Under New York’s Major Deegan Expressway in the Bronx, through a set of doors wedged between a parking garage and a pizza shop, a gray and gold throne emblazoned with the letters “S” and “R” sits behind a pair of velvet ropes. The letters stand for “Slick Rick,” one of hip hop’s pioneering rappers, whose hits have been sampled more than 1,000 times by acts ranging from Snoop Dogg to Miley Cyrus.
Slick Rick himself donated the ornate chair to the Universal Hip Hop Museum, the genre’s long-awaited answer to the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, set to open in early 2025 as part of a brand-new development on the other side of the Deegan. The museum will be a slightly belated anniversary tribute to hip hop, which turned 50 earlier this month. For now, Rick’s throne resides at the museum’s pop-up location in the Bronx Terminal Market.
“That basically is one of our most important artifacts,” the museum’s president, Rocky Bucano, told me on a recent visit. Bucano, 63, stands six foot eight, with matching stature in the hip hop world: The trailblazing DJ now work... Read more