Hip-Hop Hacks

The Mixtape Museum exists because of my desire to preserve rare DJ analog recordings, by digitizing and organizing them in a database. Realizing this couldn’t be done without modern technology, I decided to learned SQL, the programming language for relational database management systems. I became so immersed in coding that it turned into a paid gig and I began to dedicate time mentoring high school students through an organization called All Star Code (ASC). ASC is a non-profit initiative that is dedicated to closing the opportunity gap between young men of color and the tech indusrty. They provide students with mentorship, industry exposure, and intensive training in computer science.

In October 2015, I was volunteering at a hackathon (1), hosted by All Star Code and Young Hackers, when the students broke into a cipher. Some had prepared lyrics right before, others spit off the top of their heads, both students and mentors participated. No, I did not! I filmed it, watched it over lunch and began day dreaming about what a hip-hip hackathon would look like.

Later that evening I got an email from Esther, fellow hip-hop head and girl who codes, and member of the Young Hackers. We bonded during the day over a game of Coup and 90’s hip-hop. I pitched her #HipHopHack, she pitched it to the Young Hackers, they loved it, and the rest is history!

Hip-Hop Hacks happened on April 2 and 3 at the Spotify offices in Chelsea. We teamed up with Adam November and Jonathon Marmor of  Monthy Music Hackathon. The event was a success, bringing in over 600 people throughout the weekend.

Talks were delivered by:

Tony Prendatt Carter – Producer & Sound Engineer (Eminem, Dr. Dre, The Notorious BIG and more.)
Matt Daniels – Creator of Polygraph and The Largest Vocabulary in Hip-Hop
Martha Diaz – Founder of the Hip-Hop Education Center
Michael Wiggins – Director of Education for the Urban Arts Partnership
Keegan Carter and Davon Robinson– Founders of MOOR Games

Hip-Hop/Music and Code/Tech workshops offered:

The Genesis Of Hip-Hop To Now with Martha Diaz, The Hip-Hop Education Center

Cache Rules Everything Around Me: Hip-Hop Journalism In The Information Age by Manny Faces, Founder, The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy

How To DJ with DJ Neil Armstrong and Hercules/Thrustmaster

DJ 101 with DJ Zay and DJ Zander

Lyricism/Songwriting by Oxymorrons

Protecting Your Work: Patents, Trademarks, And Copyrights by Lindsay Rodman, Associate, Cowan Liebowitzm & Latman and Serge Krimnus, Patent Attorney, Mauriel Kapouytian Woods, LLP; Adjunct Professor, Brooklyn Law School

Build A Personal Website In Html & CSS by Saeed

Hacking In Arduino by Adam November, Monthly Music Hackathon

Intro To Javascript & Twilio: Creating A Website That Calls And Texts Your Phone by Mamadou & Surendra, Young Hackers

Cross Platform Development With Intel Xdk: Ios and Android Apps with Vince Randolph

Intro To Object Oriented Programming & Swift: Gotta Code’em All with Make School

  1. What is a hackathon? A hackathon is a gathering of brilliant, creative people with kick-ass entrepreneurial spirit building apps and websites together. The process looks like: network, brainstorm, eat, create, oops, try again, repeat, until there is a complete idea or project to present. Sound fun? A little geeky? It is!
    Back to text.

Hip-Hop Hacks Press Release

Young Hackers and The Mixtape Museum Host Hip-Hop Hacks on Saturday, April 2nd and Sunday, April 3rd at Spotify in NY

Young Hackers and The Mixtape Museum team up to host Hip-Hop Hacks, a two-day hackathon for high school students to explore technology’s role in hip-hop and how the genre inspires technological innovation.

New York, NY, March 15, 2016 – Teen programmer incubator Young Hackers and hip-hop archival initiative The Mixtape Museum in partnership with Monthly Music Hackathon have joined forces to host a free, hip-hop themed hackathon titled Hip-Hop Hacks. The 2-day event will take place at Spotify’s New York City office where high school students will study the elements of hip-hop, participate in code and music workshops, network with other students, and learn from music and tech executives.

Exploring how technology has immersed itself in the hip-hop and music community, the goal of Hip-Hop Hacks is to showcase how important technology and hip-hop are to one another. Since its inception in the early 1970s, hip-hop culture has been one of the most important forms of expression for youth.

The drive, the motivation and the processes are similar to the path of a tech start-up or entrepreneur. The culture has been on the forefront of new technology, from the turntable and the microphone to music distribution mediums such as vinyl, compact cassettes, mp3s and now applications and algorithms.

“We want to encourage youth to create technological innovations that will impact the future of music,” says Regan Sommer McCoy, Founder, The Mixtape Museum. “For many students, Hip-Hop Hacks will be an entry point to a career path in tech that they never imagined was possible.”

Sommer met Young Hacker founders Austin Carvey and Mamadou Diallo as a mentor at a Young Hacker event. The idea came to her when students started to freestyle about code. “I asked one of the students what they thought of the idea to partner up with the Mixtape Museum. And here we are,” she says.

Austin and Mamadou, 17, met during All Star Code’s 2014 Summer Intensive, a program that prepares young men of color for full-time employment in the technology industry. After attending Monthly Music Hackathon at Spotify, they wanted to plan their own. Having never done so before, it wasn’t until “Juicy” by The Notorious B.I.G. came on during a planning session that their “dream” was realized.

“It’s nice to have a niche,” Mamadou says in his interview with CNN Money. “When I was first introduced to All Star Code, I wasn’t really aware of the lack of diversity in tech. But after visiting many of the big tech firms, you start to realize it. That’s why giving kids like myself access to coding education early is so important.”

“I like coding because of the freedom it provides and I want to help other people see how free the world can be for them,” adds Austin. “Helping others make this realization has been my main motivation in planning hackathons with Young Hackers.”

Company’s supporting Hip-Hop Hacks on April 2nd and April 3rd include The Hip-Hop Education Center, The Center for Hip-Hop Advocacy, Minds Behind the Music, Born in the Bronx,Rhymes Over Beats, Today’s Future Sound, Genius, Microsoft, Ventev, Playster, Beat Making Lab, SESAC, Loop Labs, All Star Code, Maple Syrup & Co., SittinOnMusic, and Wix Music. There will also be a special performance by alternative hip-hop group Oxymorrons.

To register and for more information on Hip-Hop Hacks, please visit:

About Young Hackers

Young Hackers is an organization of high school students that exist to empower the next generation of programmers. Based in New York City, we aim to bring together high school students from diverse backgrounds who are interested in technology and programming. We organize collaborative events where students can learn, connect, and build. For more information please visit www.younghackers.us.

About The Mixtape Museum

The Mixtape Museum (MXM) is an archive project established to collect, preserve, and share knowledge related to mixtape history.

The MXM is devoted to advancing public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, technique, and impact mixtapes have made around the world. While encouraging the research of mixtapes as records of time, place and situation, it will also examine the individuals that have shaped their existence. Through exhibitions, technology, publications, symposia, collaborative projects, and other partnerships, our aim is to create an environment that encourages dialogue between scholars, music professionals, and enthusiasts on the mixtapes various functions in society. For more information please visit www.mixtapemuseum.org.

About Monthly Music Hackathon

At Monthly Music Hackathon NYC, musicians, programmers, artists, scientists, composers, hardware tinkerers, and others spend the last Saturday of each month hacking together projects exploring music. At 8pm we have a concert and presentations of the art, technology, and research developed that day. It’s open to everyone. Please come participate or observe. For more information please visit, www.monthlymusichackathon.org.

Hip-Hop Hacks Contact:
Anastasia Wright
IMG Agency

The Mixtape Museum Featured at the 2014 Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC)

On Thursday, March 20, I will be speaking at the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) in Indianapolis. 

Thursday, 4:45–6:00 p.m. | JW Marriott, Grand Ballroom V, Third Floor

The Mixtape Museum: Preserving Analog in a Digital Era

The Mixtape Museum (MXM) is an archive project dedicated to advancing public understanding and appreciation of the art, history, and technique of the mixtape, as well as the impact mixtapes have made around the world. The MXM encourages research of mixtapes as records of time, place, and situation and of the individuals that have helped to shape their existence.

The introduction of analog recording media, i.e. compact cassettes, made it possible to store and duplicate music, but also to interact with music. The MXM aims to uncover how DJs used this medium to change the landscape of the music industry. Little research has been specifically devoted to the intellectual history of these DJ-produced recordings and their artifactual qualities and many of these analog recordings are deteriorating and must be reformatted to ensure their existence for study and pleasure.

In this session, Sommer, founder of MXM will take the listener through her journey to encourage the use of these recordings to document history and to achieve systematic preservation in the DJ community.

More information on this year’s speakers and sessions are here. Follow conference happenings at #4C14.