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Hip-hop celebrates its birth in the South Bronx 47 years ago today

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Hip-hop celebrates its birth in the South Bronx 47 years ago today

Happy Birthday Hip-Hop!

Back on August 11, 1973, DJ Kool Herc threw a “Back to School Jam” in The Bronx inside the recreation room of 1520 Sedgwick Ave, a 102-unit apartment building in the Morris Heights neighbourhood.

Along with birthing what is now known as “breakbeats,” (or “the get down”) music historians agree that this particular party would be the first time the four elements—graffiti, DJing, breakdancing, and MCing—came together to create hip-hop.

Jamaican-American Kool Herc was best known for the ‘Merry-Go Round,’ a technique involving lengthening / looping the instrumental part of funk records—the break—making for the perfect new sound for breakdancing (and other dance styles at the time).

 
Flyer for the Aug. 11, 1973 DJ Kool Herc party

Flyer for the Aug. 11, 1973 event

Of course, Aug. 11 is not the only date associated with the birth of hip-hop. Afrika Bambaataa once said in an interview with Nardwuar that hip-hop was born on Nov. 12, 1974.

“[Nov. 12] was when we decided to call this whole culture hip-hop. Hip-hop even goes further than that, but we decided to name it hip-hop as a culture, meaning with the b-boys, the b-girls, the MCs, the aerosol writers, graffiti artists and the DJs and that fifth element that holds it all together.”

He would go on to add: “that’s the date that I decided we should name this as a whole culture and start moving from there. November was the time where people used to party inside in the centers or community gymnasiums or many of the inside clubs that we had and where people would come and have an enjoyment time. Everybody got together and got down to the hip-hop music that was being played by all the great pioneers at that time.”

In any event, we’re celebrating today, and we’ll be celebrating again in November!


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