The official groundbreaking ceremony for the Bronx’s forthcoming Universal Hip Hop Museum was held. Nas, LL Cool J, Fat Joe, Lil Kim, Naughty by Nature, Grandmaster Flash, Slick Rick, Michael Bivins and EMPD came together to celebrate the moment and share a few words about their relationship with hip hop.
Also in attendance, were Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, City Council Member Diana Ayala and other city officials.
“Hip hop made me believe that anything was possible,” said LL Cool J. “This was like the first time where I felt like, ‘Wow, it’s possible to be powerful. It’s possible to be somebody. It’s possible to have meaning in this world.’ ”
“Most of the time when I saw young Black men, they were, like, putting their heads down being put in a police car…This was, like, the first time where I felt like, ‘Wow. It’s possible to be powerful. It’s possible to be somebody.’”
“It taught me more than schools taught me,” Nas said of hip hop’s influence on his life. “I’m proud to be here in the mecca of hip hop, the Bronx.”
The Universal Hip Hop Museum — which is set to open in 2024 — is the “cultural anchor” of the $349 million Bronx Point development that will offer affordable housing in the Lower Concourse neighborhood as well as 2.8 acres of open public space. Other cultural and community-focused programming, like an early childhood space, educational resources, outdoor science programming and workforce development, will also be provided.