The Shadow League recently caught up with Universal Hip Hop Museum Chairman Rocky Bucano, a veteran of Hip Hop culture who has managed talent and run labels - working with Dallas Austin and LA Reid as GM/VP of Rowdy Records on Arista. We spoke with him about his efforts to establish a nationally recognized institution dedicated to the celebration and preservation of Hip Hop culture.
The Shadow League: What makes this project legitimate and sustainable?
Rocky Bucano: There are many that have failed. This is the first one that is actually driven by people who came from the culture. Kurtis Blow, myself, Grand Wizzard Theodore and a few other brothers. We've been working on this project for about three years. For the first time, we're galvanizing the global community. A lot of guys are focused on local stuff and trying to put local things together but Hip Hop is a global culture. It started in the Bronx but now the whole world has a piece of this culture.
TSL: You've been doing this since the 70s in one capacity or another. Do you ever reflect on how far things have come from those days in the parks?
RB: At the time we were doing it without realizing where it was going. We were just doing it because we wanted to have fun and we wanted other people to have fun. I've been a part of this since the 70s. So, I've got an interesting view on the dynamic of hip hop.
How it has saved peoples' lives, how it has elevated communities, there are communities in South America that used hip hop to keep kids safe. It's the one culture that has really galvanized the spirit of (people) all around the world. You can go find B-Boys in Brazil, in China, in Japan.
TSL: When can we expect the Universal Hip Hop Museum to launch?
RB: We're launching our virtual museum online, but we're working on a brick and mortar location in the South Bronx. We're in negotiations with the city and state right now to secure the building. But we hope to open the actual facility in 2018.
But the exhibits we're going to have in there are going to be the works of all the leading photographers, all of the graffiti artists, all of the fine art collectors. We're actually putting out requests now asking people to donate. We're actually talking to people about opening up a west coast version of the Universal Hip Hop Museum as well.
The Universal Hip Hop Museum is dedicated to the preservation and advancement of hip hop culture, but we're more than a museum. We're gonna have our own television network, we've just launched our first accredited college program with Monroe College, we're working with the State Department to bring Hip Hop to kids that live in conflict areas and war zones, showing them how to utilize their own creativity to keep themselves out of trouble, so to speak.
The Universal Hip Hop Virtual Museum App is currently raising funds via Kickstarter and is designed for use on Android and iOS devices. Late last year the Universal Hip Hop Museum debuted the Kurtis Blow VR Experience, which features a complete 360-degree experience.
You can learn more about the Universal Hip Hop Museum by logging on to www.uhhm.com.