Universal Hip-Hop Museum opens ‘pop-up’ installation

After years of planning, collaborators and investors had the first chance to see what the Universal Hip Hop Museum has in the works after a soft opening of a ‘pop-up’ installation opened its door on Monday, December 2.

The installation, ‘The [R]evolution of Hip-Hop’, tucked away in the lower level of the Bronx Terminal Market, offered just a glimpse of what the 50,000 square foot museum will feature in the coming years.

The official UHHM is set to open in 2023 at the newly developed Bronx Point.

Walking through the doors, one can see the rich history of hip-hop and its progression throughout the years.

The free grand opening of the pop-up will be on Friday, December 6, but those interested must reserve tickets.

The guerilla-styled museum outlines the five elements of hip hop, according to executive director, Rocky Bucano. The five elements being: graffiti, MC’ing, DJ’ing, knowledge and breakdancing.

However, Bucano did emphasize one of the focuses in the space this month is on famous MC, Kurtis Blow, with the 40th anniversary of ‘Christmas Rapping”’which brought hip hip into the mainstream back in the 1970s.

Shadow boxes filled with old flyers, memorabilia, LP’s and old mixing equipment are carefully curated throughout the space along with a graffiti covered faux subway train.

The installation also offers individual kiosks where goers can listen to 3 to 5 minute videos outlining the five elements of hip-hop.

Ducano explained calling the space a “pop-up” is misleading seeing the installation will be there for the next three and a half years until the actual museum will be opened.

“For years, people would come to the Bronx after hearing about a hip-hop museum, but there was no physical place to go to,” Bucano said.

With this specific space, the team at UHHM partnered with tech savvy folks at Microsoft and MIT to develop one of the highlighted items called the ‘Breakbeat Narratives.’

The Breakbeat Narrative takes a museum goer’s musical preferences, whether it be jazz, rock, rap or even country and actually creates an individualized hip hop playlist based on one’s answers along with personalized information regarding fashion, gender, location within the world of hip-hop.

Dr. Fox Harrell, a professor at MIT, was one of the key players in developing what he calls the ‘narrative orality improvision reality’ or NOIR.

Dr. Harrell explained NOIR pushes artificial intelligence technologies to push art forms forward diverse global cultures.

Ed Young, a board member at UHHM, broke down the importance of the NOIR even further and in layman’s terms.

“The breakbeat narratives show the interrelationship between individuals relating to hip-hip even if they don’t even know,” Young said. “It shows there is a reason we as people can communicate and get along.”

For more information on UHHM and to reserve your ticket to [R]evolution of Hip-Hop, please visit www.uhhm.org

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