The Year in Music 2023: Hip-hop celebrates 50 years

As hip-hop rung in its 50th anniversary on August 11, a host of celebratory events took place across the nation. Here’s a look at some of the year’s parties, performances and special 50th birthday tributes:

— 50 Years of Hip-Hop, Bronx, New York — Keith Cowboy of Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five and Lovebug Starski were honored with proclamations for coining the term “hip-hop.” The event featured a graffiti artist showcase, musical performances and guest speakers.   

 Vice President Kamala Harris x Live Nation Urban, D.C. House Party — Harris welcomed MC LyteJeezyCommonLil WayneDoug E. FreshRoxanne Shanté and hundreds of other stars to her home for a party full of live performances. From the stage built on her lawn, Harris told the audience, “Hip-hop is the ultimate American art form.”  

— Amazon Music: 50 & Forever: New York — Amazon Music’s hip-hop and R&B brand, Rotation, celebrated the genre all summer long with its 50 & Forever series. Special performances by WaleRick RossClipseJoey Badass and more took place at New York City’s Pier 17. A final show scheduled for August 10 with Ja Rule and Ashanti was canceled “due to unforeseen circumstances.”

— Rock the Bells Festival, Queens, New York — In August, hip-hop’s birth month, LL Cool J curated a star-studded arena show at Forest Hills Stadium with a decade-spanning concert featuring artists new and old. Acts listed on the roster included legends RakimCold Crush BrothersBig Daddy KaneSlick Rick, the South’s Ludacris, pioneering female rapper Queen Latifah, and New York natives Run-DMC and MC Lyte.  

— Mass Appeal’s Hip Hop Live 50, Bronx, New York — Run-DMC headlined a massive concert live from Yankee Stadium, which highlighted different categories of hip-hop. There was a “Queens of” set featuring EveLil’ KimRemy Ma and Trina; a “Pillars of” set featuring Father of Hip-Hop DJ Kool HercKurtis BlowMelle Mel and The Sugarhill Gang; a “Legendary DJ” set with Mannie Fresh and Marley Marl; a “Walk Off” set featuring Snoop Dogg and Ice Cube; and more live performances.

— Grammy’s Salute to 50 Years of Hip-Hop, Inglewood, California — LL Cool J produced and hosted the two-hour concert, complete with appearances and performances by Queen Latifah, Public EnemyJermaine DupriE-40YG and more. Will Smith — as the Fresh Prince — and DJ Jazzy Jeff reunited to perform a medley of their most popular ’90s hits. 

Copyright © 2023, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.