Pandora soundtracks first-ever Hip Hop History Month

It's official as a whistle: today marks the first day of Hip Hop History Month, an annual celebration recently recognized by the United States Senate. Music streaming platform Pandora is ushering in the inaugural event with the launch of a new station, Hip Hop Forever, featuring essential hip hop tracks from the '80s to present day.

Hip Hop Forever's four artist-curated modes, representing four decades of hip hop, are hosted by hip hop legends and contemporary stars alike, from Slick Rick, Naughty By Nature, and Ghostface Killah to Soulja Boy, Rich the Kid, and Hitmaka.

Pandora's Senior Director of Hip Hop, Joshua "J1" Raiford, spearheaded the rollout of Hip Hop Forever.

“Hip Hop has become bigger than just a genre of music, it’s pop culture and a lifestyle,” said J1. “Working directly with artists to present their music and hear them tell their stories was fun, enlightening and an honor. We’ve been able to create something that hip hop fans will not find anywhere else.”

Joshua "J1" Raiford, Pandora's Senior Director of Hip Hop (photo courtesy of Raiford)

Play, one half of pioneering hip hop duo Kid n Play, was equally excited about Pandora's salute to hip hop music and culture.

“Hip Hop culture inspired me to start paying attention to gifts I didn’t know I had. I appreciate, support and salute Pandora’s Hip Hop Forever Radio to hopefully inspire and point others in a positive direction!”

In late July, the Senate unanimously agreed to designate August 11th as Hip Hop Celebration Day, and November as Hip Hop History Month. The legislation states that hip-hop “transcends many different ages, ethnicities, religions, locations, political affiliations, and socioeconomic statuses, which demonstrates the melting-pot quality of Hip Hop art and culture.”

Hip Hop Forever is a part of Pandora's Artist Takeover Modes, in which leading artists handpick a mix of their favorite songs and provide commentary on the selections. Click here to listen in.