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Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum Displays New Hip-Hop Artifacts

July 21, 2008

Not since the early days of rock and roll has an African-American-driven cultural phenomenon taken such a strong hold of mainstream American society as hip-hop. In its more than 30-year existence, hip-hop has transformed itself at least as much as it has transformed the culture at large. Whether hip-hop primarily reflects the culture from which some of it arises – the violence, despair, the sexism – or gives vent to the frustrations of that culture, remains a question. What is clear is that its main concerns, from simple human relationships to the burning social questions of the day, echo those of early rock and roll. HIP-HOP JUST PUMPED UP THE VOLUME!

Hip-Hop artifacts viewable now at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland include:

Assorted Hip-Hop Flyers c.1977 – 1985
Includes flyers from Saul Abbatiello, Afrika Bambaataa, Phase Too, Grandmaster Flash, Lovebug Starski and DJ Kool Herc.
Slick Rick
Hat & Eye Patch c.1985
Slick Rick’s eye patch was not an affectation, as he was blinded in the right eye by broken glass as an infant.
Run D.M.C.
Tennis Shoes & Sunglass Frames c.1985
Grandmaster Flash
Mixer & Cap c.1988
**Flashformer Mixer by Gemini**
Cap by Kangol
Body Count T-Shirt c.1998
Release of Contract from Sire Records, November 12, 1992

After much public pressure, Sire Records asked Ice-T to pull the track “Cop Killer” from his 1992 Body Count album, claiming the track advocated violence against police. Ice-T refused, feeling the request compromised his artistic integrity. This letter released the artist from his recording contract.
“Radio Suckers” lyric manuscript 1988
Rolling Stone magazine August 20, 1992
Concert Poster August 28, 1991 (Emunclaw, Washington)

Letter from the F.B.I. to Priority Records August 1, 1989
Baseball Cap c.1990
2 Live Crew
“Banned In The U.S.A.” 45 rpm single, vinyl 1990
Public Enemy
Original Artwork c.1989
Tour Program Sketches c.1989
From It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back album
Spin Magazine October 1992
**Flavor Flav of Public Enemy Clock c.1988**
“Fight the Power” lyric manuscript
L.L. Cool J
Leather Jacket 1995
Design by Vanson Leathers
Pepa of Salt-n-Pepa
Jacket 1988
Design by Mary’s Fashion
Snoop Dogg
The Source Magazine April 1998
T-Shirt and Sneakers c.2000
“Money” lyric manuscript c.1998
This lyric segment is from an unreleased rap by Snoop Dogg

Hockey Jersey and Sneakers c.1999

Notorious B.I.G.
**Leather Jersey c.1995**
45 rpm Records c.1995
These singles were from Biggie Smalls’ personal collection. He used these and many other records as backing tracks and samples for his early live performances and recordings.

Sean “P.Diddy” Combs
Jacket by Gucci 2003

Andre 3000
Sweater and Sneakers 2003

Mike D.
Gloves and Goggles 1999

Wyclef Jean
Harmonicas c.1996

Lauryn Hill
Leather Jacket by levi stauss 1998

Queen Latifah
**Stage outfit 1989**
Queen Latifah photo c.1989

House of Pain
Ring and Pin c.1992

De La Soul
Necklace 1989

Prince Paul
Notebook 1988
As the producer for De La Soul, Prince Paul wrote production notes in this notebook during the recording of their debut album, 3 Feet High and Rising.

“Rapture” lyric manuscript
Written by Debbie Harry & Chris Stein
Performed by Blondie
Released on the album Autoamerican 1981
“Rapture” was released in January 1981. It became one of the first substantial hits to reference hip-hop, and it was the first rap-influenced single to reach Number One on the Billboard chart. The lyric references Fab 5 Freddy. The “Rapture” video, in which Freddy has a brief cameo, was the first hip-hop video to be shown on MTV.

About the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum is the nonprofit organization that exists to educate visitors, fans and scholars from around the world about the history and continuing significance of rock and roll music. It carries out this mission both through its operation of a world-class museum that collects, preserves, exhibits and interprets this art form and through its library and archives as well as its educational programs.

The Museum is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. On Wednesdays, the Museum is open until 9 p.m. Museum admission is $22 for adults, $17 for seniors (65+), $13 for youth (9-12), $18 for adult residents of Greater Cleveland. Children under 8 and Museum members are free. The Museum is generously funded by Cuyahoga County residents through Cuyahoga Arts and Culture. When you become a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, the world of rock and roll becomes yours to explore. Call 216.515.1939 for information on becoming a member. For general inquiries, please call 216.781.ROCK or visit

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