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"Lecco's Lemma" host Magnus Johnstone and friends. Image by: Courtesy photo
November 18, 2016

UMass Boston, Boston Public Library Showcase Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive


  • Boston

A new archive of nearly 300 demo tapes capturing the rich history of Boston’s early hip-hop scene will be revealed Saturday at an event co-hosted by the University of Massachusetts Boston and the Boston Public Library.

The Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive at UMass Boston will make its public debut at the Central Library in Copley Square from noon to 5 p.m. Hip-hop historian Pacey Foster, a professor of management at the university, curated the archive with help from veterans of Boston’s underappreciated but vastly influential hip-hop communities.

The event will include artist panels and lectures featuring Boston legends such as The Almighty RSO and Top Choice Clique, along with current stars Akrobatik and Professor Lyrical. Cultural historians Jamarhl Crawford and Reebee Garofalo will lead “Hip-Hip in Black and White,” a discussion on racism and cultural appropriation in American popular music and hip-hop history.

In addition to the rare demo tapes, the archive also includes recordings of the legendary local radio show Lecco’s Lemma with Magnus Johnstone. Together, the tapes represent a unique document of the sound of local hip-hop before it became a widely known cultural trend. Listening sessions will provide an opportunity for the public to hear unreleased demo tapes.

UMass Boston’s Joseph P. Healey Library and the Boston Public Library have teamed up to digitize the archive so that it can be enjoyed by hip-hop fans around the world.