2023 Urban One Honors Celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop

by Jhanaya Belle

January 16, 2023

Photo by: LL COOL J, Pharrell Williams, Pusha-T, and DJ Spinderella

Hip-Hop will turn 50 in 2023, and fans are beyond proud of how far the genre has evolved.

The genre, which is widely regarded as having originated on August 11, 1973, surpassed rock in popularity in the United States in 2017.

It is frequently used interchangeably with rap and has given birth to eminent emcees and DJs like Run-DMC, Big Daddy Kane, LL Cool J, Roxanne Shante, Salt-N-Pepa, KRS-One, and many more legendary artists.

First emerging out of the Bronx, NY, Hip-Hop was established by Black and Brown youth as a cutting-edge form of music, dance, and visual art that reflected their way of life. Within 20 years, it’s made an impact on multiple cultures around the world outside of New York City.

A significant part of the 2023 Urban One Honors is the show’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the genre with pioneers of Hip-Hop from the past, present, and future.

The Urban One Honors will feature following artists that changed the rules, established the scene, and got everyone’s attention: Spinderella, Monie Love, Doug E. Fresh, Pusha T, Pharrell Williams, T.I., and last but certainly not least, LL Cool J!

Here are some of our favorite songs from each Hip-Hop icon!

LL Cool J – “I’m Bad”

Photo by: LL COOL J

One thing about Hip-Hop, emcees are going to boast and declare themselves the best in the game.

LL Cool J did just that on his iconic song “I’m Bad!”

From the beat to his verses, this Queens native proved himself to be a bad man in the game.

LL Cool J will also receive the Entertainment Icon Award at the 2023 Urban One Honors.


Salt-n-Pepa and DJ Spinderella – “Push It”

Photo by: DJ Spinderella

“Push It” put these three women into superstar status!

Salt ‘N Pepa and DJ Spinderella were a triple threat. They wrote their lyrics, rapped, and can still make people dance from multiple generations!


Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick – “La Di Da Di”

Laying the groundwork for countless tunes, Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick (then known as MC Ricky D) released “La Di Da Di” in 1985.

The song has allegedly been sampled more than 500 times since its release, appearing in songs of various genres!

“La Di Da Di,” one of the most influential rap songs of all time, is a timeless piece of storytelling within Hip-Hop.


Pharrell Williams – “Frontin'”

Photo by: Pharrell Williams

We just LOVE love! Especially in Hip-Hop based songs.

Pharrell debuted “Frontin'” in 2003, and ever since then we couldn’t get enough of him.

In this song, Pharrell addresses a girl who is both falling for and falling for him in the second person.

Pharrell Williams will accept the Music Innovation Honor at the Urban One Honors.


Pusha T -“Mercy”

What happens when you get Pusha-T, Big Sean, AND 2Chainz on a track? Magic.

It’s been 10 years since “Mercy” dropped, and we all can agree this song embodies the summer of 2012.


T.I. – “Bring ‘Em Out”

T.I. really helped certify Atlanta’s Hip-Hop scene when he released ” Bring ’em Out” in 2004.

This song still is a vibe in any setting! We salute T.I. for his contribution to the genre.

Who is your favorite Hip-Hop artist, and or your favorite era of Hip-Hop?  Let us know down below!

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