Universal Hip Hop Museum Finally Opens – At Least Virtually
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame finally chose NWA for its 2016 class. They’d been eligible since 2012, and one suspects it took the huge success of the group’s Hollywood biopic – Straight Outta Compton, which grossed $200m – to get voters to pay attention.
But perhaps it’s time for rap fans to stop hoping for validation from the out-of-touch Cleveland institution. Hip-hop clearly needs its own hall of fame. And that’s exactly the idea behind something called the Universal Hip-Hop Museum, which counts among its backers many important hip-hop pioneers, including Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Melle Mel and Kurtis Blow.
But though the spot was announced with fanfare about two years ago, it still lacks a physical home. Its organizers would prefer a location in the Bronx – where hip-hop began – and the museum was originally slated for the Kingsbridge Armory, a historical site that has remained vacant for decades. But its renovation has stalled, and the museum’s chairman Rocky Bucano says they now have their eyes on another location, called the Old Bronx Borough Courthouse.
In the meantime the museum is focused on its virtual space. They’ve teamed up with a visual effects company called Framestore, which is helping them develop virtual reality projects. Their first offering? A tour of the Rawlston Recording Studio in Brooklyn, where early New York artists like Whodini, the Fat Boys, and Doug E Fresh laid down tracks.