"Bronx Rhymes" is a project to preserve and present the history of hip-hop culture from its roots in the South Bronx. It combines several forms of new media in ways that honor the culture:
uncovers the history of Hip Hop in the borough by tagging historically
important locations with rhymes. These rhymes illuminate the
significance of the locations, and issue a rhyming challenge. Posters
appear at each location and invite viewers to respond with their own
rhymes via text message. This website is an evolving archive of the
collected rhymes, a reflection of the community, and a way to reinsert
the hip hop past into present-day South Bronx.
I really like the way the project incorporates Google Maps, text messaging, physical signage, and poetry to re-contextualize these important landmarks of hip-hop culture. "Bronx Rhymes" was created by digital artists Claudia Bernett and Maria Ioveva.
I would love to see a virtual world version of this map, enabling you to walk your avatar through the South Bronx to experience some of what these places might have been like. I.e. something like the Kristallnachtt or "Virtual Harlem" sims in Second Life, incorporating video, spoken word / music, oral history, photos, and 3d builds to immerse you in the unique and gritty environment that spawned hip-hop as we know it today.
I also wish that "Bronx Rhymes" contained more information about the roots of b-boying (breakdance).
From my own research into the history of b-boying, I have found it hard to pinpoint particular physical spaces and moments in time that could be identified and tagged: i.e. the first time a windmill was thrown in a cypher, a legendary battle between rival crews, the first international battle, etc. There are certainly great stories out there, like this NPR piece or this interview with Ken Swift. But the history of b-boying is told more like folklore than verifiable historic record.
These must exist somewhere, probably in some PhD student's thesis or a book project waiting on a publisher. It would be great to get these historic moments recorded and recognized while we still have many of the original innovators among us.