Preserving the foundation of hip-hop in North Carolina


Dedicated to the pioneers of hip-hop from North Carolina.  The many unsung heroes who laid the foundation for hip-hop to thrive and cultivate future talent from the state.

As the music world celebrates the 50th anniversary of hip-hop, this is an opportunity to reflect on how it began and the people who experienced the birth of rap music in real-time.

Em City proudly presents, NCHipHopHistory.com, an open site to share your hip-hop history.  Remembering how it all started.



JUNE 18-25, 2023

Join us as we relive the beginnings of hip-hop in North Carolina from the natives who lived it. Experience the early sights and sounds when rap music was first on the scene through blogs, videos, art, and audio recordings that will feature stories from the many NC hip-hop communities.

The DJs

The foundation of the hip-hop genre began with the DJ. A new art form of spinning vinyl records on the turntables was emerging, scratching the break beat and blending two different records. Hear stories from the first wave of hip-hop DJs in North Carolina talk about learning how to deejay and looking for their big break.

The Emcees

An essential building block of hip-hop is the emcee. The original emcee would rap over the DJ's beats and scratches while keeping the crowd rocking. Discover some of North Carolina's first emcees as they tell their stories of being the early voices of hip-hop.

DANCING, breaking & skating

Hip-hop in North Carolina could not be complete without the dancing, break dancers, and the skate crews. The crews let the music take control as they would jam out on the dance floor. Get to know members of local crews as they recall the battles on the block and making their mark in hip-hop history.

The Records &

In the early era of hip-hop, it was about vinyl records and the DJ mixtape. The DJs would record on cassette tapes, combinations of their crafty cuts, scratches, blends, and breaks. Listen to authentic audio recordings of mixtapes made on cassettes by DJs from the vinyl record era.

The Party

In the late 80's, rap music, as it was called back then, was not widely accepted. Which made it nearly impossible to find a club playing the new sound. This led to teenagers throwing parties in their neighborhoods, that were either on the block or at a residence. Hear firsthand from party promoters and graphic artists who were essential in fueling the rise in rap as they describe the early hip-hop party scenes in their hometowns.


Share your story of discovering rap music in your city!  Memories of the parties, djs, emcees, dancers, and music you enjoyed growing up.  Become a contributor to the hip-hop legacy of North Carolina. 

Submit your story using the form provided.  Please send any photos or videos to [email protected].


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The content on this site is curated by Walltown, NC native, Youtha A. Fowler