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The Geoff Ward Collection

The Hiphop Archive is proud to present our extensive “Geoff Ward Collection.” Comprised of a large donation of hiphop-related periodicals and VHS cassette tapes, the collection provides a valuable historical account of hiphop culture from a popular perspective. Additionally, they give any student or researcher a glimpse of the issues and concerns surrounding the hiphop community throughout various periods of its development. 

The collection features an extensive range of magazine titles, ranging from mainstream publications like Vibe and Source to lesser-known magazines such as 4080, F.E.D.S, and The Rap Pages. The Source magazine is the most comprehensive title in the collection with copies ranging from 1993 to 2003. A decade packed with fascinating and immensely important landmarks in the history of Hiphop, articles about the contentious “East Coast/West Coast” discussion (interviews with Ice Cube and Suge Knight), the first appearance and subsequent rise of contemporary artists (Nas, Mos Def, and Eminem), the contributions of hiphop’s fallen stars (Notorious B.I.G, Tupac, and Big Pun), and many more can be found.
In addition to these periodicals there are thirty VHS tapes that feature popular music video programming, BET and CNN news clips, and educational programs that aired between 1993 and 2001.

The collection also contains numerous Rap City (BET) episodes from 1995 through 1996.  Each Rap City tape features one episode from a particular month.  These 2-6 hour videos are filled with hit songs from an era that now often referred to as “old school.”  These Rap City episodes are not just music videos; they feature guest appearances, newsbreaks, and hiphop-related feature segments throughout the show that all allow a glimpse into exactly what point of hiphop history you are watching. The guests appearing on Rap City were usually there to promote a newly released album or an upcoming tour.  If you are lucky you might even catch a freestyle.

Twenty-five VHS tapes from the Geoff Ward Collection have been converted to DVD for public viewing.  The remaining tapes are available in their original VHS format.
If you would like to view any of these materials, please contact the Hiphop Archive program coordinator, Alvin Carter, at abcarter@fas.harvard.edu.

About Geoff Ward
Geoff Ward is from Los Angeles, CA and is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. He studied sociology at Hampton University (BA, 1994) and the University of Michigan (PhD, 2001), and has been on the faculty of Northeastern University, a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Vera Institute of Justice, and a visiting scholar in African-American Studies at Columbia University.  His research and teaching focus on the racialization of criminal social control. In 2006, he received a W.E.B. DuBois Fellowship from the National Institute of Justice to study federal court workforce racial diversity and its relevance to racial disparity in federal sentencing. His research appears in various journals and anthologies, and he has recently completed a book on the rise and fall of Jim Crow juvenile justice entitled The Black Child-Savers: Racial Democracy in American Juvenile Justice (University of Chicago Press). His juvenile justice research stems in part from long-standing interests in hip-hop culture, politics and community. He has helped organize numerous hip-hop initiatives, including “hiphop studies collectives” at the University of Michigan and Northeastern University, the National Hiphop Political Convention, and an experimental literacy workshop using hiphop cultural artifacts, at McClymonds High School in Oakland, California. He remains passionate about preserving the material culture of hiphop, and using these resources in the development and empowerment of youth and their communities.  


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