Femi Lewis is a writer and educator who specializes in African American history topics, including enslavement, activism, and the Harlem Renaissance.
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Hip Hop cultureoriginated in the Bronx during the 1970s.
DJ Kool Herc is credited with throwing the first hip hop party in 1973 in the Bronx. This is considered the birth of hip hop culture.
But who followed in DJ Kool Herc"s footsteps?
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When Afrika Bambaataa decided to become a contributor to hip hop culture, he drew from two inspiration sources: the Black liberation movement and the sounds of DJ Kool Herc.
In the late 1970s, Afrika Bambaataa began hosting parties as a way to get teenagers off the streets and end gang violence. He established the Universal Zulu Nation, a group of dancers, artists, and fellow DJs. By the 1980s, the Universal Zulu Nation was performing and Afrika Bambaataa was recording music. Most notably, he released records with electronic sounds.
He is known as “The Godfather” and “Amen Ra of Hip Hop Kulture.”
Born Kevin Donovan on April 17, 1957, in the Bronx. He currently continues to DJ and works as an activist.
Grandmaster Flash was born Joseph Saddler on January 1, 1958, in Barbados. He moved to New York City as a child and he became interested in music after leafing through his father’s extensive record collection.
Inspired by the DJing style of DJ Kool Herc, Grandmaster Flash took Herc’s style one step further and invented three distinct DJing techniques known as the backspin, punch phrasing, and scratching.
In addition to his work as a DJ, Grandmaster Flash organized a group called Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five in the late 1970s. By 1979, the group had a recording deal with Sugar Hill Records.
Their biggest hit was recorded in 1982. Known as “The Message,” it was a harrowing narrative of inner-city life. Music critic Vince Aletti argued in a review that the song was “a slow chant seething with desperation and fury.”
Considered a hip hop classic, “The Message” became the first hip hop recording to be chosen by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.
Although the group disbanded soon after, Grandmaster Flash continued to work as a DJ.
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In 2007, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five became the first hip hop acts to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.