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Our editorial team was a flurry of ideas over how to cover Howard’s role in hip-hop over the years.

by Rin-rin Yu
Amber D. Dodd
four people standing in front of This Is Hip Hop sign

Brittany Bailer, Amber D. Dodd, Rin-rin Yu, and Larry Sanders at the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville.

Hip-hop is the only music genre with a specific birthdate and birth address. And it’s more than just a genre: As it aged, hip-hop took on its own meaning, constantly evolving, refining, and maturing. Now 50, it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. May we all be so lucky.

Our editorial team was a flurry of ideas over how to cover Howard’s role in hip-hop over the years. There was so much history and so many people to interview that we didn’t know where to begin. Our team flew to the National Museum of African American Music in Nashville to take a hard look at hip-hop from an academic perspective and to meet with the museum’s curator, and our inspiration grew from there. I thank Amber D. Dodd, our dedicated associate editor, for guest-editing the magazine’s features with such endless enthusiasm.

Rin-rin Yu



The iconic question goes: When did you fall in love with hip-hop? ’ “” 

What's special about love is that, if unconditional, you will fall deeper into its allure on multiple occasions.

My love for hip-hop is high school summer night mixes, 30 albums and 244 songs as DJAyee, begging for classic Adidas after Missy Elliot’s “On&On” or listening to 93.9WKYS in the back of my parents’ gold Dodge Caravan with DJ Angie Ange (B.A. ’06)

However, there is no better way to honor my love than editing and curating Howard Magazine’s hip-hop edition for the genre’s 50th birthday.

I wanted to create a project filled with Bison fellowship, the symbiotic relationship between hip-hop and Howard from a scholastic lens, all while evoking the fondest moments on the Yard. 

This was made from the pride of the Howard University community. It was a commitment to telling our side of every story; an undying love for hip-hop that contextualizes how Black talent, innovation, and domination in pop culture are commonly used to paint the worldwide canvas.  

Hip-hop gave us something that we could never pay back nor forward: agency. Telling our stories from our perspectives and memories connects us back to the original messaging of hip-hop. Despite our systemic dilemmas, there is value and significance in the dances we do, the songs we sing, the beats we break.


Amber D. Dodd

Associate Editor

Amber D. Dodd
This story appears in the Fall 2023 issue.
Article ID: 1616

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