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Last Updated: Tuesday, 28 February 2006, 16:19 GMT
Hip-hop relics sought for exhibit
Mixer and hat owned by Grandmaster Flash
Grandmaster Flash has donated a mixer and a hat
Turntables, vinyl records, boom boxes and microphones are being sought by the National Museum of American History for an exhibition on hip-hop culture.

The project will assemble objects that trace hip-hop's origins in the Bronx in the 1970s to its current global reach.

It is expected to cost $2m (1.1m) and take up to five years to complete.

"Hip-hop is part of American culture, just like jazz," said a spokeswoman for the museum, part of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC.

Personal effects - ranging from photographs, posters, handwritten lyrics, clothing and costumes - are being sought from hip-hop's early artists.

Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa, Ice T and Fab 5 Freddy are among the hip-hop icons who have already donated exhibits.

Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons is the founder of Def Jam Records
At a ceremony in New York on Tuesday, impresario Russell Simmons called the Smithsonian's recognition "a great statement".

"It's not a signal to the end of hip-hop," said the co-founder of the Def Jam label. "We know it will be a lasting fixture.

"All over the world hip-hop is an expression of young people's struggles, their frustrations and opinions."

The Smithsonian initiative - entitled Hip-Hop Won't Stop: The Beat, the Rhymes, the Life - follows a similar exhibition - Hip-Hop Nation: Roots, Rhymes and Rage - held at the Brooklyn Museum of Art in 2000.

A spokesman said it planned to feature an exhibition on graffiti art later this year.

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