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Today, August 11th 2013, marks the 40th birthday of hip-hop, the genre that started in the Boogie Down Bronx  and went on to influenced fashion, dance, politics and so much more across the world.

Four decades ago, Clive “Kool Herc” Campbell threw his first back-to-school party at 1520 Sedgwick Ave in the South Bronx and that was the official launch of the global culture that has brought us musical greats like Rakim, LL Cool J,  Jay-Z, Tupac Skakur and Biggie Smalls.

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Hip-hop is sometimes known as the music of the underdog because it’s been an art form for societies that are often overlooked by mainstream America. But, desperate the criticism, the music has inspired a generation to follow their wildest dreams and plow through life’s obstacles.

So, in honor of hip-hop’s birthday, let’s take a look at 15 records that help helped us survive the struggle and smile over the years!

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For 2024’s iteration of MadameNoire and HelloBeautiful’s annual series Women to Know, we knew we wanted to celebrate the people who help make the joys of film and television possible. To create art is to create magic. This year, we spotlight Hollywood Executive’s changing the face of cinema.