As hip hop’s 50th anniversary this year continues to be celebrated across Atlanta and the music world, Emory University is marking the genre’s success and staying power with a special Nov. 10 campus event and an exhibit at Science Gallery Atlanta co-sponsored by the University.
Clint Fluker, senior director of culture, community and partner engagement for Emory Libraries and the Carlos Museum, says he is thrilled that Fahamu Pecou, a well-known artist who earned his PhD at Emory, will bring his hip hop talk show with music and interviews to Emory on Friday, Nov. 10, at 7 p.m. in White Hall. Fluker previously served as curator of African American collections at the Rose Library, which is building a collection documenting hip hop history in Atlanta. Emory’s Music and Media Library also has a collection of Atlanta-grown hip hop music.
“Emory’s hip hop collection includes a variety of different materials that focus on the history of hip hop in Atlanta and the southern US in particular,” Fluker says. “We are honored to be the repository for EarWax Records, an early record store in Atlanta that also served as a gathering spot for many of the movers and shakers of the hip hop culture. Jasz Smith, the owner of EarWax, is working with Emory Libraries, the Carlos Museum, and Science Gallery Atlanta to curate the exhibit ‘You Don’t Got Dis’: A Hip Hop Legacy’ to celebrate 50 years of hip hop, but also to ensure that the story of Atlanta’s influence in this arena is captured and made accessible to the world.”
“The 15 Project” with Fahamu Pecou
Presented by Emory University
Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. in White Hall
Artist Fahamu Pecou takes Andy Warhol’s famous quote that everyone will have 15 minutes of fame to another level with The 15 Project. His late night talk show for the arts fuses the worlds of pop culture, fine arts, comedy, and music entertainment. In his irreverent and often spontaneous way, Pecou acts as host to a group of three guests who are artists, musicians, culture producers, designers, or journalists. Each of the guests are informally interviewed by Pecou for 15 minutes. Former music exec and mental health advocate Shanti Das, Olu (aka Johnny Venus) of the hip-hop group Earthgang, and Junia Abaidoo of LVRN (Love Renaissance) are the interview guests slated for the Nov. 10 Emory event.
Emory students, staff, faculty, and community members are encouraged to attend by signing up. Attendees can enjoy free food afterward.
Pecou earned his master’s and PhD from Emory in 2018 and was a fellow in the inaugural Arts and Social Justice Fellows Program in 2020. He earned his BFA from Atlanta College of Art in 1997.
“I remember when I was in undergrad, I barely left the general vicinity of my campus.” Pecou says. “I didn’t begin to discover how amazing Atlanta was until after graduating. I hope The 15 Project helps Emory students get introduced to Atlanta’s arts and culture scene in a fresh way. Atlanta is considered the current capital of hip hop for many reasons, and #T15P will demonstrate a few!”
In 1993, Darryl “Jasz” Smith opened EarWax Records in Midtown Atlanta with the goal of making hard-to-find music easily available. Credited as the first Atlanta retailer to carry an extensive selection of hip-hop music, EarWax’s prime location on Peachtree Street made it a popular public meeting place as well as a destination for DJs, artists, producers, promoters, athletes and celebrities. EarWax hosted media events, live performances, listening sessions and the iconic rap duo OutKast in-store.
“You Don’t Got Dis” will make visitors feel like they have just entered EarWax Records back in 1993. The exhibit highlights Smith’s hip hop collections, as well as those of other notable collectors, producers, and DJs, to showcase the vast archival legacy of hip hop. The exhibit features never before seen photographs and flyers from concerts and events, rare mixtapes, cassette and vinyl installments, magazine collections, a graffiti exhibit – even an EarWax Records pop-up store filled with vinyl.
Emory’s connection to this exhibit and event, coupled with the Emory Libraries’ burgeoning hip hop collections, shows that the university feels it’s important to bring attention to the history and culture of music that gave a voice to a generation, says Valeda Dent, Emory University vice provost of libraries and museum.
“I grew up as a child of hip hop,” Dent says. “It was the soundtrack of my life. What I listened to, what I wore, and how I navigated my way around New York City as a kid were completely influenced by hip hop. My friends and I understood that hip hop was not just about the music – it situated us in the world in a way that made sense to us. It gave us a very unique voice. I am so grateful for the artistic community in Atlanta and for Emory University where the importance of hip hop’s contributions can be recognized and celebrated.”
—by Maureen McGavin, senior writer, Emory Libraries