Smithsonian’s Hip-Hop and Rap Anthology

Nas, Public Enemy and More Highlighted in Smithsonian's 'Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap'

The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap was released on Friday (August 20), including 120 tracks, nine CDs, a 300-page book with 11 essays, extensive track-by-track liner notes, and never-before-seen photos of classic hip-hop moments. 

The hip-hop almanac includes some commentary from Chuck D, former Def Jam publicist and hip-hop historian Bill Aldlerm, journalist Adam Bradley, and many more. Photography from some of the culture’s most essential photographers, including Janette Beckam, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper, and are direction from Def Jam’s Cey Adams, add to the book’s credibility.

The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap takes a deep dive into four decades of hip-hop music, from Sugarhill Gang’s “Rapper’s Delight” to Kanye’s “Blood on the Leaves,” the anthology takes us through some of hip-hop’s most significant singles. 


The box set includes iconic hip-hop acts like Beastie Boys, Notorious B.I.G., 2Pac, Goodie Mob, Lauryn Hill, Public Enemy, Nas, Queen Latifah, Ice-T, MC Lyte, and more. The book is a time capsule, telling the story of the evolution of hip-hop music. 

Produced by The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, the book is the latest in the Smithsonian African American Legacy Series.

“Born in the Bronx and raised across the American West and South, Hip Hop is one of the most influential genres of music in the modern era,” Andrew W. Mellon, Director of NMAAHC Kevin Young, said in a press release. “Through beats, dynamic rhymes, and pointed lyricism, Hip Hop has provided a platform for communities and generations to voice their ongoing struggles and has changed society and culture around the world.”


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