Incentives range from a tour of the NMAAHC led by Questlove to an exclusive 9th Wonder remix delivered straight to your inbox

There’s been a lot of talk about the “institutionalization of hip-hop” as of late. And it’s not without cause.

For the better part of four decades and running, the Bronx baby has bloomed into music’s most progressive discipline, an outlet that affords as much room to sharp political discourse as it does breezy, care-free ruminations on the act of merely existing in a world stacked in the favor of another. Like jazz and funk before it, hip-hop’s roots are deeply-embedded in the soil of social upheaval and protest.

And like all bodies of work that have stood the test of decades and bear pioneers that elevate the craft beyond its humble beginnings to the point of a pillar in music at large, its subject to strict academic analysis, if only to preserve  its origins and strengthen the ongoing study of a pivotal force in music.

HEAR: Questlove Brings Keith Olbermann Up to Speed on Hip-Hop Origins with 201-Song Playlist

For their part, The Smithsonian has consulted some of hip-hop’s forth-most scholars in the creation of a definitive (and contentiously-debated) anthology box-set, featuring over 120 songs, selected by a committee that includes Chuck D, 9th Wonder, Questlove, Jeff Chang, various university professors and journalists, who reached out to more than 50 artists, DJs and educators for contributions to the final track list.

Today, the museum has launched a Kickstarter campaign to bring the expansive and carefully-constructed undertaking to life, seeking $250,000 in donations, of which they’ve already accrued $20,162. The Smithsonian has proven more than capable of hitting their mark on these crowd-sourcing efforts. and ensures that the anthology will be released even if they come up short on this campaign, though it’ll likely take longer to get it out the door.

Watch as Chuck D and MC Lyte breakdown The Smithsonian’s Anthology of Hip-Hop and Rap in the video above. Hit the link to make a donation.

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