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Beats per Minute: The 50th Anniversary of Hip-Hop; Baltimore’s (untold) Contributions to the Culture

This powerful program, part of the University of Baltimore’s ARTclusive Series, demonstrates the influence Baltimore City has had on hip hop. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, hip hop has inspired countless artists, musicians, and writers to express themselves through this vibrant and dynamic art form.

Beats per Minute: the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop; Baltimore’s (untold) contributions to the Culture is curated and developed by Angela Koukoui, the Outreach Engagement Librarian for the University of Baltimore’s Robert L. Bogomolny Library (RLB).

The evening includes: music by DJ Rod Lee; artist talks and presentations on the history of local hip-hop and Bmore Club Music; an exclusive look at an excerpt of Born Busy, a documentary film on Tupac Shakur’s teenage years in Baltimore before his fame.


6 pm – Doors Open
6:30 pm – Program begins
8:15 pm – Program ends



Darrin Keith Bastfield
Darrin Keith Bastfield, born in Baltimore, MD in 1970, is a visual artist, author, filmmaker, and president of, advocating for access to arts and culture for underserved youth. Bastfield graduated from the Baltimore School for the Arts in 1988 and attended the School of Visual Arts in New York. He authored ‘Back in the Day: My Life and Times with Tupac Shakur,’ first published in 2002 chronicling their teenage years in Baltimore. As an art broker, Bastfield represents Dr. Samella Lewis’s private collection featuring works by Elizabeth Catlett, Jacob Lawrence, Romare Bearden, and Richmond Barthé. His artwork has appeared in solo exhibitions, national television, and publications, including the 10th-anniversary edition of Michael Eric Dyson’s ‘Holla If You Hear Me.’”

Kenneth Bond
Kenneth Bond served 27 years in prison for a crime he did not commit. While in prison, he educated himself and became a mentor, spiritual leader, and positive influence. He continues today to spread positivity and purpose with his voice and words.

DJ Booman
DJ Booman, the Baltimore-born record producer and DJ who got his start as a DJ for V103 and a researcher for 92Q, two of Baltimore’s top radio stations. His productions have had a global impact, including two Baltimore Club Records – “Watch Out For The Big Girl” and “Pick Em Up” – that gained international success and served as the theme and title track for Lizzo’s Emmy Award-winning hit television series. Booman has also produced remixes for legendary artists such as Michael Jackson and P. Diddy, as well as hip-hop and R&B artists like David Banner, Mistah F.A.B, Jazz (Dru Hill), and Raheem Devaugn. Today, he continues innovating with his hit house track “God’s Got It,” creating music NFTs and DJing MetaVerse events on virtual world platforms.

Wayne Davis
Wayne Davis is a prominent figure in developing Baltimore club music in the 1990s. He was a club owner, DJ, and producer who played a vital role in shaping the city’s vibrant music scene. In the mid-1970s, Davis started as a DJ playing a mix of R&B, House, and go-go music, which was popular in the Baltimore area then. In 1993, Davis opened the Paradox, a club that would become the epicenter of Baltimore club music culture. The club’s weekly party, “The Basement,” brought together DJs, producers, dancers, and music lovers from all over the city, creating a vibrant and inclusive community that embraced the style of music that Davis had helped create. Davis also played an instrumental role in promoting Baltimore club music on a national level. Today, Baltimore club music continues to thrive, with new artists and producers carrying on the tradition that Wayne Davis helped start.

Angela Koukoui
Angela Koukoui is the Outreach Engagement Librarian for the University of Baltimore RLB Library and Archives. She earned a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Maryland’s College of Information Studies and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Baltimore’s School of Integrated Arts. She is also a graduate of the Baltimore School of the Arts. Angela co-directs the Community Archives Program for Inheritance Baltimore, a collaboration with Johns Hopkins University that preserves African American art and culture.

DJ Rod Lee
Rod Lee is a DJ pioneer and music producer who began his career in the late 80s playing at local house parties and clubs. He was known for his energetic and eclectic style, which blended Baltimore club music, hip hop, and R&B. He released a series of mixtapes, including “Vol. 1: Operation Not Done Yet” and “Vol. 2: Operation: Start Er Up,” which were highly praised in the Baltimore club scene. In 2001, he released his debut album, “The Kenwood Ave. EP,” which included the viral hit “Dance My Pain Away.” which is listed in Rolling Stone magazine as the 76th greatest dance song of all time.

Lee continued to produce music and DJ throughout the 2000s, working with artists such as Miss Tony, DJ Technics, and Blaqstarr. He is credited with helping to popularize Baltimore club music and has been recognized as a genre pioneer. Other notable tracks by Lee include “Feel Me,” “Let’s Go,” and “Leave ‘Em Alone.” Lee’s contributions to Baltimore club music have earned him a place in the city’s cultural history. He continues to produce music and perform as a DJ, inspiring a new generation of Baltimore club music producers and DJs.

The Billie Holiday Center for Liberation Arts at JHU, the University of Baltimore RLB Library, Eubie Blake Cultural Center, and the Black Baltimore Digital Database have made the Artsclusive Series: Beats per Minute program possible.

The Details

Location BMA Main Campus 6:30 pm - 8:15 pm Cost Free