UK Happenings

UK, Lyric Theatre join forces to celebrate hip-hop's 50th anniversary

The Lyric
Mark Cornelison | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 3, 2023) — The University of Kentucky Office for Institutional Diversity (OID), the Commonwealth Institute for Black Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences and the Office of Inclusion and Internationalization in the College of Education are partnering with Lyric Theater and Cultural Arts Center to present a remarkable event commemorating the 50th anniversary of hip-hop. The celebration will feature performances from legendary hip-hop trailblazers and is free to the community. The event will take place at the historic Lyric Theatre on Nov. 10 starting at 7 p.m.

Performers include:

The Sugarhill Gang: A trailblazing American hip-hop group founded in Englewood, New Jersey, in 1979 will be gracing the stage. Sugarhill Gang made history with their iconic hit, "Rapper's Delight," released in the same year as their formation. "Rapper's Delight" was the first rap single to break into the top 40 of the Billboard Hot 100. They set the stage for an entire genre, making their contribution to hip-hop immeasurable.

Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five: From the heart of the South Bronx in 1978 emerged the legendary Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five. Featuring iconic members like Melle Mel and Scorpio, this group is celebrated as one of the greatest in hip-hop history. They achieved the groundbreaking honor of being inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2007, marking the first-ever induction of a hip-hop group. Their hit song, "The Message," is considered one of the "500 Greatest Songs of All Time" by Rolling Stone. 

MC Sha-Rock: Known as the "Luminary Icon" and the "Mother of the Mic," MC Sha-Rock is hip-hop Culture's first influential female rapper/MC. She began her journey as a b-girl and break dancer in 1977 and later became part of the legendary rap group The Funky Four and The Funky Four + One More. MC Sha-Rock's contributions to the hip-hop world extend far beyond her music. She has been featured in numerous documentaries, including those by the ABC Network, CBS Network, BBC Broadcasting, Netflix, Showtime, BET and A&E Broadcasting. In 1984, she made her mark in the iconic movie "Beat Street" as the Us Girls. Her influence even transcended into mainstream media, with a 2009 Mitsubishi commercial featuring her likeness and voice. Today, MC Sha-Rock remains a prominent figure in hip-hop culture, serving as a radio host on LL Cool Jay's Rock the Bells Radio station.

This unprecedented event promises to be a night of exceptional music, education and celebration, showcasing the evolution of hip-hop over the past half-century. It is a testament to the enduring legacy of a genre that has shaped and inspired generations. The performers will be part of a Q&A session before performing their hit records.

Space is limited and tickets are required. Additionally, UK faculty, staff and students must present ID at the door along with their ticket. To get your ticket, click here

For attendees who need a ride to and from campus, there will be a charter bus at the top of Administration Drive beginning at 6:15 p.m. and ending at 9:45 p.m. 

For more information, please visit or contact: Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center at 859-280-2201.

About Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center:

The Lyric Theatre and Cultural Arts Center is a historic and vibrant cultural hub. This center plays a pivotal role in promoting the arts and cultural heritage of the region. With a rich history, the Lyric Theatre offers a platform for diverse artistic performances, including music, theater and dance, while hosting community events and educational programs. It serves as a gathering place where people of all backgrounds can come together to celebrate and appreciate the arts, making it a cornerstone of cultural expression and unity in the community.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.