It has been a long time coming, but it’s finally here. According to CNN, New York awarded a $3.75 million state grant to help build The Universal Hip Hop Museum, dedicated to the preservation and celebration of hip-hop history and culture throughout the decades.
Presently, The Universal Hip Hop Museum is temporarily located in the Bronx Terminal Market and is the brainchild of New Yorkers who have been on the hip-hop scene since the beginning.
Executive Director and Bronx native, Rocky Bucano, who was a teenage DJ in the ’70s describes the 8-year-old museum as an “ambitious, audacious dream.”
“We knew it was important because the Bronx is where hip-hop started,” Bucano told CNN. “It’s crazy to think of how hip-hop — which has such an influence on pop culture, advertising, politics — doesn’t have a place to call home.”
Along with Bucano, the other co-founding members include hip-hop legends Kurtis Blow, the first commercially successful rapper, and Grand Wizzard Theodore, who pioneered the popular DJ technique known as “scratching.” On the founding board of directors is Ice-T and cultural ambassadors include New York natives LL Cool J and Nas.
The museum is expected to live on a 50,000-square-foot land in Bronx Point come 2023. The grant was announced on Thursday by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as part of a statewide package of economic and community development funding.
The museum will showcase all aspects of hip-hop culture, like fashion and breakdancing, as well as the evolution of hip-hop. From the beginnings of Grandmaster Flash in the late 1970s to now, the museum will cover all aspects of hip-hop.
Partnerships with Microsoft and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will give visitors a more personalized look into the history of hip-hop through artificial intelligence.
“We want to empower, inspire and engage the community,” said Bucano. “Hip-hop has touched every aspect of modern society and it’s important for the community to know that it was created by people who looked just like them.”
The museum will also offer workshops, mentorships, and programming to help area youths, Bucano said.