Hip Hop Party and Event Flyers

The Cornell Hip Hop Collection features more than 500 party and event flyers ca. 1977 – 1984. This is the largest known institutional collection of these scarce flyers, which have become increasingly valued for the details they provide about early Hip Hop culture.

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Created entirely by hand, well before widespread use of design software, these flyers preserve raw data from the days when Hip Hop was primarily a live, performance-based culture in the Bronx. They contain information about early Hip Hop groups, individual MCs and DJs, promoters, venues, dress codes, admission prices, shout outs and more. Celebrated designers, such as Buddy Esquire (“The Flyer King”) and Phase 2, made these flyers using magazine cutouts, original photographs, drawings, and dry-transfer letters.

To make these important historical documents more accessible to students, researchers, and enthusiasts, Cornell University Library, with funding provided by Cornell’s College of Arts & Sciences, will make digitized versions of these flyers freely available to the public.

Here is the first group to be digitized: a collection of 127 flyers formerly owned by Breakbeat Lenny (Lenny Roberts), founder and co-producer (alongside his partner, Louis Flores a.k.a. Breakbeat Lou) of the influential LP compilation series “Ultimate Breaks and Beats.”