The National Museum of African American History and Culture is partnering with the Grammy Award-winning record label Smithsonian Folkways Recordings to create the Smithsonian “Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap.”
According to the Smithsonian, the “Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap” is currently in production and will be released sometime this summer. The extensive box set highlights the history, evolution, and impact of hip hop spanning the years 1979-2013. It features over 120 tracks, 9 cds, a 300 page book with 10 essays, track-by-track liner notes and unreleased images that captured the culture.
On Kickstarter, the campaign states, “The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap will illustrate different social and political trends within the genre, such as police brutality, feminism, and Afrocentrism. It will explore these themes through music from old school pioneers like the Sugarhill Gang and Roxanne Shanté to artists of today like Kanye West and Nicki Minaj — and four decades’ worth of essential names in between.”
The “Anthology” was developed by the Smithsonian in collaboration with an advisory board comprised of members of the hip hop community including Chuck D, MC Lyte, Questlove and 9th Wonder. To ensure authenticity, the committee reached out to more than 50 artists, scholars, DJs, photographers, filmmakers and other members of the hip hop community for their input into the track list and final package. The founding creative director of Def Jam Records, Cey Adams, designed the “Anthology’s” artwork.
The “Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap” will also serve as an extension of the objects and stories of hip hop already displayed in the galleries of the National Museum of African American History and Culture. The anthology will likely be used as a tool for education in a college or high school curriculum as it explores hip-hop’s evolution and global influence.
In Sept. 2017, The Smithsonian Institute launched a Kickstarter campaign asking for donations to reach a goal of $250,000 to help produce the anthology. By November, the goal was met and the plans were in place to create the historic homage to hip hop.
The “Smithsonian Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap” will be the third major anthology produced by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings following the “Anthology of American Folk Music” and “Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology.” Each book tells the story of a defining era of music. After it was initially scheduled to release in 2018, “The Anthology of Hip Hop and Rap” is now slated to be released this summer.