The Cornell Hip Hop Collection

The mission of the Cornell Hip Hop Collection (CHHC) is to collect and make accessible the historical artifacts of Hip Hop culture and to ensure their preservation for future generations. It is open to the public.

Established in 2007, the CHHC preserves more than 250,000 items across dozens of archives documenting the origins of Hip Hop culture and its spread around the globe. The collections include thousands of sound and video recordings, hundreds of party and event flyers, artwork, photographs, books, magazines, and advertising, along with the archives of Hip Hop’s photographers, filmmakers, dancers, MC’s, DJ’s, artists, journalists, producers and publicists, and independent labels, managers and agencies.

A few highlights include: the archives of early Hip Hop photographers Joe Conzo, Jr. and Ernie Paniccioli; the archive of Charlie Ahearn (director of Wild Style 1983); the archive of Buddy “The Flyer King” Esquire; the archive of “Breakbeat Lenny” Roberts (co-founder of Ultimate Breaks and Beats); the archives of the IGTimes (a.k.a. The International Graffiti Times) and pioneering graffiti artist Richie “SEEN” Mirando; the archive of celebrated MC Grandmaster Caz; the personal archive and record collection of DJ Afrika Bambaataa and the Universal Zulu Nation; the archives of legendary Hip Hop dancers “Richard “Crazy Legs” Colon and Jorge “Popmaster Fabel” Pabon of the Rock Steady Crew; the archive of Def Jam publicist Bill Adler, and the papers of other founding or influential contributors to Hip Hop’s evolution, including materials by West Coast pioneers Alonzo Williams and Andre Manuel (the Unknown DJ).

Regular activities of the CHHC include:

  • Working with Hip Hop’s artists and other creators to preserve their histories and collections
  • Providing public research access to material within the CHHC (which is open to the public Monday-Friday & Saturday afternoons)
  • Digitizing collection materials, when rights and permissions allow, to make them globally and freely accessible for learning and research
  • Organizing programs and lectures that enable Hip Hop’s creators and contributors to share their stories and achievements with student and community audiences
  • Teaching students of all ages about Hip Hop’s origins and influence through lectures, open houses, and presentations at Cornell and beyond

Please contact us (hiphopcollection@cornell.edu) for inquiries about the Collection, to schedule a research visit, request a class presentation, or to offer materials for sale or donation.