The Universal Hip Hop Museum hasn’t even opened yet, and it’s already showing just how cutting edge it will be.
This spring, it’ll launch its own metaverse—an immersive digital world where you can access 3D objects and performances—accessible via VR and smartphones, according to the New York Post.
The museum, which is backed by Rappers Kurtis Blow, Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Melly Mel, Nas, Ice-T, LL Cool J and others, is still planned to open in 2023 with 60,000-square-foot of space in South Bronx (the birthplace of hip hop), but it looks like we won’t have to wait that long to feel like we’re in the space.
According to the Post’s interview with Mike Carnevale of Carnevale Interactive, which is designing the online space with Microsoft and MIT, its metaverse will show off flyers, graffiti, archival video footage, images and even breakdancing b-boys.
“You’re not in the audience watching this on screen, your brain believes you are truly there,” he said.
“You can have Naughty by Nature performing live in the metaverse and they won’t be the traditional avatars, it’d be the actual group,” museum founder Rocky Bucano also told the Post. “We see a metaverse where you can transport people to different times and places, so they’re not only witnessing the history but they’re immersed in hip hop culture.”
The museum also hopes to have Grandmaster Flash scratching records at block parties in the 1970s and Notorious B.I.G. rapping on a Bed-Stuy street corner in 1989 inside the metaverse, the Post says.
While we wait, the museum is hosting exhibits at the Bronx Terminal Market about the evolution of hip hop, including an upcoming one covering 1986-1990. You can also catch interviews with hip hop industry leaders on its Instagram Lives.
Once complete, the Universal Hip Hop Museum will accurately preserve the history of local and global hip hop music and culture through stories, shows, film screenings, and leading-edge virtual and augmented reality technologies. It’ll also be part of a $349 million mixed-use development dubbed Bronx Point that will include the construction of 500 permanent affordable housing units (across a million square feet of space!), a playground, a green public-use area and an esplanade along the Harlem River.
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