In a groundbreaking celebration of the genre’s rich history, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is hosting “HOLLA IF YA HEAR ME,” a comprehensive exhibition on hip-hop. The exhibit, set to open to the public on June 29th, features an impressive lineup of iconic figures such as JAY-Z, GRANDMASTER FLASH, ROXANNE SHANTE, CHUCK D, SALT N’ PEPA, THE NOTORIOUS B.I.G., QUEEN LATIFAH, and many more.
From handwritten lyrics to the earliest hip-hop gear, the exhibition offers a deep dive into the cultural phenomenon that has shaped music and society for over five decades. It delves into the transformative power of beats, rhymes, movement, and art that birthed hip-hop amidst a time of social and economic change worldwide.
Darryl DMC McDaniels, reflecting on his New York City upbringing, shared, “When the reality of the struggle of life brought hell…music brought us heaven!” McDaniels expressed his pride in celebrating this milestone in music history alongside the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
“HOLLA IF YA HEAR ME” showcases never-before-seen artifacts from hip-hop pioneers like Grandmaster Flash & the Furious Five, Afrika Bambaataa, DJ Kool Herc, Sylvia Robinson, Roxanne Shante, and The Sugarhill Gang. Highlights include the handbill from the historic “All Star Birthday Bash for DJ Kool Herc” in 1973, considered the birthplace of hip-hop, as well as artifacts marking significant milestones in the genre’s evolution.
The exhibition extends into the “new school” era, featuring artifacts from LL COOL J, Salt-N-Pepa, and key moments of hip-hop’s social consciousness with artists like Public Enemy, Kendrick Lamar, Ice-T, and Queen Latifah. Simultaneously, it pays homage to hardcore rap legends such as N.W.A, Wu-Tang Clan, Tupac, Notorious B.I.G., and more.
Salt-N-Pepa, the first female hip-hop group to achieve Gold and Platinum certifications, expressed their excitement for being part of the exhibit. They emphasized the significance of their achievements within hip-hop’s trajectory and their pride in celebrating this momentous occasion at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Chuck D, known for his vocal contributions to hip-hop’s social consciousness, stated, “The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame has been recognizing hip-hop and its contributions to music since 2007.” He expressed his honor to be part of the celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary and acknowledged the inductions of DJ Kool Herc, Missy Elliott, and Rage Against the Machine.
The exhibition also features a section dedicated to the moguls of hip-hop, including artifacts from Jay-Z, Sean “Diddy” Combs, Russell Simmons, and more. Furthermore, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s education team is launching a new resource collection to assist students in exploring the genre’s influential figures.
To commemorate the 50th anniversary of hip-hop and the opening of “HOLLA IF YA HEAR ME,” the Rock Hall Shop offers an extensive assortment of licensed merchandise, allowing fans to take home a piece of the exhibit and celebrate their love for hip-hop culture.
Technics, the exhibition sponsor, expressed their enthusiasm for being part of the milestone event. They acknowledged the impact of the hip-hop community on their brand and stated that the Rock Hall is the perfect place to honor this influential legacy.
For more information and a detailed list of artifacts, please visit the exhibition overview on the official Rock & Roll Hall of Fame website.