Riverfront Library will close at 5pm on Thursday, April 25th for a special event.

Yonkers Public Library Releases Limited Edition Library Card to Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop


For a limited time only, YPL will be releasing a new Hip Hop library card featuring art by nationally recognized muralist and Yonkers native Daniel Hopkins aka Maxx Moses. The library card commemorates the 50th anniversary of hip hop and is part of a larger series of events that highlights the role Yonkers played in helping to develop the culture and music of hip hop. You can apply for a new card here, or stop by any of our three locations to exchange your current card for a new one.

On Thursday, October 26 at 5:30 p.m., Maxx Moses will be part of a panel with hip hop legends, including Ruff Ryder Founder Joaquin “Waah” Dean, Yonkers hip hop artist Large Amount, and Jerome “RawRome” Enders, author of Yonkers: The Lost City of Hip Hop to discuss the history of hip hop, how it evolved throughout the years and where the music will be going in the future. 

Before the event, YPL asked Maxx Moses some questions on Yonkers, his artwork and his major influences. Below are his answers.   

You have artwork displayed around the world but you were raised right here in Yonkers. Tell us about your time here, and how it impacted your life and art.
Growing up in Yonkers was the best childhood ever. We were raised at 80 Riverdale Ave., once called Philipse Towers. Our family was straight up blue collar, but where we lived made us somewhat bougie. We had our own swimming pool and playground that was strictly for residents only. Our family was from the Bronx and Harlem so I learned at an early age how to ride the subways. It was the 60’s and 70’s and Hip Hop was just being birthed. Lester Love and DJ Easy E. would rock Cerrato Park all the time. It was our generation that created the B-Boy Stance. Everything was raw. It was a very uncomfortable and exciting time to be alive. Life felt like a playground to me, there was so much to discover and so much mischief to get into. We were fearless and reckless and loved every minute of it. I still have this mentality today. These experiences imprinted upon my being the idea that nothing is set. Everything changes, and as long as you are in the flow with the change, you win.  

Graffiti (along with DJing, MCing, and breakdancing) is one of the four elements of hip hop. How did you get into graffiti? How have other artforms and elements of hip hop influenced your work?
I got into graffiti from simply riding the trains with my mom, Marion Hopkins. She loved art and theater, and was always taking us into the city to see an Off Broadway play. But it was that train ride that really blew my mind. All those names written on the inside of the trains. All I could do is wonder: “How was it done?”,  “Who did it?”, and “How could I be down?” I went home and practiced on paper, then I hit the streets to learn about this mysterious culture called Writing. I always loved to dance and watching it really is the most inspiring thing for me to digest. In fact, I wrote a play for dance theater in 2009 called “Graffiti Life, the Color of my Sole.” 

It's safe to say there's never been a library card like this one! Can you tell us about your artwork for the library card and how it represents 50 years of hip hop to you?
The artwork is a combination of photography and digital illustration. My artwork is often referred to as Afrofuturism, but that is nothing I attempt to do. It's natural for me. As an artist, I’m always desiring to create imagery that shows Black Culture thriving in the future while staying connected to art, science and nature, with style. This design for the library celebrates the Next 50 years of Hip Hop, with an energy that’s rooted in a culture Boombastic by nature and guided by the divine mind. 

You're not only a graffiti artist and muralist, but also an educator. Is there a message or lesson you'd like to share with the youth in Yonkers?
The lesson is always Limitlessness. Let no one narrate the story of your life. You are the Soul Author of your destiny. So program your thoughts and emotions to benefit your journey.

The special edition card is titled The Sound of Light and features imagery that is both futuristic yet grounded in the soulful roots in which hip-hop was founded upon. The patterns in the background and on the clothing are all derived from graffiti. 

All Yonkers residents can request the special edition card when they apply for one at YPL.org while supplies last. All current cardholders can trade in their current card for a new card by visiting any of YPL’s three locations.

 

Event Details: 

Yonkers The Lost City of Hip Hop
Date: Thurs., Oct. 26, 2023 
Time: 5:30-7:30 pm
Location: Riverfront Library, 1 Larkin Center, Yonkers, NY 10701

Special guests:

  • Large Amount, Yonkers hip hop artist
  • Dr. Robert Baskerville, Professor of Sociology at City University of New York and Bronx Community College
  • Joaquin “Waah” Dean, Founder/CEO of Ruff Ryders 
  • DJ Beat Master Gene
  • Maxx Moses
  • Yonkers Mayor Mike Spano