In the heart of the nation’s capital on September 14, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) will recognize artists, label executives and policymakers who impact American music, culture and society. Alongside co-hosts National Museum of African American Music and Stupid Fly, this year’s celebration, dubbed RIAA Honors: Pioneers of Hip-Hop, will acknowledge the immense contributions from Grandmaster Flash, MC Lyte, Jeff Harleston and Chairman Hakeem Jeffries to the most popular genre of music in the US on streaming services.
RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier says, “at this year’s RIAA Honors, we are thrilled to celebrate pioneers who have defied obstacles, defined a genre and accelerated the growth of hip-hop to audiences across generations and geography. Congratulations and thank you, Grandmaster Flash, MC Lyte, Jeff Harleston and Chairman Hakeem Jeffries for your contributions to this diverse musical landscape and setting the stage for creators to come.”
He continued, “I don’t think there has ever been a time in music history when the influence of hip-hop has been more evident…. Streaming is the biggest revenue generator for the industry, and hip-hop accounts for a huge percentage of those streams.”
The advent of hip-hop not only shared the compelling stories of its rappers and musicians, it paved the way for countless artists who together have created a uniquely American art form, like blues, jazz and rock & roll before them.
RIAA Honors: Pioneers of Hip-Hop
Grandmaster Flash – Few names have become as well known to music lovers across the globe as that of Grandmaster Flash, one of the originators of the musical genre called Hip-Hop and the first DJ to play turntables as a musical instrument thus helping to elevate the status of the DJ to a masterful, artistic position. His career began in the Bronx with neighborhood block parties that essentially were the start of what would become a global sensation — the dawn of a musical genre and his own scientific invention of “The Quick Mix Theory,” becoming the first DJ to physically lay his fingertips on the body of the vinyl and manipulate it. Dubbed the “Toscanini” of the turntables, his template laid the groundwork for everything a DJ can do with a record today, other than just letting it play. After starting Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five, whose success continued as Punk and new wave fans were introduced through Blondie’s hit “Rapture.” They became the first hip-hop group ever inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with Flash as the first DJ to ever receive that honor with others following –Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award, VH1 Hip-Hop Honors, Icon Award from BET, RIAA Lifetime Achievement Award, Bill Gates’ Vanguard Award and more. Flash also is featured in the Smithsonian Museum of American History’s RECOGNIZE! exhibit alongside LL Cool J, Erykah Badu and Common.
MC Lyte – Legendary lyricist, DJ, voice over talent, actress, entertainer and icon, MC Lyte is still making the crowds move across the globe. At the tender age of 17 she began schooling other MCs in the art of rhyme, and since that time she has proven that greatness always prevails with a total of ten albums to her credit. Lyte is the first rap artist ever to perform at New York’s historic Carnegie Hall and the first female rapper to ever receive a GOLD single from the RIAA. Also becoming the first female solo rapper ever nominated for a Grammy Award and inducted on VH1 Hip-Hop Honors, Lyte serves as a beautiful example that females can rock the mic just as good and oftentimes even better than men. Lyte’s lyrical skills have also been tapped into by Hollywood; she co-wrote and performed theme songs for Fox’s “Dark Angel” and BET’s “Holla.” Her last music offering, LEGEND, was released for one day in VINYL format with a digital download. S:RIAA