Yhinny Matos and Dash Montalvo at the “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” Mass. Memories Road Show.
The photographs, objects, and stories collected at the “Show ‘Em Whatcha Got” Mass. Memories Road Show: The Hip-Hop Edition are available online now.
Held at the Boston Public Library in May, the event was a collaboration between UMass Boston’s Healey Library and the Boston Public Library. It was part of a larger project called “Local Rappers, DJs, B-Boys, and Graff: Documenting the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Community from the 1970s to the present” and is supported by a Common Heritage grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor and the UMass President’s Creative Economy Initiatives Fund. Learn more about this project here.
‘A Phi Ki in the house, 1980s. Spinning at Cambridge VFW. Pictured: Malcolm (Malibu) and myself Troy Ellerbee (Terminator).’ Contributor: Troy Ellerbee.
The digital collection of nearly 300 items features informal snapshots and promotional publicity photographs documenting the experiences of artists and producers involved in the four elements of hip-hop–rap, DJs, dance, and graffiti–in the Boston community from the 1980s to the present.
‘The Robonauts, 1981. This group was the first and for months was the only dance group of its kind in Cambridge. The Robonauts ushered in the beginning of popping from this area.’ Contributor: Kevin Layne (Cap Nice).
Many of the photographs in the collection document artists’ and fans’ memories of notable performances and of receiving awards and other public recognition.
‘My moment to shine, 1996. At that moment the room was quiet and all focus was on me. At that moment, I knew I had a voice. I stay in deep thought.’ Contributor: Michelle Hunter (Honey Bee).
Many contributors shared posters, flyers, and other printed matter from performing groups, production companies, venues, and concert performances. They also brought a great number of magazine and album covers from the 1980s to the present, recording the contributions of Boston graphic artists and designers to the local and national hip-hop scene. Several photographs of clothing items, including T-shirts with logos, painted jackets, performance costumes, and shoes, are included in the collection.
‘Guru’s ‘Jazzmatazz Streetsoul’ poster, 2000. This is the logo and poster I designed for hip-hop legend Guru (Keith Elam).’ Contributor: Rob Stull.
Note to contributors: We need your help to finish processing this collection! If you see something incorrect or misspelled–names and spellings of individuals and performing groups, for example–we want to fix it. Please email email@example.com with the details and our team will make the corrections as soon as we can. Thank you!
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations in this program do not necessarily express those of the National Endowment of the Humanities.
The 60 video interviews with community members about their connections to hip-hop in Boston and Massachusetts, also collected at this event, will be added to the collection later this year.
If you have questions about the Massachusetts Hip-Hop Archive, please contact an archivist at UMass Boston, connect with the project on Facebook, or click here to explore the collections and learn how you can contribute materials.
University Archives & Special Collections in the Joseph P. Healey Library at UMass Boston collects materials related to the university’s history, as well as materials that reflect the institution’s urban mission and strong support of community service, notably in collections of records of urban planning, social welfare, social action, alternative movements, community organizations, and local history related to neighboring communities.
University Archives & Special Collections welcomes inquiries from individuals, organizations, and businesses interested in donating materials of an archival nature that that fit within our collecting policy. These include manuscripts, documents, organizational archives, collections of photographs, unique publications, and audio and video media. For more information about donating to University Archives & Special Collections, click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.