Archiving Hip Hop: Community-Based Approaches

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The Association for Recorded Sound Collections Continuing Education Webinar Series presents: Archiving Hip Hop: Community Based Approaches.

Since its start nearly 50 years ago, Hip Hop has transformed from a local community practice in the Bronx to a worldwide phenomenon. Technologies like the compact cassette offered an inexpensive means of recording and sharing music with community members from local neighborhoods to other coasts and countries. There has been an unprecedented effort to recover artifacts and document the genre in community archives, cultural heritage institutions, libraries, and universities. From mixtapes to LPs to photographs and ephemera, many of these community-based artifacts remain in the hands of private collectors, practitioners, and fans, and require a participatory approach to preserve.

This roundtable discussion explores the cultural, artistic, and historical significance of Hip Hop and the community-based approaches to archiving it with Hip Hop memory workers Claude “Paradise” Gray, Evan Auerbach, and Regan “Sommer” McCoy. Music provided by Manny Faces.

About the Speakers

Evan Auerbach‘s connection to hip-hop spans over three decades. From self-proclaimed rap nerd turned mixtape hustler to record label hired gun and most recently marketing executive, Evan has battled in all areas of the business of music. In 2009 Evan created UpNorthTrips, dedicated to the study and preservation of hip-hop history. The work has solidified the brand as one of the most renowned Hip Hop Historical portals on the internet. His career and connections in the industry, experience as a writer, and personal collections have made him an acclaimed source for providing rare hip-hop memorabilia to the masses. Evan is the author of No Sleep, a visual history of New York City nightlife between 1988-1999 as told through flyer art as well as the forthcoming book, Do Remember: The Golden Era of Hip-Hop Mixtapes In NYC.

Manny Faces is an award-winning journalist and founding director of The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy. As a podcast professional, Manny produces acclaimed shows including social justice-meets-Hip-Hop program, News Beat, and Hip-Hop Can Save America! News Beat was awarded “Best Podcast” at the New York Press Club Journalism Awards in 2018 and 2021, and at the Society of Professional Journalists/PCLI Awards in 2020, while Hip-Hop Can Save America! is listed as “recommended material” at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education. Manny’s work largely focuses on championing the ability of Hip-Hop music and culture to uplift humanity — particularly in areas such as education, science and technology, health and wellness, social justice, journalism, entrepreneurialism, the fine arts, and more. An accomplished public speaker, Manny has presented at universities, conferences and festivals throughout the world.

Paradise Gray is the Chief Curator and an Advisory Board Member of the Universal Hip Hop Museum. His current exhibit the (R)evolution of Hip Hop features artifacts from the years 1980-1985. He is a Hip Hop historian and legend from the South Bronx who was mentored by pioneering DJs, Disco King Mario and Pete DJ Jones. His Hip Hop memorabilia archives The Paradise Collection include Hip Hop artifacts preserved since 1978. He was an entertainment manager, booking agent, and host of the world-famous Hip Hop club, “The Latin Quarter,” which was the incubator of “The Golden Era of Hip-Hop” from 1986 – 1988. Paradise is an archivist, author, photographer, and produced nine (9) albums including two (2) classic albums with his legendary messenger group “X-Clan.” He consulted RUSH Productions/Def Jam Recordings during its formative years and helped develop MP3.com, the first online streaming music startup.

Regan Sommer McCoy’s professional career started in the music industry almost 20 years ago. She is the founder of The Mixtape Museum (MXM) which celebrates the cultural importance of the mixtape. MXM encourages the research, archiving, preservation, and data analysis of mixtapes and seeks to achieve systematic preservation in the DJ and Hip Hop communities. In 2016, Sommer launched Hip Hop Hacks, a hackathon experience that explores the intersections of Hip Hop culture and technology. She is a Columbia University Community Scholar, a grantee of the Association for Recorded Sound Collection, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. She serves as a committee member with the Universal Hip-Hop Museum and MoPOP. She is the Associate Producer for Hip Hop Can Save America! Podcast and manages databases and reporting at the Brooklyn Academy in Creative Social impact.

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