Hip-hop turns 40: The 10 most important moments in the culture’s history

It was 40 years ago today that DJ Kool Herc played that fateful party at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue and kick-started a movement. Hip-hop is often called a “young genre,” but after four decades of hip-hop culture and 35 years of hip-hop on wax–maybe it’s time to acknowledge that hip-hop is a lot more middle-aged than we’d like to think. The genre has given us everything from the Treacherous Three to Young Jeezy, inspired movies as wide-ranging as Beat Street and 8 Mile. Superstars like Will Smith and Queen Latifah emerged as rappers first, and classic hip-hop tracks are now providing the soundtrack to romantic comedies and car commercials.

In celebration of hip-hop’s 40th birthday, we decided to take a look back at 10 moments that helped shape the culture…

Stereo Williams
Stereo Williams

Todd "Stereo" Williams, entertainment writer based in New York City. He co-founded Thirty 2 Oh 1 Productions, an indie film company.

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