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Jadakiss, Ja Rule and Ashanti Light Up the Empire State Building in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop

Source: John Lamparski / Getty

Hip-Hop revolutionized music 50 years ago with poetic flows over legendary beats. Biggie Smalls once said, “Never thought that Hip Hop would take it this far.” But, we knew. hip-hop has always been a vital cultural force, giving marginalized voices a platform for expression. It shapes music, dance, fashion, and language, fostering unity and resilience. As a global phenomenon, Hip-Hop bridges divides and empowers generations by highlighting social issues and celebrating diversity, influencing society far beyond its musical roots.

Chase Republic, Def Jam, and Universal Music Group celebrate 50 years of Hip-Hop

And this year, the culture-shifting genre turned 50 years old. There have been many national celebrations to commemorate this undeniable legacy, from the BET Awards to Netflix’s special Ladies First, which chronicles the impact of women in hip-hop. New York City decided to join the fun by lighting up one of the city’s most heralded symbols, the Empire State Building, gold just like the many records sold over many decades.

Jadakiss, Ja Rule and Ashanti Light Up the Empire State Building in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop

Source: John Lamparski / Getty

Chase Republic, Def Jam, and Universal Music Group hosted The Light the City Gold Ceremony, illuminated by the presence of accomplished artists and hip-hop heavyweights Ashanti, Ja Rule, and Jadakiss. They raised their glasses to celebrate 50 years of hip-hop, marked by a toast facilitated by Armand De Brignac and Ace of Spades. The legendary rapper Jadakiss shared during the ceremony, “They counted us out. They thought it wasn’t even a genre of music. They thought it was a phase that would come and go, and we got to say I told you so – look at us now.”

Hip Hop 50 Ashanti, ja rule, Jada Kiss

Source: Joce Blake / Joce Blake

As the three New York natives flicked the switch, you could feel the love and joy in the room. We spoke with the R&B princess about the moment she fell in love with hip-hop, and she told HB, “I was probably 11-ish. I had a purple boombox. I had a stereo, and my first vinyl was Run DMC. ‘Who’s House? Run’s House!’” Of course, we asked her about her favorite fashion moment, and she reflected on her love for baggy pants, the crop top, and Timberlands – a quintessential hip-hop outfit.

Jadakiss, Ja Rule and Ashanti Light Up the Empire State Building in Celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop

Source: John Lamparski / Getty

Hip Hop 50 Ashanti, ja rule, Jada Kiss

Source: Joce Blake / Joce Blake

When we asked “Always on Time” rapper Ja Rule to describe hip-hop in three words, without hesitation, he said, “Amazing. Brilliant. Resilient.” When it comes to how hip-hop shaped how we see and support Black women, he said, “I think I had a little bit to do with that coming in and making songs for women like, “Put It On Me.” Those records are kind of an ode to women, and I wrote that record for my wife, and I think you need that. It is a contrast when we got the records calling them out their names, so we gotta have the other side of it too, where we big them up as Black queens.”

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Ashanti Reveals When She Fell In Love With Hip-Hop: ‘My First Vinyl Was Run DMC’  was originally published on hellobeautiful.com