Hip-Hop got its start in the Bronx borough of New York City 50 years ago and the New York Public Library system joins the Queens Public Library in doing its part to join in the celebration.
Starting on Friday, July 14, in recognition of the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, The New York Public Library (NYPL) and Queens Public Library (QPL) are releasing special limited edition library cards. Queens residents are able to get theirs a day early on Thursday, July 13. The cards will be available at all library branches in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island starting July 14.
Public libraries in Queens will have a specially-designed special edition QPL card that was created by the Shirt Kings, legendary artists in New York hip-hop. The Shirt Kings started making custom-designed shirts in 1986 when hip-hop was starting to take off nationally.
Meanwhile, the NYPL card will showcase the iconic “Wild Style” mural from the original soundtrack of the 1983 film.
In an exclusive interview the legendary hip-hop video host, Ralph McDaniels of Video Music Box, who is also Queens Public Library’s Hip Hop Coordinator, he discussed how the limited library cards came into existence to celebrate hip-hop’s 50th anniversary.
“So our card is designed by Legendary Shirt Kings from Queens. They’ve done custom-made for artists like Jay-Z, Nas, 3rd Bass, and many other legendary artists. They’re still in the community and we wanted local artists to create it. And I thought that they would be the best because of their history with hip-hop. The card is going to be released on July 13th limited and then July 14th throughout our whole library system to our 66 library branches.”
“Brooklyn is doing something with Jay-Z, but I don’t really know exactly what they’re doing ’cause it’s a secret.”
On Thursday, July 13, Queens Central Library (located at 89-11 Merrick Boulevard in Jamaica) is hosting an official card release party with the Shirt Kings, Ralph McDaniels, and specially invited hip-hop artists from Queens. At the event, early access to the cards will be available.
“Uncle Ralph” also appreciates the contribution that the culture of hip-hop has done for the world. Making it’s way to become the biggest genre of music was no easy feat and the celebration of the culture is good for the country.
“We’re celebrating 50 years. It’s a milestone we should look at it as a very important one for something that started with nothing and became the biggest genre of music in the world. And I’m excited, you know, it’s not just for the pioneers. It’s for young kids. They have to understand that. I don’t care if you’re into drill music, whatever you’re into, this is ours. It’s a New York thing. We started this and now it’s everywhere. And it’s around the world.”
McDaniels also recognizes that the genre has produced many entrepreneurs and made someone like Jay-Z a billionaire. Artists like 50 Cent, Will Smith, and Ice Cube making significant contributions in other fields outside of hip-hop.
“I think the culture, culture moving forward is in a great place. Things that we started, you know, in 1973 and 1983 are still in effect. These kids make so much money, but they wouldn’t make that money if it wasn’t for people like LL, Run DMC, and Grandmaster Flash. There was no money to be made in the beginning, now the doors have been opened. We understand how it worked. We understand our value and these kids are making way more money than we could ever. Which is fine because that was the idea and hopefully they’ll continue.”
The next 50 years should bring about more changes and innovation while still giving a voice to the youth and those who choose to indulge in the hip-hop culture.
Ralph McDaniels Discusses NYC Libraries Issuing Hip-Hop 50th Anniversary Library Cards