Bill Doskoch: Media, BPS*, Film, Minutiae

Curated knowledge, trenchant insights & witty bon mots

Happy 44th birthday, hip hop

Setting up to rock the house in the Bronx: An image of early hip hop.

On Aug. 11, 1973, at a back to school party in the South Bronx of New York City, a young DJ named Kool Herc did something revolutionary for the time: Using two turntables to extend the instrumental breaks so people could dance longer.

This was the Big Bang of hip-hop.

The building in which he and his sister Cindy hosted the gig was 1520 Sedgwick Ave., now recognized by NYC’s Housing Preservation as the Birthplace of Hip Hop.

The form has grown since then.

“From the Bronx to all boroughs, to the White House, to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, to the Barclay Center, to Madison Avenue … (hip hop) has gone global,” wrote Herc on his website to mark the 40th anniversary.

“On this blessed 40th anniversary, we want to thank everyone for believing and being a part of hip hop as we continue to grow into a culture that has connected with all races. We should be proud. Hip hop started as a family. Let us continue to move forward as a family, in a peaceful and loving way.”

This might have been one of the early songs that Herc played. Some call it the national anthem of hip hop. It is Apache, by the Incredible Bongo Band. Give it a play; it’s a joyous, dance-friendly tune (watch for the “break” at 2:22):

The Sugar Hill Gang took that song, remixed by early DJ Grandmaster Flash, and added some vocals to come up with Apache (Jump On It):

If you have an hour to spare, watch the following excellent documentary: From mambo to hip hop: A South Bronx tale, on YouTube:

Finally, for a taste of what it might have been like in those small Bronx clubs in the early days of hip hop, watch this segment from the 1982 film Wild Style, considered to the the first hip hop feature motion picture:


This post was inspired by a Google doodle, posted on Aug. 11, that led to a very cool little 5-min interactive on the origins of hip hop and gave you a pair of turntables to play with and a record crate to search through. More on that in this Vox article.

Here, you can see, but not interact with, the interactive:

Fri, August 11 2017 » Main Page, Minutiae, multimedia, Music Monday et al