Officially marking hip hop music’s path from an underground music form to a multi-billion-dollar genre enjoyed across the globe, the much anticipated Hip-Hop Hall of Fame is finally set to open in 2017 in Harlem and in Midtown.
The Harlem site on 125th street will be a 12,000-square-foot museum space, and the Midtown location will be a more hands-on 50,000-square foot space that features 90-minute tours and an interactive area.
JT Thompson, organizer of the museum’s entertainment committee, expressed why the physical element of the Hall of Fame is so important.
“People need to understand the importance of hip hop, the elements, the DJs, the B-boys and B-girls and the graffiti writers,” he told Complex.
The project is estimated to cost around $80 million, $50 million of which has already been raised through crowd funding. It will house legendary items from hip-hop history such as posters, actual garments worn by famous entertainers like Salt-N-Pepa, Run-DMC, Young Jeezy and Common and equipment used in shows.
The plans for this museum have been a long time coming and have changed locations several times, from the Bronx to the Kingsbridge Armory before finally settling on Harlem and Midtown. Most hip hop historians would acknowledge that the music first originated in the Bronx, but that location would likely serve as too far a hike for tourists.
Construction and planning was put on hold in 1996 after the turmoil surrounding the death of rap legend Tupac Shakur, but now organizers are expecting to break ground in 2015.
With other music halls of fame opening more than ten years before this one, such as the Rock Hall of Fame in 1995 and the American Classical Music Hall of Fame in 1996, it’s about time that a genre as influential as hip hop joined the ranks.
“Hip hop got a bad rep,” said Kenny Snyder, co-chair of the museum’s entertainment committee along with Thompson. “With this museum, it’s important to sit on the other side of it,” he said.
He is hopeful that this museum will promote the positive side of hip hop over all the negativity that is shown in the media.