HipHopWired Featured Video
NYPL Hip-Hop library card

Source: @nypl / Instagram

The public library systems in New York City and the borough of Queens honor Hip-Hop’s 50th anniversary with limited-edition library cards, released last week.

Last Friday (July 14th), two of the city’s public library systems celebrated the launch of limited-edition library cards. The New York Public Library patrons can grab a card that sports the renowned graffiti mural made famous from the iconic film Wild Style. Those lucky enough to visit branches of the Queens Public Library can get their hands on a card featuring a design from streetwear icons The Shirt Kings atop a royal purple background.

The Queens Public Library held an event for those in the community to get first crack at the cards at its Central Branch in Jamaica, Queens on Friday with “Uncle” Ralph McDaniels, the veteran host of “Video Music Box” and the library’s Hip-Hop coordinator hosting. “Without the community, there’s no hip-hop,” McDaniels said. “The community is the designers, the dancers, the folks that come to the party. I think The Shirt Kings represent that in the biggest way. They do hip-hop stuff, but they also do the Rest in Peace shirts for the community. That’s why they’re still loved in this community, and will always be.”

Charlie Ahearn, the director of Wild Style along with mural artist Sharp, legendary fashion designer Dapper Dan, and Fab 5 Freddy were among the first to get the New York Public Library cards. Sharp “Us being young people who essentially started out painting trains illegally, not a lot of people thought that what we did had a lot of value,” Sharp noted how Hip-Hop culture, once reviled, is now highly celebrated. “Over the course of years, we eked out an existence in the art world and sort of became revered and respected,” he said. “The fact that this is on a card, which will circulate throughout New York City, is a symbolic testament to our contributions.”