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— Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)

18 photos of iconic hip hop stars when they were young

Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New YorkBrooklyn, New York-native Busta Rhymes got started in hip-hop in 1989 as a member of the Leaders of the New school. They got their big break as the opening act for Public Enemy.The culture of hip-hop began in New York City in the 1970s. Encompassing rap, deejaying, “b-boying” or breakdancing, and graffiti art, hip-hop has become a hugely influential art form.
The Museum of the City of New York is celebrating New York City’s central place in that history in its current exhibit “Hip-Hop Revolution,” featuring more than 80 photographs of 1970s and ’80s hip-hop by photographers Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper.
The Museum has shared a number of the photos with us here, and you can check out more by visiting their website or heading to the museum.
DJ Tony Tone, left,

was a founding member of the Cold Crush Brothers, a Bronx hip-hop group that formed in 1979. DJ Kool Herc, right, is often credited as the starting point of hip-hop. Herc pioneered the use of hard funk and Latin percussion records in deejaying, which formed the basis of hip-hop.
Joe Conzo/Museum Of The City Of New York
DJ Charlie Chase was a founding member of the Cold Crush Brothers. He is credited with making Latinos a force in the Bronx hip-hop scene. Here he is performing at Norman Thomas High School in Manhattan.
Joe Conzo/Museum Of The City Of New York
Almighty Kay Gee began as a break-dancer before joining the Cold Crush Brothers in 1979. This is Kay Gee performing with the group at Harlem World.
Joe Conzo/Museum Of The City Of New York
Jerry Dee Lewis, or JDL, was also a member of the Cold Crush Brothers.
Joe Conzo/Museum Of The City Of New York
JDL, right, and Grandmaster Caz, another member of the Cold Crush Brothers, perform at Club Negril. Grandmaster Caz now hosts Hush Hip-Hop Tours in New York City.
Joe Conzo/Museum Of The City Of New York
Charlie Ahearn, second from left, is an American film director who rose to prominence documenting hip-hop culture in New York City in the ’70s. This is Ahearn shooting Wild Style, a 1983 film about hip-hop at the time.
Joe Conzo/Museum Of The City Of New York
Chuck D. helped form the politically and socially conscious rap group Public Enemy. He’s one of the most influential MCs.
Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
Before his years on VH1 reality shows, Flavor Flav became famous as a member of Public Enemy. He’s known for popularizing the role of the hype man, whose job is to excite the crowd with call-and-responses.
Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
Eric B Rakim have been called “the most influential DJ/MC combo in contemporary pop music, period,” by Tom Terrell of NPR. They hail from Queens and Long Island, New York, respectively.
Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
LL Cool J started out in 1984 recording for Def Jam Records. His deejay at the time was Cut Creator, seen on LLCool J’s right. The other two are E-Love and B-Rock.
Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
Queen Latifah made her name as one of hip-hop’s premier female emcees, rapping about issues like domestic violence, harassment, and relationships.
Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
Salt-N-Pepa is a hip-hop trio from Queens. They were one of the first all-female rap groups.
Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
EPMD is one of the longest-running groups in hip-hop, staying active for the majority of their 29 years of existence. Made up of Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith, the group hails from Brentwood, New York.
Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
Rammellzee, left, was a visual artist, graffiti writer, and hip-hop musician. He was one of the original hip-hop artists in the early 1980s. Fab 5 Freddy was a graffiti artist and musician who became well known as the first host of Yo! MTV Raps. Rammellzee died in 2010.
Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
Afrika Bambaata is a deejay from the South Bronx. He is known as the Godfather of hip-hop and electro-funk. He also formed the hip-hop awareness group the Universal Zulu Nation.
JJanette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
Big Daddy Kane began his career as a member of the Juice Crew. Rolling Stone called him “a master wordsmith of rap’s late-golden age and a huge influence on a generation of MCs.”
Janette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York
KRS-One, left, and Scott La Rock both began as members of Boogie Down Productions. After the release of their first album, Scott La Rock was killed. KRS-One continued the group.
JJanette Beckman/Museum Of The City Of New York


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