May 21, 2022

Hip Hop: Cornell University Library Awarded $260,000 NEH Grant to Preserve Afrika Bambaataa Archive, Includes Over 20,000 Records

From the Cornell University Library:

The Cornell University Library Hip Hop Collection will catalog the archive of Afrika Bambaataa, the groundbreaking musician, DJ and community leader known as “the godfather of hip-hop,” thanks to a $260,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

The grant will help the Cornell Hip Hop Collection (CHHC), part of the library’s Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, to make these materials widely accessible to researchers, students and the public.

Bambaataa, who recently completed a three-year term as the CHHC’s first visiting scholar, is an internationally recognized pioneer of hip-hop. He gave the genre its name and was the first to define its core artistic elements – DJing, rapping, breakdancing and graffiti art – under a single cultural umbrella. In 2007 he was nominated for induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Bambaataa’s archive comprises hundreds of boxes, including 450 containers with 20,000 vinyl records, many of them annotated by Bambaataa and numbered in the order he acquired them. This record collection helps tell the story of hip-hop’s emergence and development. Once cataloged, the CHHC will make a complete list of Bambaataa’s legendary vinyl available to the public, and place selected images of his annotated album sleeves online.

Read the Complete Announcement

See Also: Cornell University Library and College of Arts and Sciences’ Awards Grants to Digitize Four Hidden University Collections (August 28, 2015)

See Also: Cornell University Library’s Hip Hop Collection to Go Digital (January 27, 2015)

See Also: Cornell University: Library Digitization Projects Span Multiple Millennia (From 17th C. Japanese Woodblocks to Hip Hop) (October 19, 2011)

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.