The audiobook/podcast service known as Audible celebrates Hip Hop culture’s 50th anniversary with several exclusive specials, including Can You Dig It? A Hip Hop Origin Story starring Chuck D.
An official trailer for Can You Dig It? has hit the internet. The preview presents a sneak peek into the five-part series which covers the story behind the birth of Hip Hop in the Bronx during the early 1970s.
“December 8, 1971, was a defining moment in American history. A time when the gangs of New York laid down their weapons and redirected their youthful energy towards the creative arts,” said Chuck D in the trailer.
The Public Enemy frontman continued, “Arts that would eventually become the foundation of what we now know as Hip Hop.” Can You Dig It? does a deep dive into the impactful Hoe Avenue peace meeting which played a major role in Hip Hopis rise in the following years.
Several New York City gangs came together at the Hoe Avenue peace meeting to call a truce. The murder of peacekeeper and Ghetto Brothers member Cornell “Black Benjie” Benjamin sparked the calls for an inter-gang alliance.
Joseph Mpa, Coke La Rock & More Join Chuck D As Part Of Can You Dig It?
“If Kool Herc is considered the father of Hip Hop, then my uncle was the general; my uncle was the martyr,” says Angelique Lenox, niece of Black Benjie. “He didn’t die in vain, something good came from his death; his life mattered. This is truly my best version of a love letter to my father and my family and I will not stop until his name is a part of the Hip Hop story.”
Angelique Lenox and other surviving relatives of Black Benjie took part in Can You Dig It? Former Black Panther Joseph Mpa and Bronx-born emcee Coke La Rock as well as photographers Joe Conzo and Henry Chalfant also provided insight into the time period.
The first episode of Can You Dig It? – titled “The Bronx is Burning” – examines the street-gang-to-peacemakers movement for groups like The Ghetto Brothers. Additional installments of the series cover other aspects of gang culture and the eventual peace mission which helped birth Hip Hop.
Can You Dig It? A Hip Hop Origin Story, narrated by Chuck D, debuts on Audible on August 10. In addition, Hip Hop 50 Audible Originals features other programs with Hip Hop representatives Snoop Dogg, Lil Kim, Yasiin Bey, and DJ Drama.