May 22, 2022

A Visit to the Harvard University Hiphop Archive and Research Institute

From the Harvard Gazette:

Like Shakespeare, Kendrick Lamar touches on the political and the personal, is a master of complex rhyme, and a pop-culture player in his time. Musically, his allusions, his samplings, are ironic, layer meaning, and recall jazz and modern poetry.

In the words of Biggie: “If you don’t know, now you know.”

Studying and preserving the work of Lamar and other hip-hop giants has been the focus of the Hiphop Archive and Research Institute, based at the Hutchins Center for African and African American Research, since its founding in 2002. The organization’s mission is to document the genre’s mushrooming influence on culture and society.


The archive occupies a sleek space decorated with graffiti-lettering, boom boxes, sneakers, a lit mini disco floor, and a turntable. Displays honor influential figures, like the late Tupac Shakur, Jay-Z, Queen Latifah, and Lauryn Hill — amid a constant soundtrack of background beats and raps.


The institute also maintains Classic Crates, an archived collection of 200 of hip-hop’s most seminal albums stored in the Eda Kuhn Loeb Music Library, the University’s primary archive of music and music materials from around the world.

Learn More, Read the Complete Article, View Video

See Also: Hiphop Archive Videos

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.