In 2017, Google reached out to Peter Bittenbender for his input on an edition of the search engine’s daily Doodle. The tech giant had called on Bittenbender, CEO of entertainment company Mass Appeal, to help it recognize hip-hop’s 44th anniversary. As he and Mass Appeal worked on the Doodle — which ended up featuring a graffiti version of the Google logo — Bittenbender had a realization: The genre’s 50th anniversary was right around the corner.
“It was all focused on 50,” he says of his game plan since. “Let’s get ahead of this. This is the most important moment in this generation of hip-hop and, culturally, the most important movement of our lifetime. So let’s not think about it a month before — let’s set it up years in advance.”
On Aug. 11, hip-hop will celebrate 50 years since the night in 1973 when legendary DJ Kool Herc lit up a house party in the Bronx with his turntables and sparked a cultural movement that embraced personal style and flavor among DJs, MCs and dancers. Bittenbender, a hip-hop connoisseur, didn’t want to let the monumental anniversary pass without due recognition, so he called his Mass Appeal co-partner, Nas, to begin planning the biggest celebration of the genre in its history.
“For a couple of years, we’ve been talking about this day coming,” says the revered Queens MC. “It’s great to see everything happening, too. You see some of the pioneers outside more and being celebrated. Everybody’s gathering around this whole moment to make the world know not to sweep this under the rug. This is real.”
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Alexander McQueen jacket and pants, Jacquie Aiche ring
Loewe top, Pristine Jewelers necklaces.
Nas photographed on July 11, 2023 in Los Angeles.
Doublet jacket, Simone Rocha pants, Pristine Jewelers diamond chain.
Styling by April Roomet. air by Ria Shelton. Barbering by Marcus Hatch. Makeup by Su Naeem at Dew Beauty Agency.