British photographer Normsky celebrates 50 years of hip hop

LONDON, Aug 23 (Reuters) – British photographer Normsky says he captured some of hip-hop’s greatest hits as he celebrated its 50th anniversary.

Born to a Jamaican family in northwest London in 1966, Normsky was seven years older than hip hop, which originated from a party in the Bronx, New York on August 11, 1973.

He says the power of music cannot be summed up in a few words, but it has shaped his identity and has done the same for billions of people around the world.

„To me, hip hop is a voice for the voiceless. It’s a way for the world to find out about people who don’t get a fair ride in life,” he said.

Along with its dancing, rapping and deejaying, hip-hop has become part of mainstream global culture, and Normski now says: „The biggest global genre we’ve had in our lifetime, I believe”.

To mark the anniversary, a book of Normski’s photographs and anecdotes, „Normski: Man with the Golden Shutter”, will be released on September 18 in association with Britain’s Museum of Youth Culture.

He described himself as „a little innocent black boy with a camera” whose approach should be as spontaneous as hip hop music.

„Getting the camera ready, taking the shot anyway, thinking about things later. That’s how I’ve always worked,” he said.

Among his captures were New York-based rappers Public Enemy, whose 1988 album „It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back” is considered the genre’s most influential.

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Normsky, who photographed Public Enemy on stage in Manchester, northern England in 1990, described the group as anarchist, known for delivering a strong political message.

„They came out with a message to fight power,” he said.

Report by Sarah Mills; Editing by Barbara Lewis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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