The Renaissance Manifesto


Introducing The Renaissance Project, a new publication from PRISM Media dedicated to producing innovative, honest content in regards to the future of hip hop as a culture and a genre.

***Originally Published on Medium***

Yoh admiring art in the Brooklyn Botanical Garden.

“Well, hip-hop is what makes the world go around.” — Snoop Dogg

Ever since DJ Kool Herc made a radical decision playing two copies of the same record over one another in the 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Morris Heights section of the Bronx, hip hop has been defined by moments. Moments of defiance, of independence, of pride, of truth, of contempt. Lovers, haters, and observers of the culture are marred by these moments and their perpetrators, that have interrupted society since Herc’s moves at that party on August 11, 1973.

Some moments didn’t have the luxury of being captured on film or camera (Eazy E having dinner with President George Bush and Republicans in the White House, for example), but there are many that did (Cam’ron appearing on the O’Reilly Factor, laughing in the face of its host, for example). As Hua Hsu said in his article “How Hip Hop Learned to Pose for the Camera” in The New Yorker, “You heard the music, but you wanted to see the world that had inspired it, just beyond the frame.”

Mylo MU in his art gallery, taken by Juwan the Curator.

Over the 45-plus years, hip-hop forged its own party in the universe so monstrous, so dope that the mainstream could not bear to ignore it, but in fact it was forced to co-exist before absorbing it. “Rapper’s Delight”, the first recognized rap song to chart on the Billboard charts, debuted on September 16, 1979, 40 years ago this fall — less than two years after hip hop was declared music’s most popular genre.

So, now what?

You know the history. You see what’s going on today. What is waiting for us — lovers, haters and observers alike — down the rest of this road? What will the world of hip hop look like now that its right to existence and power needs no more evidence?

The Renaissance is designed to show you that world, mirroring the universe that defines this huge culture with the people living in it, their words, and their image. We look to capture hip hop’s population in the midst of their Sista Soulja moment. We look to record the words, unfiltered, of those driving through the crash courses of the genre, presently and into the future. Together, from this you’ll be able to grasp a real insider view of the most-listened to genre in music and the real emotions of the culture within that dominates urban America.

Our content will not be similar to most, if any hip hop publications currently in operation. We will not debate the best of this or list the newest that. We will not fluff the elite, or trash those who are different. We will not blindly praise the past, or demoan the modern presentation of hip hop. We will scholarly review, and dissertate educationally, the world of rap. We will talk about what is changing, or needs to change, within the genre. We will report on news, events, and commentary with zeal. The Renaissance will provide insight and nuance that those that are truly hip hop can appreciate, while holding itself according to exemplary journalistic standard.

DJ VkySmallz at Grand Central Terminal, taken by Juwan the Curator.

“If you admire someone, you should go ahead and tell them. People never get the flowers while they can still smell them.” — Kanye West

We hope you will join us as we forge ourselves into the future of hip hop, and thus culture.

Yoh, taken by Juwan the Curator.

Peace, Power, and Love 4 One Another — Juwan Holmes, Editorial Revolutionary-in-Charge


The Renaissance— Rap and Hip Hop’s Progressive Publication is a project of PRISM Media, a section within the PRISM Collaborative, and it will be a daily digital zine beginning production this fall, in recognition of those 40- and 46-year marks. As of now, all aspects of production will be managed by the PRISM Collaborative, led editorially by Juwan Holmes (Genius, Fifty54, Bustle, etc), a co-founder of the Humans of Hip Hop series. It will be anchored by the PhotoView, an innovative journalistic method which reproduces conversation with intriguing individuals alongside handpicked photography taken concurrently with the interview.

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