The Smithsonian Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap is a first-of-it's-kind multimedia collection chronicling the growth of the music and culture from the parks of the Bronx to solidifying a reach that spans the globe. The set includes 130 tracks on 9 CDs and a 300-page book with original design by Cey Adams, artist and founding creative director of Def Jam Recordings, as well as essays by some of hip-hop's leading writers and critics and never-before-seen photographs. Through the music, writing, and extensive liner notes, the Anthology reveals the many trends within this multifaceted genre, it's social and political implications, and it's influence on popular culture.
The Anthology is the third major compendium produced by Smithsonian Folkways Recordings that tells the story of a defining era of music "of, by, and for the people," following the Anthology of American Folk Music and Jazz: The Smithsonian Anthology. It frequently highlights the objects and stories of hip-hop displayed in the National Museum of African American History and Culture galleries, offering perspective on the African American experience and it's impact on American culture. Curation of the Anthology was headed by a committee including rappers Chuck D and MC Lyte; writers and scholars Jeff Chang and Mark Anthony Neal; early Def Jam senior executives-turned-cultural-advisors Bill Adler and Bill Stephney; and producers Questlove and 9th Wonder. This release is a collaboration between the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings