50 years of Hip Hop celebration kicks off in downtown Raleigh

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Saturday, August 12, 2023
50 years of Hip Hop celebration kicks off in downtown Raleigh
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Hundreds filled the streets of Downtown Raleigh Saturday to celebrate 50 years of hip hop.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Breakdancing is recognized by many people as an art, a skill, and an expression of joy. But did you know it's an element of hip hop, the music and culture movement born in New York City 50 years ago?

Hip-hop is being celebrated globally this weekend by fans like Tonya Williams who filled the City of Raleigh Museum Saturday for a hip-hop symposium.

"Public Enemy, Rebel Without a Pause was the first rap song that I really listened to. Learned a lot," Williams said. "Helped me to research my history, so I think that was probably the most important. Chuck D had a huge influence on my life."

RELATED: Downtown Raleigh celebrates 50 years of Hip Hop on August 12

And the lives of many others, who remember those days and those lyrics are a creative, candid reaction to life's challenges in a nation of millions back then, and right now.

"Hip-hop gave the people a voice. Hip-hop gave those children a voice, to express their feelings. Listen to the lyrics. They're speaking their hearts," Crystal Bodie said.

The words, then and now, can arrive with parental advisories about adult themes and language.

"I'm used to the old school but if they can express themselves I'm all for it. Again, a little different from what I grew up listening to," Williams said. "And from those early days of cassette mixtapes and music on the radio, they're now talking about hip-hop spreading worldwide, online, and appealing to younger audiences"

ALSO SEE: 'Soundtrack of our lives': UNC-Chapel Hill program a nod to global impact of hip hop

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