Aug. 11, 1973, is considered the birth of hip-hop. On this day, DJ Kool Herc threw a “Back-to-School Jam” at his apartment building, located at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. in the Bronx. Herc set the atmosphere from behind two turntables, mixing songs, when his friend took the microphone and started to rhyme over the records.

That changed the game.

Fast-forward to today, hip-hop has grown into a global powerhouse. In 2017, it surpassed rock as the most popular music genre in the U.S., according to a Nielsen Music report. Now, as the genre turns 50, hip-hop legends, fans and more are helping to mark the musical milestone. Here’s why.

Hip-hop is everywhere

“To look for hip-hop on the charts these days — to look for it in film, in fashion, in visual art — is to find it virtually everywhere. The most important Black-pioneered art form of our time, hip-hop began as — and to some degree remains — a product of the street, accessible to anyone, even as it’s grown into a global industry that now generates billions.” — Los Angeles Times

Not everyone thought it was built to last

“‘Considering when we got involved with it, it was supposed to be a fad,’ [Ice-T], the rapper, 65, says with a laugh. ‘It’s a huge milestone. They said hip-hop wouldn’t last, but we knew it was a culture, just like the rock era. It was a moment in time when new music was born. Now, I say hip-hop has gray hair. When you meet somebody that says, ‘I grew up on rap,’ they could be in their 60s, they could be in their 70s. You can meet a lady looking like my grandma, and she says, ‘I used to break dance.'” — People

There are hits, and deep cuts

”Rapper’s Delight’ will always be considered the song that introduced hip-hop to the masses. The Sugarhill Gang classic with its tongue-twisting opening — ‘I said a-hip, hop, the hippie, the hippie to the hip hip hop-a you don’t stop the rock’ — and heartbeat bass line was a novelty in 1979 and deserves its standing as one of the most sampled and revered in the then-burgeoning genre. Since then, hip-hop has spawned a mass of subgenres — gangsta rap, crunk and trap among them.” — USA Today

It’s origins have been documented on the big screen

“Wild Style isn’t a documentary. It does have a loose plot, following Bronx teen and celebrated yet anonymous graffiti artist Raymond, aka Zoro (real-life celebrated graffiti artist Quiñones), around the city as he deals with rival artists, mixes it up a rap jam and meets a journalist (Patti Astor) who introduces him to the downtown art world. The story is a microcosm of hip-hop, traveling from the predominantly Black and Latino high school gymnasiums and block parties of the South Bronx to the hip, largely white galleries of the Lower East Side before it ultimately became commercialized. [Filmmaker Charlie] Ahearn filmed it like a hybrid narrative-documentary. The parties, the clubs, the battles, they were real. And there was no script.” — Yahoo Entertainment