10 Vivid Photos Reveal Hip-Hop’s New York Evolution

Check out Busta Rhymes and LL Cool J from back in the day.

10
View Slideshow
0/0
Janette Beckman, Busta Rhymes (Leaders of the New School), (1990).
Photo: courtesy Janette Beckman/Museum of the City of New York.
Joe ConzoTony Tone and Kool Herc Backstage at T-Connection (1979). Photo: courtesy of Joe Conzo/ Museum of the City of New York.
Janette Beckman, Salt N Pepa, (1987).
Photo: courtesy of Janette Beckman.
Janette Beckman, Queen Latifah (1990).
Photo: courtesy of Janette Beckman/ Museum of the City of New York.
Joe Conzo, JDL at Skatin’ Palace ,(1981).
Photo: courtesy of Joe Conzo/Museum of the City of New York.
Martha Cooper, High Times Crew breaking outside transit police station, Washington Heights, Manhattan, (1980) .
Photo: courtesy of Martha Cooper/ Museum of the City of New York.
Jannett Beckman, EPMD Babylon Long Island, (1989) .
Photo: courtesy Janette Beckman/ Museum of the City of New York.
Joe Conzo, Almighty KG of the Cold Crush Brothers at Harlem World , (1981).
Photo: courtesy Joe Conzo/ Museum of the City of New York.
Janette Beckman, LL Cool J with Cut Creator, E-Love, and B-Rock.) (1986).
Photo: courtesy Janette Beckman/ Museum of the City of New York.
Janette Beckman, Afrika Bambaata.
Photo: courtesy Janette Beckman/ Museum of the City of New York.

Remember the heyday of Yo! MTV Raps with Ed Lover and Doctor Dré (no relation to Dr Dre of NWA fame) and Fab 5 Freddy? Remember way back when Biggie had the red-and-black lumberjack with the hat to match? When mixtapes on actual cassettes were a thing?

Well, three photographers whose work is now on view at the Museum of the City of New York do. Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper were on hand to document Gotham’s thriving hip-hop scene, and the show “Hip-Hop Revolution” presents 100 of their photographs, taken between 1977 and 1990.

The images document various elements of the scene, from rapping and DJ-ing to breakdancing. Hip-hop mainstays and icons, from Queen Latifah, Busta Rhymes, and Afrika Bambaata to the Cold Crush Brothers, pose for the camera and are captured performing in front of adoring crowds.

Conzo was a teenager when he started documenting the scene in the Bronx. Cooper is known for her extensive recording of the graffiti-writing scene in New York. For her part, Beckman was a music photographer in Britain, having shot the fledgling punk scene for magazines and having created three Police album covers before she moved to New York in 1982 to immerse herself in the hip-hop scene.

It’s no surprise the cultural movement is getting its own show, over the years it has consistently cropped up on the art world’s radar through various outlets (see Hip-Hop Artist Switzz Beatz to Curate Booths at SCOPE Miami BeachThis Tumblr Features Mashups of Hip-Hop and High Art, Street Artist Jay Shells Paints Hip-Hop-Inspired Mural in Brooklyn).

Listening stations appear alongside the photographs as well as ephemera like flyers promoting performances by the exhibition’s featured artists.

“Hip-Hop Revolution” is on view at the Museum of the City of New York April 1 through September 13, 2015.


Follow artnet News on Facebook:


Want to stay ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to get the breaking news, eye-opening interviews, and incisive critical takes that drive the conversation forward.

Share

Article topics