LL Cool J, Questlove, Common & more hip-hop legends are among founding members.
Just a few months after LL Cool J became the first hip-hop artist inducted into the Kennedy Center Honors, the center has established a Hip-Hop Culture Council. The council is tasked with deepening public knowledge hip-hop and helping expand center-wide hip-hop initiatives.
Founding members include Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson; Kool Bob Love, Common, Fab 5 Freddy, Grandmaster Caz, Robert Glasper, Grant Hill, J.Period, Jason King, Kierna Mayo, Large Pressor, LL Cool J, MC Lyte, Mimi Valdes, Pharoahe Monch, Tariq “Black Thought” Trotter, Xavier “X” Jernigan, and 9th Wonder.
“The Kennedy Center’s Hip-Hop Culture Council reflects the creative, social, and intellectual wealth the Hip-Hop community,” said Q-Tip, named artistic director the Hip-Hop Culture Council, in a statement. “The members are the embodiment what we stand for and all that we aspire to achieve with the Hip-Hop Culture program.”
Upcoming events featuring council members include the Wild Style 35th anniversary screening, discussion and reception; the first public performance by hip-hop supergroup August Greene — featuring Robert Glasper, Common and Karriem Riggins — since they released their new album; and the “Rock Rubber 45s” film premiere and party featuring DJs Rich Medina, Stretch Armstrong, DJ Spinna and Bobbito García spinning together for the first time.
“Hip-hop is very high art,” LL told Billboard at the KC Honors in December. “When I think some the things that Dre does, that Tip does, that Tribe does, when you think about Questlove and the Roots, these guys are great musicians and they make great music. It’s not everybody’s taste, and that’s OK. Because everybody doesn’t like everything, and that’s all right.”
Noting he wants to ensure hip-hop is represented “to the fullest,” LL added, “I’m going to continue to love this culture, elevate this culture and push it forward. I’m the youngest Kennedy Center honoree, and hopefully there’s a little more that I can do. I might just have a couple ideas I want to execute.”