The Kennedy Center Announces 2022-2023 Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music Season

Learn more about the full lineup here!

By: Aug. 15, 2022
The Kennedy Center Announces 2022-2023 Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music Season

The Kennedy Center's Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music program has announced its initial programming for the 2022-2023 season. The season deepens the mission of Hip Hop Culture at the Center by highlighting multi-hyphenate artists and creators in the world of hip hop and honors Contemporary Music's diverse musical genres and audiences by celebrating important artistic voices who have helped shape the canon, defied categorization, and propelled us into the future. Through conversations, storytelling, concerts, and professional development workshops, the program continues to celebrate and invest in the genius of hip hop and contemporary culture and the communities that created it.

"Hip Hop Culture is filled with creators and multi-hyphenates that continuously explore the breadth, depth, and aesthetics of hip hop in ways that spark new understandings of its vastness and possibilities," said Simone Eccleston, Director of Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music. "We are enthused to continue to deepen our work with artists like Robert Glasper, The Roots, 9th Wonder, Common, and MC Lyte, and serve as a creative home for their work and creative endeavors. Each artist is a creative force, vital cultural leader, and powerful catalyst for the community. We look forward to the concerts, conversations, celebrations, and workshops we will be hosting with them this season."

Beginning in October, Culture Talks, a humanities series that aims to highlight the creative genius behind hip hop artists, creatives, and culture, will kick off the season. Culture Talks: A Conversation on Creativity with Coodie & Chike will feature award-winning directors, producers, and filmmakers Coodie & Chike (October 19, 2022). The duo is known for their pioneering digital network CreativeControl.TV; groundbreaking music videos such as "Through the Wire," "Jesus Walks," and "Window Seat;" and the critically-acclaimed documentaries Muhammad Ali: The People's Champ and A Kid from Coney Island. Most recently known for their role in creating and directing the three part Netflix docuseries jeen-yuhs, the visionary artists will sit down with renowned multi-hyphenate, Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council Member, and Chief Creative Officer at Pharrell's i am OTHER, Mimi Valdés, for a conversation about their journey and cutting-edge approach to storytelling.

The season will also celebrate artists and their creative accomplishments with Robert Glasper's Black Radio - 10th Anniversary Celebration and Culture Talks: Electric Circus at 20. In November, Robert Glasper will return to the Kennedy Center to commemorate the 10th anniversary of Black Radio (November 13, 2022). The five-time Grammy Award-winning pianist, composer, producer, and founding Kennedy Center Hip Hop Culture Council Member will celebrate his genre bending brand with a one-night only concert featuring various special guests from hip hop, jazz, R&B, and soul. The second installment of Culture Talks will focus on Grammy, Emmy, and Academy Award-winning artist, author, actor, and activist Common, and explore the experimental sound and artists he collaborated with on his album, Electric Circus (December 10, 2022). The exclusive talk will feature author and journalist Marcus J. Moore, and Academy Award-winning drummer, DJ, producer, author, and director Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson, discussing the creation, impact, and legacy of Electric Circus on the 20th anniversary of its release.

With a commitment to supporting the next generation of hip hop artists, the Center will offer a new extension of its professional development initiatives. Grammy Award-winning producer and founding Hip Hop Culture Council member, 9th Wonder, and The Soul Council will host a workshop for rising producers. Making Beats: A Production Workshop with 9th Wonder and The Soul Council will be a three-day intensive workshop with 9th Wonder, Khrysis, Kash, Sndtrak, and E. Jones to help equip participating producers with the history of hip hop production and the tools and skills needed to hone their craft while producing new beats. The workshop will conclude with Making Beats: Beat Battle, a showcase of beats in Studio K at the REACH (October 30, 2022).

The Roots Residency and MC Lyte Presents, return this season. The Roots Residency continues with Grammy Award winner Black Thought's Streams of Thought, with renowned American contemporary visual artist and 2018 MacArthur Fellow, Titus Kaphar, as special guest (October 23, 2022). Kaphar's paintings, sculptures, and installations examine the history of representation by reconfiguring styles and mediums to emphasize the physicality and dimensionality of the canvas and materials themselves. His practice seeks to dislodge history from its status as the "past" in order to unearth its contemporary meaning. This intimate conversation will occur in the Terrace Theater. In November, the third installment of Questlove's MUSIC IS HISTORY, moderated by Ben Greenman, will continue last season's captivating conversations about popular music and American history (November 5, 2022). This will be followed by Black Thought presents...Delirious, a comedy show curated by the MC of the Legendary Roots Crew featuring new comedians and fresh takes on popular culture (November 12, 2022). In April, music icon MC Lyte returns to the Center with Warryn Campbell to present My Block, and I Am Woman: A Celebration of Women in Hip Hop in June. "I am excited to be in partnership with the Kennedy Center to shine a light on and celebrate women in music. The 2022 launch of I AM WOMAN was incredible and 2023 will prove to be just as riveting," said MC Lyte. "In addition, we will celebrate Easter Sunday with multi- Grammy Award-winning producer Warryn Campbell and his MY BLOCK roster of talent, featuring Mary, Mary and more. Get ready!" MC Lyte and Warryn Campbell, a music visionary known for producing chart-topping hits across a multitude of genres, collaborate to present My Block (April 9, 2023). Presented as part of the Center's Contemporary Music Program, Erica Campbell, Mary Mary, The Walls Group, and Lena Byrd Miles from Campbell's record label, My Block Inc., will perform on the Concert Hall stage for a soul-stirring evening of gospel music in celebration of Easter Sunday. MC Lyte continues to display her dedication to uplifting women in hip hop this season with the second presentation of I Am Woman: A Celebration of Women in Hip Hop. I Am Woman honors the genius, diversity, and power of female emcees while uplifting the creative contributions of women across generations (June 4, 2023). Artists will be announced at a later date.

In addition to MC Lyte and Warryn Campbell presents My Block, Inc., Grammy Award-nominated singer, songwriter, producer, professor, and Howard alumnus, Eric Roberson, returns to the Kennedy Center to make his Concert Hall debut as part of the Contemporary Music Season and The Lessons Tour (November 18, 2022).

The Kennedy Center continues to prioritize the health and safety of artists, staff, and patrons.

Current protocols can be found here and will continue to be updated as they evolve.The Kennedy Center Announces 2022-2023 Hip Hop Culture and Contemporary Music Season