Sample This! The Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache"
Sample This! The Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache"
With the recent recognition of August 11th 1973 as the official birth date of hip-hop music and culture when DJ Kool Herc threw a party for his sister in a Bronx building rec center in August of '73 that would spark an unstoppable global movement, hip-hop scholars, fans, and DJs have all been celebrating the landmark anniversary in their own ways. UK based DMC DJ champion turntablist DJ Woody, who uses both audio and video in his live sets, has come up with his own full performance that traces the four decade history of his beloved genre. Above is a trailer of DJ Woody's Hip Hop is 40 audio/visual mix that is a nice sequel to his last major mix Big Phat 90's that was presented here with an interview with Woody on the Amoeblog a year ago. Since Woody, who you can follow on Twitter and Facebook, only offers an abbreviated teaser of his full length mix in the clip above for this Hip-Hop History Tuesdays Amoeblog I have compiled a select mix of six key hip-hop videos that span the years 1977 to 1999 in the ever evolving and shifting genre's illustrious life.
With advances in technology - plus wide access to it - being a lot more advanced in the second, third, and fourth decades of hip-hop's timeline there are a lot more videos and film footage of hip-hop from the early 1980's onwards than in its first decade. For example tragically there is absolutely no film or video footage (or even photos) of the fateful day back in August 1973 that Kool Herc kick started hip-hop. The first video below is of New York in 1977 - a time when the city was in total economic ruin - and when hip-hop was slowly growing and expanding from beyond the Bronx. The clip is part of a VH1 retrospective on NYC and hip-hop. The other selected video clips include Kurtis Blow on SoulTrain in 1980 performing his hit of that year "The Breaks," the music video for Afrika Bambaataa's classic 1983 single "Looking for the Perfect Beat," andEric B. & Rakim's "Paid In Full" single from 1987 when (even only four years later than Bam's "Perfect Beat" electro fueled record) the genre had totally shifted in style and presentation with a different emphasis on lyrical presentation, and beat-wise much slower BPMs. The other two clips I selected are both from the 90's when hip-hop had subtly shifted a bit more. They are Gang Starr's "DWYCK" featuring Nice & Smooth and Dead Prez's "Hip-Hop" - both hip-hop songs that I believe are truly timeless and will always sound amazing.
On Saturday, August 10th, New York City (the city that gave birth to hip-hop culture on August of 1973 thanks to founding father DJ Kool Herc with the help of his sister Cindy Campbell in the Rec Room at 1520 Sedgwick Ave. South Bronx) held a big tribute concert at Summerstage in Central Park with DJ Kool Herc and a host of other icons from the genre all participating in what was a most uplifting musical celebration of the global culture of hip-hop. The following day -Sunday, August 11th - was the actual 40th birthday so Kool Herc continued the party over in Long Island City, Queens at graffiti mecca 5Pointz (I will report on that party in coming days here on the Amoeblog).
Saturday's event was the big official party/concert marking this momentous anniversary; it oozed love and respect for the genre and culture that was for so long dismissed by many as "just a fad." Of course, as we all know, hip-hop in its four core elements (DJing, MCing, B-boying, and graffiti/writing) has grown to become a universal language and a globally influential culture. To drive home this point on Saturday in Central Park, a display of flags from various countries round the globe adorned Kool Herc's onstage turntable set up. So did a big mounted poster of James Brown.
Rapido - The History Of Hip Hop Part 1
Today, August 10th 2013, the 40th birthday of hip-hop - the culture born in the Boogie Down Bronx four full decades ago by Jamaican born, Bronx raised (from age 12 on) DJ Kool Herc - is being celebrated in New York City. (Note however that, according to Kool Herc the officially recognized founding father of hip-hop, that August 11th is the actual date that it all began but all summer in NYC including at 5Pointz hip-hop is enjoying a 40th birthday celebration with weekly events including one tomorrow - the actual birthday, August 11th).
But today is the big hip-hop birthday bash when Kool Herc and many other icons will be celebrating this momentous occasion in a concert starting in about an hour here in NYC at Central Park's Summerstage.(near 72nd Street). Other hip-hop icons on the bill will include Grand Wizzard Theodore, Kool DJ Red Alert, Marley Marl, Rakim, Big Daddy Kane, DJ Premier, Roxanne Shante, and more. I am heading up there now and (provided I get into this sure to be well attended free show) will report on it here in the Amoeblog in the coming days. More concert info, that runs till 7pm EST, in flyer left or online here.
Meantime above and below are a series of "History Of Hip-Hop" video clips that honor the culture comprised of DJing, MCing, B-boying, and graffiti/writing that so many people, myself included, love with all our collective hip-hop hearts. Interestingly they were all made by non American producers - indeed like with jazz and blues before it hip-hop as an incredibly important culture gets the least respect in its homeland. Hip-Hop Central Park Summerstage.
Considering hip-hop got its start during the 1970's in block parties and in various parks in the Bronx, it is more than fitting that the man credited with creating the genre, Jamaican transplant DJ Kool Herc, will be headlining this evening's free concert in Crotona Park in the Bronx. During the 70's and 80's many pioneering hip-hop figures performed at informal hip-hop jams and several scenes for the seminal hip-hop film Wild Style were filmed back at the park in the day. Tonight's show in the "Boogie Down" Bronx park is just one countless (mostly free) outdoor concerts in the wonderful SummerStage concert series produced by New York's City Parks Foundation. Each year in June, July, & August the foundation stages an impressive 100+ musically diverse concerts plus theater and dance performances in various parks in NYC's five boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island. Many days there are two or three events happening simultaneously in different parks & boroughs, so it is impossible to catch everything, but there are still oodles to choose from. This summer shows include acts such as The Specials, Public Enemy, EPMD, The Metropolitan Opera, Gil Scott Heron, The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Jimmy Cliff, Pharoahe Monch, Doug E Fresh, and the two-day Charlie Parker Jazz Festival featuring such acts as James Moody, Jimmy Scott, and McCoy Tyner.
A few days ago I talked with DJ Kool Herc, who said that it is "a nice feeling" to be DJ'ing in Crotona Park in the Bronx again all these years later. And as for the music he will be spinning? "I'm playing music to reminisce [about] then and now, extremely then and extremely now." Herc emigrated to America from Jamaica and took the Jamaican sound system style of DJing with him to the Bronx, where essentially created hip-hop itself by being the first DJ to isolate the "breaks" parts of records and play two versions back to back to extend these "breaks." Of this pioneering act he says, "I'm like a shepherd. I'm watching my flock. I'm watching my audience, and I like to dance and I would notice that people who liked to dance would wait for particular parts of the record to come up and play before they would start to dance and I am always observing. So one day I thought I would put all these parts, these breaks, that I have together and I am going to call it the merry go round. All the good parts -- get right to the yolk and everybody just ran with it."