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Introducing ‘Hip-Hop Is Universal,’ a 50th anniversary celebration

Hip-hop is international, multigenerational and even intergalactic. Here’s how we’re celebrating the genre’s 50th anniversary and examining its future.


From its beginnings to now, hip-hop has proven to be a powerful product of Black and Latin-American creativity. A fruit-bearing tree many others have clung to, picked from, and even helped water at times. 

Today, it’s grown beyond a Bronx kickback in 1973 into one of the most potent means of expression known to humankind. It’s in scores and scripts of feature films. It has served as protest music for mass demonstrations, like the Arab Spring and U.S. protests in the summer of 2020. It’s great pre-game fuel — whether you’re prepping for a party or the playoffs. Hip-hop-inspired graffiti art has worldwide appeal. Hip-hop enthusiasts have transformed car culture. Space travelers and NASA technicians have used hip-hop rhymes to educate the public. 

This past March, rapper Lazarus collaborated with NASA to debut the song "Pale Blue Dot," a space-themed song that became the first track in history to premiere from outer space.

And you know hip-hop culture has had a big influence on MSNBC. Over the years, we’ve seen MSNBC talent invoking lyrics or inviting artists on the air to help contextualize the biggest news stories of the day. 

From Joy Reid to the Rev. Al Sharpton. From Michael Eric Dyson to Ari Melber.

Simply put, hip-hop is universal. 

It speaks to everything in this world and beyond. Race. And money. And power. And politics. And gender. And sex. And art. And tech. And space. And the future. 

Hip-hop is interdisciplinary. Multigenerational. Intergalactic. 

This concept was the impetus for a new project we’re debuting at The ReidOut and across MSNBC (you know I love a good collaborative undertaking). “Hip-Hop Is Universal” celebrates the genre's 50th anniversary and forecasts its future as well.

We’ll be sharing hip-hop-focused blogs, videos and audio content in the lead-up to and after Aug. 11, which is the official anniversary.

Stay tuned, y’all!

This post is part of MSNBC’s “Hip-Hop Is Universal” series, which celebrates the genre’s 50th anniversary and examines its future.