YouTube has announced that they will celebrate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop this year by launching the FIFTY DEEP campaign.
This month marks 50 years since DJ Kool Herc performed at a party in the Bronx and showed off his DJing invention of scratching records to extend the instrumental breaks in the song. This revelation was the cornerstone for hip-hop as people could dance longer (evolving into breakdancing) and aspiring MCs could rap during song breaks.
In honour of the musical milestone, YouTube has launched FIFTY DEEP, “a cultural campaign on YouTube that salutes how far [the genre] come.” Director of Black Music & Culture Tuma Basa wrote a blog post on the new campaign, saying that the mission “is for every generation to dig into the gems of YouTube’s archival treasury of Hip Hop.”
They plan to fulfil their mission by collating a visual library of 2,000 videos that “have changed the game” for hip-hop music, having a custom Yoodle (YouTube’s version of the Google Doodle) to pay homage to the phenomenon of type beats, and creating a Google Arts & Culture Hip Hop Hub to collate “a wide range of cultural institutions’ collections and curated stories.”
FIFTY DEEP will kick off this Friday (August 11) with a live stream of Hip-Hop 50 Live on Mass Appeal’s official YouTube channel. The celebratory concert has a star-studded line-up of world-class rappers which is headlined by legendary duo Run-DMC, who will share the stage with fellow rap pioneers Lil Wayne, Nas, Snoop Dogg and more on the main stage. There will also be a showcase for the “Women of hip-hop”, where Lil Kim, Eve, Trina and more will recite their hits for the Bronx crowd at New York’s Yankee Stadium.
Basa also shared that YouTube has brought back the YouTube Avenues program in collaboration with hip-hop figure and YouTube cultural advisor Wallo267. Going to the Southern hip-hop hotspots of Atlanta, New Orleans, Baltimore, Raleigh/Durham and Miami, they hope to empower the next generation of hip-hop enthusiasts.
Explaining the reason why YouTube is “going so hard to salute Hip Hop,” Basa wrote: “Hip Hop has been poppin’ on YouTube dating back to when Soulja Boy’s ‘Crank That’ video went viral in 2007. And just last year, nine of the top ten artists in the U.S. were Hip Hop artists and collectively earned over 16B views globally in the calendar year.
“YouTube is a place I can find nearly every version of every song, plus interviews, plus podcasts, plus commentary, plus live performances, et cetera, et cetera. Basically, if it happened and it was recorded, YouTube is where people come to find it.”
At this year’s Grammys ceremony, Questlove curated a tribute to hip-hop which featured LL Cool J, GloRilla, Ice-T and Jay-Z. The performance came after Dr Dre was honoured with the Global Impact Award, which now will be known as the Dr Dre Global Impact Award.
Elsewhere, Nas and the Wu-Tang Clan went on their ‘NY State Of Mind’ tour, performing their hits for fans across the world. After their sold-out London gig at The O2, Nas hosted an afterparty with Hennessy to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop. Ghostface Killah and Raekwon both surprised the audience and recited their verses from iconic hip-hop tracks like ‘C.R.E.A.M’ and ‘Protect Ya Neck’.
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