American multinational entertainment and record label Warner Music has announced its year-long celebration of hip-hop to mark 50 years since the genre’s conception. The so-called Hip-Hop Fifty celebrations plan to combine art, fashion, sports, and, most importantly, music to celebrate half a century of hip-hop and its influence on global culture.
The campaign traces back to hip-hop’s early rumblings before it was a fully-fledged genre highlighted by performances from pioneering artists such as DJ Kool Herc and Grandmaster Flash, who revolutionised music in the early 1970s.
From these funky origins, Warner Music will trace hip-hop through the dawn of sampling, which gave rise to gangsta rap, R&B, and its countless sub-genres and niches.
Warner Music began the anniversary celebrations at the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles earlier this month with a pop-up showcase. The three-day run of associated events included an exhibition of photography and album art, as well as live performances from hip-hop’s up-and-coming, or “brightest, producers”.
As the year’s celebrations unfold, Warner is set to collaborate with Dolby Atmos to re-release music from its extensive hip-hop catalogue in the multidimensional listening format. They then plan to set up immersive listening experiences and Q&A sessions across New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and London.
Hip-Hop Fifty will also partner with LGND Music to provide rare digital collectables, offering fans access to ‘Virtual Vinyl’ through NFTs, merchandise, and more.
Another exciting collaboration with New York Red Bulls combines hip-hop with sports to release a celebratory 2023 season football (soccer) kit. Meanwhile, Peloton is set to relaunch the Bad Boy Artist Series for a second run following its success in 2021.
For the record collectors among us, Vinyl Me, Please has also confirmed a partnership with Warner to release limited edition selected vinyl reissues taken from the label’s gigantic catalogue. The series will begin in March with a special issue of Earl Sweatshirt’s 2022 album Sick!.