City to celebrate 50th anniversary of hip-hop with series of blockparties

hip-hop concert in Brooklyn
New York City will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the birth of hip-hop with five free block parties this month.
File photo by Trey Pentecost

A five-borough series of block parties celebrating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop will kick off in Brooklyn on Saturday, Aug. 5.

The 5X5 Block Party Series, sponsored by Mayor Eric Adams and production company ITSALLBLACKMUSIC PRESENTS will feature musical performances and live conversations with artists including Salt-N-Pepa, KRS-One, Kool G Rap, Onyx, and more. 

“On August 11, 1973, a back-to-school jam hosted by brother and sister Cindy and Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, on Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx spilled out onto the street. That night, hip-hop — and the block party — were born. Fifty years later, both live on,” Adams said in a statement. “As the birthplace of hip hop, New York City is proud to host these free block parties and events as a celebration of that spirit that started 50 years ago.”

Each block party will feature street art installations, food vendors, interactive experiences, and free drone light shows honoring the genre’s most iconic artists. Since New York City is the birthplace of hip-hop, the events will be accompanied by citywide initiatives including a collaboration with the LISA Project to create 50 murals across the city honoring hip-hop’s history and its impact on the community. 

“We are thrilled to showcase the brilliance, resilience, and cultural contribution that hip hop has made to the world,” said ITSALLBLACKMUSIC PRESENTS in a statement. “Through the block parties and edutainment conversations with seminal artists, we are celebrating the core pillars of the culture — DJing, MCing, breaking, and graffiti — embracing the true spirit of this art form, and engaging intergenerational audiences in the greatest city on earth.”

On Aug. 5 at 1 p.m., author, DJ, and producer Beverly Bond will visit the Brooklyn Academy of Music for “BLACK GIRLS ROCK! Presents Who Rocks Next: The Future of Hip-Hop.” Bond will discuss women’s contributions to hip-hop culture and the future of women in the genre with artist DJ Dede Lovelace and newcomer Kenya Vaun. 

Later that afternoon, artists including DJ Enuff, Jungle Brothers, DJ Mister Cee, and DJ Prince Paul will collaborate for a free live performance at the corner of Fulton Street and Washington Avenue. The star-studded show will start at 3 p.m. and continue into the night. Both events are free to attend. 

The Brooklyn event will be followed by discussions and performances in Queens, Staten Island, the Bronx, and Manhattan — culminating with an all-star performance with t0-be-announced guests in Harlem on Aug. 13.