Hip Hop Turns 47

August 11, 2020 - 03:17 PM - 399 views

When Kool Herc left Jamaica for the United States, he likely had no idea the profound impact he would have on the entire world. Settling in the Bronx, Herc brought “toasting” with him (the Jamaican form of rapping) and the penchant for loud, booming sound systems often found in Jamaican dance halls.

On August 11, 1973 (exactly 47 years ago), Herc and his sister Cindy Campbell hosted a “Back To School Jam” at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue where he put his vinyl collection to use and ultimately helped usher in a whole new era — Hip Hop.

Credited as one of Hip Hop’s founders, Herc learned to isolate the “break” (or drum beat) on a record and switch from one break to another using two turntables, effectively crafting the blueprint for Hip Hop music.

From there, fellow DJs such as Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash continued to push the movement forward until Hip Hop ultimately became the global phenomenon it is today.

In an effort to help Hip Hop fans around the world celebrate Hip Hop’s 47th birthday, HipHopDX has laid out five ways to pay tribute to the vibrant culture that has given so much to so many.

DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic: Volume II f. Chuck D, LL Cool J, Rakim & More

Doug E. Fresh’s “The Show,” LL Cool J’s “Radio” and Public Enemy’s “Rebel Without A Pause” are just a sliver of performances featured on DJ Cassidy’s Pass The Mic: Volume Two YouTube event.

The roughly 37-minute set brings together a roster of pioneering Hip Hop artists who rap along to some of their most iconic hits. Other special guests include Rakim, MC Shan, MC Serch, MC Lyte, Salt-n-Pepa, Big Daddy Kane and Smooth B.

Netflix’s Hip Hop Evolution 

There are several films every Hip Hop fan should be required to watch before even considering themselves a full-fledged connoisseur — Wild Style (1982), Krush Groove (1985) and Beat Street (1984) are just a few that come to mind. But in terms of newer documentaries, the Netflix series Hip Hop Evolution should also be added to the list.

Originally premiered on HBO Canada in 2016, the first season dove into Hip Hop’s meager beginnings. Hosted by Juno Award-winning artist Shad, the series featured interviews with Kool Herc, Coke La Rock, Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five, Fab Five Freddy, Marley Marl, Afrika Bambaataa, Kool Moe Dee, Kurtis Blow, Doug E. Fresh, Whodini, Warp 9, DJ Hollywood, Spoonie Gee, The Sugarhill Gang and Russell Simmons.

In subsequent seasons, the show also explored the origins of gangsta rap, the Bad Boy Records era, Los Angeles underground Hip Hop and more. Hip Hop Evolution is now in its fourth season, which debuted in January.

Questlove Presents: “Happy 47th Birthday Hip Hop Break Beat Edition”

To celebrate Hip Hop’s birthday, The Roots’ drummer Questlove whipped up a special edition of his virtual DJ show called “Questlove Presents Happy 47th Birthday Hip Hop Break Beat Edition” where he promises to deliver “a billion breaks.”

From DeRobert & The Half Truths and the late Bill Withers to New York Mary and Eric Burden & War, Quest pulls out several of the building blocks of Hip Hop music for a well-rounded education on all things soul, funk and jazz.

GrandWizzard Theodore Vs. DJ Jazzy Jeff Battle

BronxNet TV has partnered with The Hip Hop Film Festival, Windows of Hip Hop, Inc. and Bronx Edulution for a special battle hosted by Grandmaster Melle Mel. 

According to the Instagram caption, the event consists of “an epic DJ Battle featuring GrandWizzard Theodore and DJ Jazzy Jay at BronxNet at the HUB in the birthplace of Hip Hop at celebrating the Anniversary with artists representing all of the elements from the Bronx to the World on BronxNet TV.”

It all goes down on Tuesday (August 11) at 8 p.m. EST.

Music History Today Podcast

The Music History Today podcast has a special edition planned for Hip Hop’s birthday. According to a Twitter post, the show breaks down how Herc’s “Back To School Jam” led to the birth of Hip Hop culture, providing a comprehensive overview of its origins.

The show is currently up on SoundCloud. Find the link here.

by Kyle Eustice
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images


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