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Saturday, April 16, 2016

Dj Kool Herc - The Father of Hip Hop

A special Happy Born Day salute to Mr. Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc, who turns 61 today. Herc is credited as being the father of hip hop music, and by extension, culture. While DJing parties in the Bronx in the early '70s (beginning with his first gig in the rec room at the apartment complex where he lived; the now historical 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, recognized as the birthplace of hip hop), Herc originated the style of isolating the instrumental breaks of his favorite funk and disco records and prolonging them by switching back and forth on two turntables. The breaks were the portion of the record that got everybody on the dance floor, and this was where breakdancing (or "b-boying") came about. In addition to all the b-boys and b-girls, Herc was accompanied by his crew the Herculoids (including Coke La Rock, who would shout out improvised rhyming phrases to the audience to get them hyped up; with this, La Rock is credited as being the first hip hop emcee). Throughout the rest of the '70s and into the '80s, Herc's innovative style of playing records influenced Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa and countless other DJs who cultivated hip hop in its early years. And the rest is history. With that said, Herc has kept a low profile and remained humble through the years, never seeking (or receiving, for that matter) payment or royalties of any kind for his innovation, which has since evolved into a multifaceted culture and business with worldwide appeal and influence (though not without being abused and exploited; a trait of virtually every culture in existence). Respect the architect, y'all....