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'Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop' Exhibition Opens October 16 at MoPOP

'Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop' Exhibition at MoPOP in Seattle

A single image can define a moment, creating an instant icon. Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop opens October 16, 2021 at the Museum of Pop Culture.


They say a picture’s worth 1,000 words, and that’s especially true of one of music’s most language-conscious genres: hip-hop. Contact High explores four decades of photography, from the late 1970s to today, documenting a revolution not just in music, but in politics, race relations, fashion, and culture. Through more than 170 iconic images of hip-hop's most influential artists (Missy Elliott, Jay-Z, Queen Latifah, Tupac, and more) — including contact sheets that give us a rare glimpse into the creative process of a photo session — Contact High examines the evolution of hip-hop, connecting us with the experiences, identities, and places that have shaped the world’s most popular music genre.

Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop

Contact High Exhibition Details:

  • See how artists like The Notorious B.I.G, Aaliyah, Wu-Tang Clan, Sir Mix-A-Lot, and so many more defined themselves to the public. 
  • Explore hip-hop throughout the United States, including the regional cultures that flourished in different parts of the U.S.
  • In addition to photographs, experience artifacts from MoPOP’s permanent collection such as early rap battle fliers, Tupac Shakur manuscripts, Flavor magazines, and costumes from Sha-Rock, The Notorious B.I.G., and MF DOOM add to our understanding of hip-hop culture. 

Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop

Want To Be One Of The First To See Contact High?

Become a MoPOP member today and get exclusive access to see Contact High on Member Preview Day, October 15, 2021 before it’s open to the public on October 16.

Other exciting benefits of membership:

  • Come back and see Contact High and your other favorite exhibitions again and again for free for the entire year of your membership 
  • Early access to tickets for opening weekend 
  • Join a community of passionate pop culture fans  
  • Support the important work MoPOP does in our community and more! 

To ready yourself for an intimate glimpse into hip-hop's history, check out this playlist curated by Contact High’s creative director, hip-hop pioneer, and the original host of Yo! MTV Raps, Fab 5 Freddy.


Exhibition made possible by the Annenberg Space for Photography + International Center of Photography. Curator Vikki Tobak, Creative Director Fab 5 Freddy. Based on the Book CONTACT HIGH: A Visual History of Hip-Hop by Vikki Tobak. 


Learn more about 'Contact High: A Visual History of Hip-Hop' + for contests, the latest news, and behind-the-scenes content, be sure to follow us on YouTubeFacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

If you like what you see, support our work by making a donation or planning a visit to MoPOP today!

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The Museum of Pop Culture’s mission is to make creative expression a life-changing force by offering experiences that inspire and connect our communities.

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