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This Atlanta University Library Is Debuting A Hip Hop Collection


Ernie Suggs (far right) and De’Asia Page (2nd left) serve as co-producers for the AJC documentary, The South’s Got Something to Say. (Courtesy of AJC)

Hip-hop’s 50th anniversary has been celebrated throughout the year across the United States, with major US cultural institutions celebrating in unique ways.

Museums and libraries in Atlanta are among those joining this celebration, with a new collection at Georgia State University’s library called the Atlanta Hip Hop Archives.

Each piece in the GSU collection showcases a pillar of the city and the South, and each new generation can now learn about it. The archivists’ goal is to ensure that recorded history reflects all voices, especially those that have been omitted in the past.

“Hip-hop is not just East Coast-West Coast. It’s global. It’s the South. It’s the world,” said Brittany Newberry, GSU Music And Pop Culture Archivist, in an interview with NPR affiliate, WABE radio. “We are teaching students to preserve those narratives so they live on for future generations,” Newberry said. “They are here to be discovered not only with students but with the community.”

In celebration of the new hip-hop collection, Georgia State University will host a live event, “‘The South Got Something to Say’: Preserving Atlanta Hip Hop History,” on Nov. 9 at the Georgia State University Library.

The event comes as archivists from libraries, museums, colleges, and universities across the country have worked to document and present hip-hop history to local communities. GSU received a national grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), led by Queens Public Library in New York City, to establish the collection. The Atlanta-based Auburn Avenue Research Library and Trap Museum are also recipients, as well as other libraries and museums nationwide.

Artists Joseph Veazey provided the first piece of GSU’s collection. His work, the Atlanta Rap Map, artistically displays the city’s rich hip-hop heritage. Veazey spent three years meticulously handwriting notes of Atlanta references in hip-hop music, and it’s something that’s unique to Newberry.

“To me, that is so special because someone devoted so much time to research hip hop,” Newberry told local Atlanta news station 11 Alive. “It’s part of the culture, and it speaks to social issues, politics, the changing landscapes and gentrification.”


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