Researching Hip Hop Culture

By Graham Bryant ’13

(Source: William & Mary News & Events, April 5, 2013)

Antiquated manuscripts, rare books and memorabilia from the William & Mary’s storied history are all among the items one would expect to find when searching through Swem Library’s Special Collections.

Among the letters, artifacts and other scholarly records from ages past, researchers will soon be able to discover such artifacts as SMILES Crew’s first boombox or a cassette tape of Mighty MCs recordings.

On April 19, Special Collections will launch the William & Mary Hip-Hop Collection, the most comprehensive collection of its kind devoted to chronicling Virginia’s hip-hop past from the 1980s to the present through oral histories, recordings, publications and other ephemera created by Virginia-based artists, collectives and businesses.

“We, as an institution, have been collecting music for a century. What prompted the vision of starting a hip-hop collection is the need to look at the space we are at in the history of hip-hop,” said Amy Schindler, university archivist and Acting Marian and Alan McLeod Director of the Special Collections Research Center.

“Hip-hop has been around since the 1970s, and we’re in a space now where some of the early people are no longer with us. We need to work with people now to get that history,” she added.

NOTE:  Graham Bryant’s complete article can be viewed at New collection documents Virginia’s hip-hop history.

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