The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame + Museum

Lecture by Loren Kajikawa “Before Rap: DJs, MCs, and Pre-1979 Hip Hop Performances”

Wednesday, September 25: 7 p.m.

WHERE:   Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Foster Theater

TO RSVP:   This event is FREE and reservations are recommended, but not required.   To RSVP, visit or in-person at the Rock Hall Box Office.   

VIEW ONLINE:   Can’t make it to Cleveland for this event?  No worries! This event will be live streamed on   You can find the stream here.  A webcast will be made available on the AMS web site.


The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum will welcome Loren Kajikawa of the University of Oregon as the next guest speaker in the American Musicological Society/Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum Lecture Series – a joint collaboration that brings scholarly work to a broader audience and showcases the musicological work of the top scholars in the field.  Kajikawa will give the lecture, “Before Rap: DJs, MCs, and Pre-1979 Hip Hop Performances” on Wednesday, September 25 at 7 p.m. in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Foster Theater.  


Kajikawa’s lecture will focus on the world of hip-hop music before “Rapper’s Delight”, the multi-platinum single that propelled The Sugarhill Gang – and rap music – into the national spotlight late in 1979.  Drawing on various oral histories, autobiographies, and pre-1979 bootleg recordings, Kajikawa will discuss the work of pioneering DJs and MCs with the goal of demonstrating how formal analysis and questions related to historical performance practice can serve to generate new knowledge in popular music research.  These early recordings are especially notable for their musical spontaneity – one that distinguishes them from later studio-produced rap music.  

Kajikawa serves as contributing editor for all hip hop-related entries to Amerigrove II. His article “The Sound of Struggle: Black Nationalism and Asian American Jazz in the 1980s” appeared in Jazz/Not Jazz: The Music and its Boundaries, ed. David Ake, Charles Hiroshi Garrett, and Daniel Goldmark (University of California Press, 2012).

Building upon the success of the AMS/Library of Congress lecture series, which over the last three years has resulted in a six public lectures by distinguished members of the American Musicological Society showcasing research building upon the library’s musical collections, the AMS/RRHOFM Lecture series consists of two events each year featuring members of the Society presenting engaging lectures on topics relevant to the mission of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum. For more information about these events, visit
buy tickets