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Music is just one form to learn about the hip-hop culture. For those who are looking for a more in-depth way to learn why popular musicians are who they are and how hip hop has changed over several decades, biographies are one way to preserve the impact of those who are no longer contributing in the physical space. Below are 5 biographies on hip-hop artists that we know well, but were gone too soon.
Hip-Hop celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. August 11, 1973, marks the beginning of hip-hop, which originated in Black communities in the Bronx, NY. This year there have been several events commemorating the anniversary of the genre.
Questlove kicked off the celebration when he co-produced the 50th-anniversary hip-hop tribute at this year’s Grammys. The Roots drummer enlisted Queen Latifah, Method Man, Grandmaster Flash, LL Cool J, and more.
“Culture’s Biggest Night” aka the BET Awards also did their own tribute to hip-hop. The award show had performances from newcomers such as Ice Spice, GloRilla, Latto, and Coco Jones, and rap legends such as MC Lyte, Big Daddy Kane, Trina, Trick Daddy, and more. Busta Rhymes was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award. Patti Labelle also did a special tribute to the late Tina Turner.
Additionally, Queen Latifah will be recognized at the Kennedy Center Honors. She will be the first female emcee to earn a Kennedy Center honor. And we can’t forget, The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame is inducting Missy Elliot into this year’s Hall of Fame class. She was the first woman rapper (and third hip-hop artist) inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Speaking of honors, rappers Ludacris and Tupac Shakur got recognition in Hollywood. These multi-platinum artists received their Hollywood Walk of Fame star this year.
Take a look at these five biographies on hip-hop artists that have since passed below: