Q-Tip Named the First Artistic Director of Hip-Hop Culture of the Kennedy Center

It’s been a couple of big years for Hip-Hop and iconic American institutions. With the Smithsonian now housing some rare Hip-Hop photography, Kendrick Lamar and Nas both having performed with the National Symphony Orchestra (in 2015 and 2014, respectively), and today’s news coming out of the Kennedy Center, it seems the movement that was once written off as a passing fad has found a permanent place in the annals of cultural history. Q-Tip has been named the inaugural artistic director of Hip-Hop culture at the iconic Washington, D.C. performing arts center, a well-deserved appointment that speaks to the Queens, New York producer and MC’s indelible contributions to American music history.


A Tribe Called Quest’s Kamaal the Abstract will be responsible for curating events at the Kennedy Center as early as the summer season, and according the Center’s website, Hip-Hop is going to be included as part of its “core programming,” and while there are already a handful of Hip-Hop oriented events listed for the upcoming season, Q-Tip’s programs have yet to be officially announced. According to the Associated Press, Kennedy Center President Deborah Rutter says of Q-Tip “I really believe that he has an important voice for all of us, for those art forms that don’t have the central stage.” As part of today’s announcement, pre-recorded remarks from Q-Tip were made available in which he stated “We see Hip-Hop in our films, we see it in our commercials, we hear it everywhere. We cannot escape that beat. That beat, that pulse is what we’re going to connect to at the Kennedy Center.”

Q-Tip has also been busy celebrating the 25th anniversary of A Tribe Called Quest’s People’s Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm while reports continue to surface that his forthcoming solo album The Last Zulu will arrive in 2016.

Related: Q-Tip, Dave Chappelle, Leo DiCaprio & Chris Rock Talk Beats, Rhymes & Life, Literally. (Audio)