Amazon Music is paying tribute to hip-hop’s vast influence on music, culture, and society with “50 & Forever,” a program in celebration of hip-hop’s 50th anniversary, intended to honor the music’s legacy and champion the artists writing the next 50 years of its history. Created by Rotation — the hip-hop and R&B brand from Amazon Music — “50 & Forever” will include curated events, livestreams, playlists, original content, and new music, spanning Amazon Music, Twitch, Audible, Prime Video, and Amp.
The celebration will feature some of the most important names in hip-hop, from hip-hop’s Golden Era through present day, including J. Cole and Dreamville, Mary J. Blige, Queen Latifah, Jeezy, Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Jadakiss, DJ Drama, Jodeci, Free Marie, and Kenny Burns. Many more events and featured artists will be announced throughout 2023.
“This year, hip-hop fans around the world will come together to mark one of the culture’s most important milestones: the 50th anniversary of hip-hop,” said Tim Hinshaw, head of hip-hop and R&B for Amazon Music. “More than music, hip-hop has broken barriers and redefined culture across fashion, sports, film, and social movements. From art to activism, hip-hop hasn’t just changed history, but is history, and ‘50 & Forever’ pays tribute to the indelible mark that hip-hop has made on the culture.”
To kick off 50 & Forever, Amazon Music today released “Generational Queens,” the first in an ongoing series of short films that will be released throughout the year from Amazon Music. Directed by Fenn O’Meally and featuring a Black, all-female cast, the film is centered around the first lady of hip-hop, Queen Latifah, and her groundbreaking, respect-demanding feminist anthem ‘U.N.I.T.Y’—which turns 30 this year. The film captures the journey of music discovery and shows that when hip-hop fandom starts at home, it carries on for generations. Watch the short film here.
Dreamville x 50 & Forever – Through The Years Exhibit @ Contemporary Art Museum Raleigh, 3/31
This weekend, Grammy Award-winning multiplatinum hip-hop artist J. Cole will once again host Dreamville Festival in his hometown of Raleigh, North Carolina. To celebrate the storied legacy of Dreamville, J. Cole, and North Carolina hip-hop, Amazon Music is hosting a very special “50 & Forever” exhibit at the Contemporary Art Museum in Raleigh on Friday, March 31.
The exhibit will explore Dreamville’s long and storied history, with a carefully curated gallery of never-before-seen photographs and video from the label’s infancy to present day. To complement the exhibit, Dreamville and “50 & Forever” will host a series of panels, workshops, and conversations on March 31, from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. EDT. The schedule includes a conversation between 9th Wonder and B.Dot about North Carolina hip-hop history; a panel on the creation of the Creed III soundtrack featuring Joe Shirley, Frank Brim, Bas, and MixedByAli; a tribute to multiplatinum producer Anthony Parrino, aka “Elite”; and a beat battle between DJs Khrysis, D.R.U.G.S., Nottz, and Bink to close out the night.
For fans not able to make it to Raleigh for the festival, Rotation will present the exclusive livestream of the 2023 Dreamville Festival on Saturday, April 1 and Sunday, April 2. Starting at 2 p.m. EDT each day, fans will be able to tune in to the Amazon Music channel on Twitch or Prime Video to watch performances from artists including J. Cole with special guest Drake, Usher, Burna Boy, Summer Walker, Lil Durk, Ari Lennox, J.I.D, GloRilla, City Girls, Sean Paul, EARTHGANG, Jessie Reyez, Key Glock, Bas, Waka Flocka Flame, and Mario.
Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit Livestream, May 12-13
This May, Grammy and Emmy award-winning and Oscar-nominated artist Mary J. Blige is returning to Atlanta for the second annual Strength of a Woman Festival and Summit, curating four days of music, comedy, female empowerment, and community building. To bring the celebration to as many hip-hop and R&B fans as possible, “50 & Forever” will be livestreaming a special event, “Mary J. Blige B-Sides: A Celebration of HipHop50 with Special Guests,” at State Farm Arena on Friday, May 12. Hosted by Kenny Burns and DJ E-Class, the night will feature music spanning Mary J. Blige’s career and include special appearances from legendary artists like Jeezy, Busta Rhymes, Method Man, Jadakiss, Jodeci, and additional special guests.
On Saturday, May 13, “50 & Forever” will also livestream the summit’s series of panels and workshops, aimed at empowering women of the BIPOC community. Curated by Strength of a Woman’s Black, all-female team, these discussions will cover wellness, finance, beauty, tech, and music. The summit will also feature live tapings of podcasts like Angela Yee’s Lip Service, Don’t Call Me White Girl, and Earn Your Leisure.
Rap Rotation Rewind with Free Marie and other “50 & Forever” Original Content and Playlists
Throughout 2023, 50 & Forever is providing highly curated original content, playlists, and programming for hip-hop fans young and old. Available today, fans can experience Rap Rotation Rewind in DJ Mode, a new listening experience hosted by legendary radio/television personality Free Marie (106 & Park, Power 105.1). Available to stream now, Rap Rotation Rewind in DJ Mode is an immersive listening experience that provides a steady stream of iconic music from hip-hop’s five decades, curated by the team of experts from Amazon Music and drawn from customers’ listening habits.