Long overdue’: Rap royalty gathers in the Bronx at groundbreaking ceremony for Hip Hop Museum

Hip hop, hooray.

Rap royalty gathered in the Bronx for a Thursday groundbreaking of the Universal Hip Hop Museum in the genre’s birthplace and home borough of rap icons like Grandmaster Flash, Slick Rick and Fat Joe.

Hip hop “came out of the Bronx like Vietnam,” recounted Fat Joe, who grew up in NYCHA’s Forest Houses in Morrisania.

“I’m just a kid, I’m talking 8 years old, and I would be listening to hip hop. And I knew this what I wanted to do. It was born from nothing, and it has fed millions and millions.”

A $4.2 million dollar check is presented at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Universal Hip Hop Museum and the first phase of Bronx Point on May 20, in the Bronx.
A $4.2 million dollar check is presented at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Universal Hip Hop Museum and the first phase of Bronx Point on May 20, in the Bronx. (Abrigail Williams/New York Daily News)

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. served as master of ceremonies in the unveiling of a $349 million South Bronx development on the Hudson River, with the museum and 500 permanent affordable housing units included in the plan.[More New York] Man, 83, dead after assault by fellow Bronx nursing home resident »

He opened his remarks by quoting lyrics from “South Bronx” by Boogie Down Productions and “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five.

Hip Hop musician Grandmaster Flash gets emotional during his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Universal Hip Hop Museum and the first phase of Bronx Point on Thursday. (Abrigail Williams/New York Daily News)

Pioneering hip hop DJ and rapper Grandmaster Flash choked up as he recalled the early days of a street phenomenon that would circle the globe.

“This is a really special time,” he said, recalling the 1970s roots of the music. “There was a time where nobody gave a f— about the Bronx. Nobody cared. This thing we were doing was anti-everything.”Hip Hop musician Nas speaks during Thursday’s groundbreaking ceremony for the Universal Hip Hop Museum and the first phase of Bronx Point. (Abrigail Williams/New York Daily News)

The museum was “long overdue,” said Diaz, issuing a call for donations to help with the project. “Hip hop has continued to mature. It started from the early days of young boys and girls who saw the rest of the world ignore us.

“Showing the rest of the world the injustices that were happening in the South Bronx, in East New York, in Manhattan, in Harlem. God bless you all, and God bless hip hop,” he said.

Mayor de Blasio also quoted from 1982′s classic “The Message” before joining the chorus in saluting the Bronx as the launching pad for rap music.

As it happens


“Let me just do a really important official act here.” the mayor said. “Set some history straight. There are some good people on the West Coast, they did some good things. But hip hop was born in the Bronx.”

Even Queens-born rapper LL Cool J acknowledged the borough as “the mecca of hip hop” before recounting how the music changed his life.

“When I saw Run-DMC, it took my soul,” he recounted of the legendary Queens rap trio. “And from that point on, I knew I had a journey that I was going to be dedicated to for the rest of life.”Hip Hop musician and actor LL Cool J speaks at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Universal Hip Hop Museum Thursday in the Bronx. (Abrigail Williams/New York Daily News)

Fat Joe, who grabbed a shovel to assist de Blasio and Diaz in the groundbreaking, closed his remarks by urging people to donate to the cause.

“Let’s keep hip hop alive,” he said.

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