Old school hip hop heads will have to add the Smithsonian to their bucket list now. As part of the grand opening of the National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC), over 400 rare photographs of classic moments and figures in hip hop history will be on display.
The photographs are from the extensive collections of Bill Adler, a former director of publicity at Def Jam Recordings. He developed relationships with industry photographers during his time at Def Jam, and has been something of a hip hop historian, publishing the authorized Run-DMC biography and the VH1 documentary series, “And You Don’t Stop 30 Years of Hip Hop.”
The photos originally appeared at the Eyejammie Fine Arts Gallery in New York, but the photos have been inaccessible to the public since the gallery closed its doors. The extensive collection includes candid and portrait photography of the likes of Nas, Eazy E, Jay Z, Queen Latifah and more. “Soon enough this stuff will be online,” Adler says. “The idea that it’s going to be available to anybody anywhere with an interest in this culture, it’s completely thrilling to me.”
The NMAAHC is an extension of the Smithsonian, and sits right next door on the National Mall in Washington, DC. The museum, including the Vintage Hip Hop Photography exhibit, is set to open this fall. Check out the museum’s promo video below.