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RIAA ANNOUNCES PIONEERS OF HIP HOP HONOREES

The RIAA has announced the 2022 RIAA Honors: Pioneers of Hip Hop event, which will highlight the contributions of Grandmaster Flash, MC Lyte, UMG General Counsel/EVP of Business & Legal Affairs Jeff Harleston and House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries.

The annual soirée is set for 9/14 in Washington, D.C., at RIAA headquarters. The National Museum of African American Music and multimedia brand Stupid Fly will co-host.

RIAA Chairman and CEO Mitch Glazier said the organization selected honorees who've "defied obstacles, defined a genre and accelerated the growth of hip-hop to audiences across generations and geography." 

Grandmaster Flash, dubbed "the Toscanini of the turntables," blazed a trail for DJs beginning in the 1970s. His contributions to the culture are immeasurable, but he's perhaps most celebrated for the "scratch," a fundamental technique used by turntablists around the globe. In 2007 Grandmaster Flash and his group The Furious Five were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, the first hip-hop act to be so honored.

MC Lyte became the first female rapper to put out a full-length album when she released 1988's Lyte as Rock, laying the groundwork for Queen Latifah, Lil Kim, Lauryn Hill and Monie Love. The Grammy-nominated artist is also a philanthropist, actor and V/O pro whose credits include S.W.A.T., In Living Color and, more recently, Partners in Rhyme.  

Harleston, this year's label honoree, served as Def Jam's interim CEO from 2020 to 2021. At UMG, he's tasked with overseeing the company’s business transactions, contracts, litigation, government relations, trade and anti-piracy activities. 

Policymaker honoree and New York congressman Jeffries, meanwhile, is a member of the House Judiciary and Budget committees and has served as chairman of the House Democratic Caucus since 2018. He played an integral role in crafting the historic Music Modernization Act, which brought American copyright laws in line with the streaming revolution. He also worked on the Copyright Alternative in Small Claims Enforcement Act, which created the Copyright Claims Board to resolve copyright disputes involving sums less than $30,000 in the U.S. Copyright Office

2022 RIAA Honors: Pioneers of Hip Hop performers, presenters and other special guests will be announced in the coming weeks.

The inaugural RIAA Honors was held on Capitol Hill in 2019. Its new permanent home at RIAA HQ features a concert-quality live-performance stage and cutting-edge recording studio designed by Interscope. Let's just hope it can handle those booming 808s.

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