original Hip-hop playlist
Futura, Break piece, 1980, Photograph by Martha Cooper
1520 Sedgwick Avenue to the World
During the summer of 1973, DJ Kool Herc, and his sister Cindy threw a back-to-school party at the Recreation Room at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx. There, Kool Herc spun records and made history.
Playing "loops" and "breaks," DJ Kool Herc laid down funky beats and soon after, Coke La Rock rhymed over them becoming hip-hop's original MC.
The 1970s in New York City were turbulent years. Rival gangs battled over territory and members. Hip-hop emerged as a cultural expression of the times.
Photo by Stephen Salmieri
Renegade of Funk
Inspired by DJ Kool Herc, Africa Baambataa, a DJ and member of the Black Spades gang, began organizing hip-hop parties, helping turn violent street battles into epic dance battles.
With his band Soulsonic Force, Baambataa created Zulu Nation and brought ideas of black liberation to the developing hip-hop scene in the Bronx.
Inspired by DJ Kool Herc, Afrika Baambataa, a DJ and member of the Black Spades gang, helped turn violent street battles between rival gangs to epic dance battles.
Crazy Legs, Soulsonic Force show, 1982 Photograph by Ebet Roberts
Musical Maniac, To Say the Least
Inspired by hip-hop forerunners The Treacherous Three, LL Cool J started rapping at the age of 9. When his grandfather bought LL $2000 worth of equipment, there was no stopping him.
Doing his own mixing, LL sent demos to record labels around New York and was signed by Def Jam Records in 1984. He was just 16 years old.
South Bronx Park Jam, 1984.
Photograph by Henry Chalfant
FURTHER. . .
Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip-Hop Generation by Jeff Chang
That's the Joint!: The Hip Hop Studies Reader edited by Murray Forman and Mark Anthony Neal
Hip-Hop America by Nelson George
Book of Rhymes: The Poetics of Hip Hop by Adam Bradley
The Chronic, Dr. Dre
3 Feet High & Rising, De La Soul
Paid in Full, Eric B & Rakim
Paul's Boutique, Beastie Boys
Fear of a Black Planet, Public Enemy
Straight Outta Compton, N.W.A.
Midnight Marauders, A Tribe Called Quest
All Eyez on Me, 2Pac
Hip-Hop Evolution (2016)
Uprising: Hip-Hop & the L.A. Riots (2012)
Hip-Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes (2006)
Rhyme & Reason (1997)
Style Wars (1983)