Can’t Stop Won’t Stop Forever Ever: 50 Years Of Hip-Hop (Hub)

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With 2023 marking the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, a culture that’s had a profound impact on not only the live industry but indeed the entire globe, Pollstar dedicated its Feb. 20 issue to all things Hip-Hop. This special issue, guest edited by Geoff Walker, features a cover story by Davey D on Hip-Hop’s rise as well as interviews with Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, MC Sha Rock, DJ Clark Kent and Chance the Rapper, as well as stories on the Notorious B.I.G. in the metaverse, the Rock the Bells cruise, up-and-comers Coast Contra, Universal Attractions Agency’s Masters of the Mic tour, a hip-hop box office story and a live industry survey with senior hip-hop execs. This special issue also coincides with the Pollstar Live! Conference, which featured a Keynote Conversation with hip-hop legends.

Pollstar Live! Keynote Conversation: 50 Years of Hip-Hop Panel: Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Quik, Darryll Brooks, Lionel Bea, Norby Walters
By Gideon Gottfried

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The Legends: Doug E. Fresh, Big Daddy Kane & DJ Quik.

Ain’t No Half-Steppin’: How Hip-Hop Transcended All The Haters & Came To Rule The World
By Dave “Davey D” Cook
As hip-hop music and culture celebrates its 50th birthday in 2023, there are two landmark moments that stand out for the casual fan of this multi-billion-dollar-a-year music genre that resonate deeply with long-time fans, participants and aficionados

Doug E. Fresh (Douglas E. Davis) performs at the U.I.C. Pavilion in Chicago in 1985. (Photo By Raymond Boyd/Getty Images)

Doug. E. Fresh The Legend, ‘The Show’ & 5th Element Of Hip-Hop (Q&A)
By Geoff Walker
Doug E. Fresh is one of the greatest entertainers in hip-hop history. While the four elements of hip-hop are DJing, MC’ing, breaking & graffiti. Doug created the fifth element, the human beatbox, which he used to create “The Show” and “La Di Da Di,” two stone-cold hip-hop classics. 

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Long Live The K.A.N.E.: Q’s With The King Asiatic Nobody’s Equal Big Daddy Kane
By Geoff Walker

Big Daddy Kane’s name is carved into The MC Mount Rushmore. From his stint in the Juice Crew in the ’80s to classics like “Ain’t No Half-Steppin’,” “Smooth Operator” and “Warm It Up, Kane,” the man is emulated by generations of MCs. Pollstar caught up with BDK to find out more about his legendary career.

(Big Daddy Kane circa 1980: Al Pereira/M. Ochs/Getty)

Sha-Rock (center) with Melle Mel and Kool Herc, 2005 (Denise Truscello / WireImage)

Sha-Rock, The First Female Of MC’ing: A Hip-Hop Herstory Lesson
by Geoff Walker
MC Sha-Rock, aka Sharon Green, is a hip-hop pioneer widely considered the first female M.C. As the “Mother of the Mic,” in the late ’70s Sha-Rock joined forces with the Funky 4 + 1 whose seminal jams like “That’s the Joint,” “Rappin’ and Rocking The House” and “Do You Want to Rock” packed-out dance floors across globe. Pollstar caught up with Sha-Rock to get the 411 on her trailblazing career and profound impact on the culture.

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DJ Clark Kent with Dana Dane in 1990 in New York City. (Al Pereira/Getty Images/Michael Ochs Archives)

The Wheels of Steel: DJ Clark Kent on the Heart of Hip-Hop
By Oscar Areliz
DJ Clark Kent has been in the hip-hop since the early 1970s. He grew up in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, listening to Motown records using his grandmother’s stereo system. By the time he was 11 years old, he learned how to DJ and managed to land what he refers to as the biggest gig of his life: Jamming with Grandmaster Flowers at Lincoln Terrace Park in front of 400 people.

The Notorious B.I.G.’s avatar in the Benin City Entertainment-created world “The Brook” (Photo: Benin City Entertainment)

The Future of Legacy: Biggie in the Metaverse Changes the Game (Again)
By J.R. Lind
In December, Meta in conjunction with Biggie’s estate produced a concert in a specially constructed part of the metaverse known as The Brook, a recreation of Biggie’s beloved Brooklyn in the early to mid-90s. The show, titled “Sky’s The Limit,” included performances from Diddy, The Lox, Junior M.A.F.I.A. members Lil Cease and Latto, Nardo Wick, DJ Clark Kent and Eli Fross.

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Chance the Rapper and Vic Mensa at Black Star Festival in Accra, Ghana on Jan. 6. (Keeley Parenteau)

Miracle Man: How Chance The Rapper Produced A Free Festival In Ghana For 52K Fans
By Andy Gensler
When Pollstar caught up with Chance The Rapper in early January he had just returned from an enormously challenging, wildly successful and seemingly impossible feat: putting on a free festival and conference in Accra, Ghana for 52,000. His voice was shot and his exhaustion palpable, but his enthusiasm for what he and his team had just accomplished was energizing. To hear him tell it, it was destiny with so many different strands connecting. 

Box Office Insider: Hip-Hop by the Numbers; Steady Growth in 21st Century Box Office
By Bob Allen

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Jay-Z and Beyonce performing on the “On The Run Tour” at Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 24, 2014 (Larry Busacca/PW/WireImage for Parkwood Ent.)

Box office success has surged dramatically in the 21st century in comparison to pre-2000 norms with sales figures in the hip-hop universe showing consistent growth among the Top 100 artists in every five-year period since 2000. Generally, gross and sold ticket averages per show have continuously followed upward trajectories throughout the two-decade-plus timeframe.


Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: UAA Announces ‘Masters Of The Mic Tour’ With Five Legends
By Debbie Speer

Universal Attractions Agency’s “Masters of The Mic: Hip-Hop 50 Tour” with Big Daddy kane, Doug E. Fresh, Slick Rick, Rakim and KRS-One, will be an epic party, but also serve to remind fans of the history and culture of hip-hop, with each artist an innovator and originator forming different elements of the movement.

From Apt. 505 To The Stage: Meet Hip-Hop Collective Coast Contra (Hotstar)
By Sarah Pittman

Taj Austin, Ras Austin, Eric Jamal & Rio Loz. Photo by Jarrod Bloom 2022

Coast Contra’s Taj and Ras Austin are the children of esteemed rapper Ras Kass and R&B/soul singer Teedra Moses, but they are far from nepo babies. Rather, the LA-based hip-hop collective — which features the twins along with Eric Jamal and Rio Loz — have built up all the well-deserved buzz and landed some big looks by refining their craft while working as waiters. scaled 1

Industry Survey: Hip-Hop Live Execs Reflect On 50 Years In the Game
By Ariel King

Live industry executives including CAA’s Akin Aliu and Joe Harris, CD Enterprises Darryll Brooks, CLG’s Cara Lews, Live Nation Urban’s Shawn Gee, UTA’s Mike G and Robert Gibbs and WME’s Kevin Shivers and Caroline Yim give their take on the state of hip-hop in the live industry today as well as what the future may hold

Hip-Hop Hits The High Seas With Sixthman’s Rock The Bells Cruise
By James Zoltak


For 22 years, Sixthman has navigated a lucrative niche by offering passionate fans lifestyle and music-themed cruises that are right in their wheelhouse. For the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, the company’s upcoming Nov. 13-17 “Rock the Bells” cruise from Miami to the Bahamas, produced in partnership with the LL Cool J-founded hip-hop brand of the same name, is right on course and sold out even before a lineup was announced.