an all new high. A 26 hour non-stop cipher without profanity featuring 100 rappers may sound impossible, but we’re here to prove it can be done. Over the past 3 years we’ve managed to gather a collective group of emcees with amazing freestyle/lyrical skills. Artists from the Tri-state area, Cuba, Sweden, and Lithuania have accompanied H2C2 in this incredible feat.

H2C2 is a facility that conducts Hip Hop centric education youth programs, sneaker battles, artist showcases & expos, art exhibitions, and corporate special events. Our most significant event of the year, the record-breaking Rapathon, has proven to be a great outlet for unsigned and upcoming artists to spread their message. Members of the Rapathon Alumni have performed at Summer Jam, been signed to major record labels, and have had a video directed and produced by Ralph McDaniels.

The Hip Hop experience begins Saturday, May 30th, 2009 at 6:00 pm and ends Sunday, May 31st, 2009 at 8:00 pm. The Rapathon is open to anyone with a love for Hip Hop and the ability to rhyme for 90 seconds straight without cursing. If you think you got what it takes, want to showcase your talent, or just want to be amongst your kind of folk’, the Rapathon is the place to be. There will be no fee for emcees to participate, just space, opportunity, and cool prizes for the best performers. However, there will be a general admission entry fee for spectators. This year will be truly unique for H2C2 because the Guinness World Records is supporting us in our endeavors to document the 3rd Annual Rapathon as the “longest un-ending rap” category in history.

The Hip Hop Culture Center in Harlem is located at 2309 Frederick Douglass Blvd., 2nd Floor of the Magic Johnson Theater in the heart of Harlem, along 125th Street shopping district. We are accessible by A, B, C, D, 2 and 3 trains.

For more information pertaining to the 3rd Annual Rapathon, please contact Natassia Seward at 212-234-7171 or  hiphopculturectr@gmail.com