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Hip-Hop's 50th Anniversary: Where to Celebrate in the Bay Area

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Grand Nationxl's Mani Draper will perform at Kinfolx Cafe for an Aug. 12 celebration for hip-hop's 50th anniversary.  (Amber GC Photography / Courtesy Grand Nationxl)

On Friday, Aug. 11, the world will gather around turntables, giant speakers and open dancefloors for a collective celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary.

The date marks the night in 1973 when Cindy Campbell and her brother Clive, aka DJ Kool Herc, combined forces for a back-to-school party in the Bronx that would change the world. The dance was soundtracked by early forms of breakbeat DJing and MCing, and is widely referred to as the first legit hip-hop event.

Five decades later, we’re still partying. Here’s a list of August events around the Bay Area in celebration of hip-hop’s golden jubilee.

The Roots of Hip-Hop Culture: Friday Nights at OMCA

Aug. 4, 11, 18 and 25
Oakland Museum of California


The Oakland Museum of California holds it down every Friday of the month as host Jahi leads attendees through the roots of the culture. Diamano Coura West African Dance Company performs on Aug. 4; Aug. 11 features an induction ceremony for the Bay Area Hip-Hop Archives, DJs Davey D and Jahi, a turf dancing class with Telice Summerfield, and a meet-and-greet with stock-car racer Cameron “Cam-Man” Carraway. Destiny Muhammad plays Bay Area hip-hop on jazz harp and Aimee Rose leads a TropiCali Dancehall Class on Aug. 18; programming concludes Aug. 25 with an evening of aerosol art with Refa One and hands-on beat making activities led by Seti X of June Jordan School for Equity. KQED’s If Cities Could Dance series will screen Aug. 4 and 11, and its series What’s Pimpin’ will screen Aug. 18 and 25. More here.

Big Daddy Kane pictured in 2015. The New York rap legend headlines at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest’s Hip-Hop 50th Anniversary celebration on Friday, Aug. 11. (Donna Ward/ Getty Images)

Big Daddy Kane at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest’s Hip-Hop 50 Celebration

Aug. 11
Plaza de César Chávez, San Jose

New York legend Big Daddy Kane performs with a full band on the main stage at San Jose Jazz Summer Fest. A second stage hosts a hip-hop 50th celebration with headliner Murs; Needle To The Groove DJs Allen Johnson, Dave Ma & Michael Basura; turf dance crew Playboyz Inc. featuring NastyRay, Scarface & Johnny 5, and live graffiti by Gwen Mercado Reyes and Joey Reyes. The stage’s host will be San Jose emcee DEM ONE. More here.

Hip-Hop 50th Anniversary Celebration: Honoring the Culture

Friday, Aug. 11
Continental Club, Oakland

A live graffiti exhibition and breakdance session, with performances by DJ Truth & Lax The Monk and a live set from the Black Excellence Band. More here.

Vibe Vandals’ Tribute to 50 years of Hip-Hop Culture

Aug. 11
Neck of the Woods, San Francisco

The Richmond District’s best dive club celebrates hip-hop with performances by Z-Man, True Justice, Vocab Slick, The Watershed, On Tilt, Outsiders Syndicate and JUJUGXLLERY.

A Life in Hip-Hop: Talk Show

Aug. 12
Kinfolx Cafe, Oakland

Writer and creative Mike Nicholls shares his personal story within hip-hop culture, in an event that features artists Eddou XL, Grand Nationxl’s Mani Draper, and DJ Nina Sol. More here.

United 4 Hope Benefit With Rodney O and Joe Cooley

Aug. 12
Executive Order, San Francisco

The L.A. old-school legends Rodney O and Joe Cooley join DJs Rick Lee, Scotty Fox and Icy Ice at a benefit for Bay Area nonprofit Beats 4 Hope. Details here.

Rocky Rivera and DJ Roza. (Vivian Chen)

SOMA Pilipinas’ UNDISCOVERED Block Party

Aug. 19
Various venues in SOMA, San Francisco

Hip-hop’s 50th anniversary coincides with the seventh season of the Filipino creative market UNDISCOVERED, and they celebrate both with a series of three block parties. The first event is Saturday, Aug. 19, in the heart of SOMA Pilipinas with food, art, crafts, live music and dance. Performers include Rocky Rivera, Neil Armstrong, DJ Icy Ice and others; check here for updates.

Oakland Public Library: Hip-Hop Turns 50 Reading List

If you’re more interested in staying inside and celebrating hip-hop on your own, check out the Oakland Public Library’s list of suggested reading material, which includes books on Tupac Shakur, Notorious B.I.G., Questlove, the Wu-Tang Clan, A Tribe Called Quest and more. Find the list here.

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