THE BOX THAT ROCKS: 30 Years of Video Music Box and the Rise of Hip Hop Music + Culture

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Art & Culture
The cassette tapes in the piece are actual hip-hop cassette tapes that the artist owned. The image of the boy is a rendering of the artist during his younger years.

The Box That Rocks features work from Tim Okumara, an artist shortlisted to paint Queen Elizabeth’s portrait, the legendary Fab Five Freddy, Jonathan Mannion, described as one of the most prolific hip hop photographers ever, and many others. The exhibition is a combination of hip-hop’s past, present, and future, which distinguishes it from other exhibits about hip hop. According to curator Dexter Wimblerly, other exhibits concerning hip-hop generally stay stuck in one time period, genre, or theme. The Box That Rocks explores many different aspects of hip-hop, celebrating its innovation while simultaneously challenging its shortcomings. One infographic piece in particular examines the word “champagne” and how often the drink’s brands are mentioned during a ten-year period in hip-hop songs. This piece can inspire us to question messages and trends in music and actively participate in examining (cultural) influence and belief.

“Yo! MTV Raps stands on the shoulders of Video Music Box,” says curator Dexter Wimberly.

If you’re a hip-hop head or an enthusiast who wants to learn more about hip-hop history and you’re in the NYC area, visit MoCADA and see the show–it is up until the 28th of March May, so run! On March 29th, a panel on women in hip-hop will take place, so I am sure discussions concerning sexism and gender inequality will crop up. Also, there is an artist talk on April 7th, where the artists in the show will discuss their work. Both events will take place at the museum. Click here to learn more.

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The Author

Interdisciplinary dreamer. Part Moonchild, part Ram, part fickle mistress.


  1. Uh-huh. I’m planning on going to the artist talk and I’m def going to the Saturday program on freestyling. Wanna come with?


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