Blog Post | Winter 2023

What’s Hip Hop? If You Know You Know

A well-known aphorism is that music is a universal language. It’s also out there that the best city in the world is New York City. And it’s common knowledge that art can tell you a great deal about the society that produced it, or a great deal about the people who created it. What do these three things have in common? Two words: Hip Hop. There’s no denying the influence Hip Hop’s had in the world since its nascence 50 years ago. Today, it’s still defining pop culture across the world.

What IS Hip Hop though? Because it’s not just the music serenading you on your evening commute home. See the way that person is walking down the street? That’s Hip Hop. You hear the cadence of that woman’s speech? The way her words flower her language? Yeaaaa, that’s Hip Hop. You peep the way that boy dresses? The way the pants sit and rise? You got it, Hip Hop. Look at the way those kids move their bodies to that beat you’re hearing from across the subway platform. Mhm, Hip Hop. More than music, Hip Hop is a culture. A movement.

There are a few reasons why we’ve chosen to focus on Hip Hop for this month. February is Black History Month; NYC is our home. This combination is a perfect recipe to delve into one of the most unifying and central forces of Black culture: music. Hip Hop was invented right in the city, in The Bronx, to be more specific. And, it's continued to drive the culture of NYC and beyond, from fashion to media, language to politics.

As Amp Club is all about exploring and understanding the city we live in, there’s no better place and time for us to explore the dynamic cultural landscape that is Hip Hop. Come with us to learn more about the world from which the world influencer rose.

Amp Club events this month

🎥  Presented by the Fotografiska: Video Music Box Night With the Legendary Ralph McDaniels (Thu, February 9th 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM) — Since 1983, Brooklyn native Ralph McDaniels, founder and curator of the Video Music Box has been instrumental in documenting the evolution of Hip-Hop culture. McDaniels, affectionately known as “Uncle Ralph”, through Video Music Box, has played an integral role within the community of Hip-Hop, which positions him as a unique preservationist with historic memory. Ralph will be joined by guest interviewee, and early NYC music video pioneer Ed Stienberg. See more here.

🎤 Presented by the Apollo Theater: AMATEUR NIGHT AT THE APOLLO SEASON OPENER (Wed, Feb 22, 7:30 PM) — A new season of Apollo’s signature series returns! Amateur Night at the Apollo attracts performers and audiences from around the world in a classic talent competition that has launched the careers of countless legendary artists, from Ella Fitzgerald, Luther Vandross, Lauryn Hill, H.E.R, Machine Gun Kelly, Jazmine Sullivan and more. See more here.

🎛  Presented by the Universal Museum of Hip Hop- Interactive exhibition: [R]Evolution of Hip Hop (1986-1990) - [R]Evolution of Hip Hop (Date TBD: potentially Fri, March 10th @4:30 PM)— Seven months in the making, we present the dawn of a new age in Hip Hop and Rap music, a new generation of MCs, DJs, producers, and dancers made remarkable advancements in artistry and technology. We will look forward to welcoming you to The Golden Era: 1986 – 1990. See more here.

🌺 Tour: MoCADA (End of March)— Honors the African diaspora through visual and performing arts. For 20 years, the creative space has showcased influential works from artists like Jamel Shabazz and Wangechi Mutu, who explore themes relevant to Black communities in NYC and across the globe. See, for instance, David McDuffie’s rousing black-and-white travel gallery. The Chicago native’s fascinating shots capture subjects in both portraits and candids that evoke Black joy. See more here.

For more information, please contact