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From toasting to trap music: We celebrate 50 years of hip-hop

two men on stage wearing all black and holding microphones
Chris Pizzello/Invision
Profile Records never meant to get into the rap game, but the label launched the careers of rap groups like Run-DMC, shown here performing at the 65th annual Grammy Awards in 2023.

The first sounds of hip-hop mirrored its birthplace — a late-summer party in the Bronx in 1973. It was energetic, braggadocios and fun, combining popular R&B and jazz samples that everybody could dance to, with elements from the Jamaican art of toasting and deejaying in its early days.

Fifty years later, the music once described as "the new disco" has survived, and evolved from subversive party music in the boroughs of New York into a culture with international appeal.

On Cincinnati Edition, we explore the history of the genre and how this uniquely Black American art form continues to inspire artists, fashion and activism around the world.


  • Chad Williams, professor of African and African American Studies and History at Brandeis University
  • Siri Imani, artist and activist, founder of Triiibe Foundation
  • Napoleon Maddox, hip-hop ambassador, writer, producer, and human beat-box artist

Listen to Cincinnati Edition live at noon M-F. Audio for this segment will be uploaded after 4 p.m. ET.

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