To celebrate Hip Hop’s milestone 50-year anniversary, Sotheby’s presents its third dedicated Hip Hop sale, highlighting Hip Hop’s profound impact on art and culture across five decades, from its inception in the South Bronx in 1973 through today.
Leading the auction is Tupac Shakur’s gold, diamond and ruby ‘Crown’ sovereign ring, designed by the artist himself and engraved with ‘Pac & Dada 1996,’ referencing his recent engagement to sweetheart Kidada Jones. Worn during Tupac’s final public appearance at the MTV Video Music Awards in 1996, the ring is on offer from Yaasmyn Fula, the artist’s godmother and staunch supporter, who was one of Tupac’s most trusted advisors with all of his most important matters, including commissioning a new piece of jewelry to commemorate his achievements and usher in a new era of prosperity.
Featuring original art, historic studio equipment, sneakers and jackets, archival flyers and posters, rare artifacts, and more, the auction spotlights the iconic artists and trailblazers who defined not only the musical genre as we know it, but also the global phenomenon of Hip Hop culture spanning art, fashion and much more, including Tupac Shakur, Wu-Tang Clan, Nas, Ice-T & Afrika Islam, Fab 5 Freddy, Big Daddy Kane, Futura, Lee Quiñones, UNKLE, and Mo’ Wax Founder James Lavelle, among many others. The sale will be presented in collaboration with entertainment company Mass Appeal, which throughout the year has curated an array of programming as part of its Hip Hop 50 initiative.
To commemorate the anniversary, Mass Appeal’s Hip Hop 50 is celebrating the culture through unique storytelling, realized in timeless content, original music, live experiences, strategic partnerships and more, including Hip Hop Conscious, Unconscious, an exhibition at Fotografiska; Park Jams: A Juneteenth Celebration at SummerStage in Central Park; Hip Hop Til Infinity, an immersive exhibition at Hall des Lumières this July, a star-studded Hip Hop 50 Live concert at Yankee Stadium this August headlined by Run DMC and many other legendary Hip Hop artists, and more.