18 photos of iconic hip hop stars when they were young

Harrison Jacobs

The culture of hip-hop began in New York City in the 1970s. Encompassing rap, deejaying, "b-boying" or breakdancing, and graffiti art, hip-hop has become a hugely influential art form.

The Museum of the City of New York is celebrating New York City's central place in that history in its current exhibit "Hip-Hop Revolution," featuring more than 80 photographs of 1970s and '80s hip-hop by photographers Janette Beckman, Joe Conzo, and Martha Cooper.

The Museum has shared a number of the photos with us here, and you can check out more by visiting their website or heading to the museum.

DJ Tony Tone, left, was a founding member of the Cold Crush Brothers, a Bronx hip-hop group that formed in 1979. DJ Kool Herc, right, is often credited as the starting point of hip-hop. Herc pioneered the use of hard funk and Latin percussion records in deejaying, which formed the basis of hip-hop.

DJ Charlie Chase was a founding member of the Cold Crush Brothers. He is credited with making Latinos a force in the Bronx hip-hop scene. Here he is performing at Norman Thomas High School in Manhattan.

Almighty Kay Gee began as a break-dancer before joining the Cold Crush Brothers in 1979. This is Kay Gee performing with the group at Harlem World.

Jerry Dee Lewis, or JDL, was also a member of the Cold Crush Brothers.

JDL, right, and Grandmaster Caz, another member of the Cold Crush Brothers, perform at Club Negril. Grandmaster Caz now hosts Hush Hip-Hop Tours in New York City.

Charlie Ahearn, second from left, is an American film director who rose to prominence documenting hip-hop culture in New York City in the '70s. This is Ahearn shooting Wild Style, a 1983 film about hip-hop at the time.

Chuck D. helped form the politically and socially conscious rap group Public Enemy. He's one of the most influential MCs.

Before his years on VH1 reality shows, Flavor Flav became famous as a member of Public Enemy. He's known for popularizing the role of the hype man, whose job is to excite the crowd with call-and-responses.

Eric B & Rakim have been called "the most influential DJ/MC combo in contemporary pop music, period," by Tom Terrell of NPR. They hail from Queens and Long Island, New York, respectively.

LL Cool J started out in 1984 recording for Def Jam Records. His deejay at the time was Cut Creator, seen on LLCool J's right. The other two are E-Love and B-Rock.

Queen Latifah made her name as one of hip-hop's premier female emcees, rapping about issues like domestic violence, harassment, and relationships.

Salt-N-Pepa is a hip-hop trio from Queens. They were one of the first all-female rap groups.

EPMD is one of the longest-running groups in hip-hop, staying active for the majority of their 29 years of existence. Made up of Erick Sermon and Parrish Smith, the group hails from Brentwood, New York.

Rammellzee, left, was a visual artist, graffiti writer, and hip-hop musician. He was one of the original hip-hop artists in the early 1980s. Fab 5 Freddy was a graffiti artist and musician who became well known as the first host of Yo! MTV Raps. Rammellzee died in 2010.

Afrika Bambaata is a deejay from the South Bronx. He is known as the Godfather of hip-hop and electro-funk. He also formed the hip-hop awareness group the Universal Zulu Nation.

Big Daddy Kane began his career as a member of the Juice Crew. Rolling Stone called him "a master wordsmith of rap's late-golden age and a huge influence on a generation of MCs."

KRS-One, left, and Scott La Rock both began as members of Boogie Down Productions. After the release of their first album, Scott La Rock was killed. KRS-One continued the group.

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