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LL Cool J, Nas, Fat Joe, Lil Kim, and More Break Ground at Universal Hip Hop Museum

Hip-Hop’s finest joined city officials in the South Bronx to officially begin construction on the first phase of Bronx Point, the permanent home of the Universal Hip Hop Museum.

On Thursday (May 20), hip hop pioneer Grandmaster Flash joined other legends like LL Cool J, Nas, Fat Joe, Lil Kim, Naughty by Nature, Slick Rick, Michael Bivins (Bel Biv DeVoe) and EMPD to break ground on the site. During the special ceremony, Grandmaster Flash described how he felt about the plans for the long-awaited museum.

“I came up with a technique by placing my fingertips on the records,” Grandmaster Flash said according to WABC. “Here we are, almost 47 years later…Ladies and gentlemen, I tell you, this is a really special.”

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Co-founded by Kurtis Blow, the UHHM has been in the making for the past decade. Bucano and his team of curators work to preserve the history of local and global Hip Hop music, dance, art, and culture to inspire, empower, and promote understanding. While its sole purpose has been to document hip hop history in its entirety, the UHHM also become a powerful movement in the community.

“It taught me more than schools taught me, believe it or not,” Nas said. “I’m proud to be here in the mecca of hip hop, the Bronx.”

The UHHM is part of a $349 million multiple-purpose project located minutes from the birthplace of hip hop. The 50,000 square-foot property along the Harlem River waterfront will offer 542 units of permanently affordable housing and 2.8 acres of public open space. Along with the museum, community and culture-centered programming will be offered like an early childhood space run by BronxWorks, and outdoor science programming run by the Billion Oyster Project.

“Hip hop is one of those things that really gave my life meaning,” LL Cool J said. “It made me feel like I really could do something with my life.”

Check out photos and video from the groundbreaking event below.