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The Bronx’s Universal Hip Hop Museum Awarded $3.75 Million from New York State

By Brooklyn Baldwin, The Root

On Thursday, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced a state grant of $3.75 million to be awarded to help the formation of The Universal Hip Hop Museum, which is planned to be complete in 2023.

Kurtis Blow2
Kurtis Blow (Courtesy of the Hip-Hop Nutcracker)

According to CNN, the venue – co-founded by music executive Rocky Bucano, rap music legend Kurtis Blow and trailblazing deejay Grand Wizzard Theodore – aims to be the definitive archive dedicated to the preservation and celebration of hip-hop history and culture.

“We knew it was important because the Bronx is where hip-hop started,” Bucano, who serves at chairman and president, told the outlet. “It’s crazy to think of how hip-hop — which has such an influence on pop culture, advertising, politics — doesn’t have a place to call home.”

Born and raised in the Bronx, Bucano was a DJ as a teenager in the early 1970’s before becoming a club promoter and then a TV producer. In the early 1990s, he worked with producers Dallas Austin and Antonio “L.A.” Reid as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Rowdy Records.

He described the 8-year-old museum as an “ambitious, audacious dream” to CNN,

Among the founding board of directors is Ice-T and cultural ambassadors include New York natives LL Cool J and Nas.

News12 The Bronx reported the $80 million institution is currently taking shape at a temporary location in the Bronx Terminal Market but eventually will be a 50,000-square-foot place to call home in Bronx Point in an empty parking lot off the Major Deegan Expressway by 149th Street, and the Harlem River.

The goal of the museum will be to showcase hip-hop culture and its influence dating back to the 1970s, where it was conceived in The Bronx.

Partnerships with Microsoft and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology will give visitors a more personalized look into the history of hip-hop through artificial intelligence, CNN reported.

“Hip-hop has touched every aspect of modern society and it’s important for the community to know that it was created by people who looked just like them,” Bucano said.

This article originally appeared in The Root.

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