Plans For National Hip-Hop Museum Hit Snag Amid Money Squabbles

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From the Wall Street Journal:

The organizers of the embryonic National Museum of Hip-Hop want to honor one of the most vibrant American art forms to emerge since jazz. But at a coming-out fundraiser last month, they found themselves the targets of a boycott announced by legendary rapper and New York native KRS-One—the project’s most important adviser—who said key hip-hop “pioneers” had declared the museum “illegitimate.”

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“They said it wasn’t kosher,” said KRS-One’s fellow hip-hop groundbreaker, rapper Chuck D. of Public Enemy, adding that he heeded phone calls from some of his predecessors about not supporting the museum’s April gala at Manhattan’s Pink Elephant nightclub. The rapper had initially agreed to co-host the museum event with KRS-One, but says he left the party early. “This is like the O.K. Corral,” he said.

The travails of this barely nascent museum illustrate the challenge of collecting history from people who are still living it. The genre’s pioneers accuse the museum’s organizers—and other cultural institutions and corporations before them—of exploiting their innovations. They claim they should be paid for their personal histories, a demand stoked by several of hip-hop’s inventors who say they were left behind when styles evolved and a local movement exploded into a global industry.

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