5 many years of US hip-hop informed in footage

A new major exhibition at Fotografiska New York charts the genre’s rise over the last 50 years with portraits of its biggest stars

Hip-hop heads rejoice: a new show in New York is bringing together a vast selection of photographs dating from 1972 through to 2022. It’s packed to the rafters with portraits of the hip-hop’s best-known names as well as earlier photographs of its pioneers who might not be so familiar to today’s mainstream audiences, but who laid crucial groundwork for the genre’s lasting success ever since it was born in the Bronx in the early 1970s.

The list of subjects in Hip-Hop: Conscious, Unconscious reads like a who’s who of US hip-hop history – Tupac, Grandmaster Flash, Lauryn Hill, A Tribe Called Quest, Public Enemy – and the buzziest names in the culture today, such as Kendrick Lamar, Megan Thee Stallion, and Tyler, The Creator.

Top image: Wyclef Jean and Lauryn Hill, 1993; Image: Lise Leone; Above: Public Enemy on Lafayette & Bleecker, c. 1986; Image: Glen Friedman; All images courtesy Fotografiska New York, copyright the artists
Photograph of Debbie Harry and Chris Stein from Blondie, Grandmaster Flash, Fab 5 Freddy, and a friendGrandmaster Flash, Debbie Harry, Fab 5 Freddy, Chris Stein of Blondie and friend, 1981; Image: Charlie Ahearn

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