DJ Kool Herc
|Birth name||Clive Campbell|
|Also known as|
|Born|| April 16, 1955 |
|Origin||The Bronx, New York City, New York, U.S.|
Clive Campbell (born April 16, 1955), better known by his stage name DJ Kool Herc, is a Jamaican DJ who is credited for originating hip hop music in the Bronx, New York City, in the 1970s through his "Back to School Jam",hosted on August 11, 1973, at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue. After his younger sister, Cindy Campbell, became inspired to earn extra cash for back-to-school clothes, she decided to have her older brother, then 18 years old, play music for the neighborhood in their apartment building. Known as the "Founder of Hip-Hop" and "Father of Hip-Hop", Campbell began playing hard funk records of the sort typified by James Brown.
Campbell began to isolate the instrumental portion of the record which emphasized the drum beat—the "break"—and switch from one break to another. Using the same two-turntable set-up of disco DJs, he used two copies of the same record to elongate the break. This breakbeat DJing, using funky drum solos, formed the basis of hip hop music. Campbell's announcements and exhortations to dancers helped lead to the syncopated, rhythmically spoken accompaniment now known as rapping.
He called the dancers "break-boys" and "break-girls", or simply b-boys and b-girls. Campbell's DJ style was quickly taken up by figures such as Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash. Unlike them, he never made the move into commercially recorded hip hop in its earliest years.
Clive Campbell was the first of six children born to Keith and Nettie Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica. While growing up, he saw and heard the sound systems of neighborhood parties called dance halls, and the accompanying speech of their DJs, known as toasting. He emigrated with his family at the age of 12 to The Bronx, New York City in November 1967,where they lived at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue.
Campbell attended the Alfred E. Smith Career and Technical Education High School in the Bronx, where his height, frame, and demeanor on the basketball court prompted the other kids to nickname him "Hercules".After being involved in a physical altercation with school bullies, the Five Percenters came to Herc's aid, befriended him and as Herc put it, helped "Americanize" him with an education in New York City street culture. He began running with a graffiti crew called the Ex-Vandals, taking the name Kool Herc. Herc recalls persuading his father to buy him a copy of "Sex Machine" by James Brown, a record that not a lot of his friends had, and which they would come to him to hear. He used the recreation room of their building, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue.
Herc's first sound system consisted of two turntables connected to two amplifiers and a Shure "Vocal Master" PA system with two speaker columns, on which he played records such as James Brown's "Give It Up or Turnit a Loose", Jimmy Castor's "It's Just Begun" and Booker T. & the M.G.'s' "Melting Pot".With Bronx clubs struggling with street gangs, uptown DJs catering to an older disco crowd with different aspirations, and commercial radio also catering to a demographic distinct from teenagers in the Bronx, Herc's parties had a ready-made audience.
DJ Kool Herc developed the style that was the blueprint for hip hop music. Herc used the record to focus on a short, heavily percussive part in it: the "break". Since this part of the record was the one the dancers liked best, Herc isolated the break and prolonged it by changing between two record players. As one record reached the end of the break, he cued a second record back to the beginning of the break, which allowed him to extend a relatively short section of music into "five-minute loop of fury".This innovation had its roots in what Herc called "The Merry-Go-Round," a technique by which the deejay switched from break to break at the height of the party. This technique is specifically called "The Merry-Go-Round" because according to Herc, it takes one "back and forth with no slack."
Herc stated that he first introduced the Merry-Go-Round into his sets in 1972.The earliest known Merry-Go-Round involved playing James Brown's "Give It Up or Turnit a Loose" (with its refrain, "Now clap your hands! Stomp your feet!"), then switching from that record's break into the break from a second record, "Bongo Rock" by The Incredible Bongo Band. From the "Bongo Rock"'s break, Herc used a third record to switch to the break on "The Mexican" by the English rock band Babe Ruth.
Kool Herc also contributed to developing the rhyming style of hip hop by punctuating the recorded music with slang phrases, announcing: "Rock on, my mellow!" "B-boys, b-girls, are you ready? keep on rock steady" "This is the joint! Herc beat on the point" "To the beat, y'all!" "You don't stop!"For his contributions, Herc is called a "founding father of hip hop," a "nascent cultural hero," and an integral part of the beginnings of hip hop by Time .
On August 11, 1973, DJ Kool Herc was a disc jockey and emcee at a party in the recreation room at Sedgwick Avenue.Specifically, DJ Kool Herc:
extended an instrumental beat (breaking or scratching) to let people dance longer (break dancing) and began MC'ing (rapping) during the extended breakdancing. ... [This] helped lay the foundation for a cultural revolution.
According to music journalist Steven Ivory, in 1973, Herc placed on the turntables two copies of Brown's 1970 Sex Machine album and ran "an extended cut 'n' mix of the percussion breakdown" from "Give It Up or Turnit a Loose", signaling the birth of hip hop.
The "b-boys" and "b-girls" were the dancers to Herc's breaks, who were described as "breaking". Herc has noted that "breaking" was also street slang of the time meaning "getting excited", "acting energetically," or "causing a disturbance".Herc coined the terms "b-boy", "b-girl," and "breaking" which became part of the lexicon of what would be eventually called hip hop culture. Early Kool Herc b-boy and later DJ innovator Grandmixer DXT describes the early evolution as follows:
... [E]verybody would form a circle and the B-boys would go into the center. At first the dance was simple: touch your toes, hop, kick out your leg. Then some guy went down, spun around on all fours. Everybody said wow and went home to try to come up with something better.
In the early 1980s, the media began to call this style "breakdance," which in 1991 the New York Times wrote was "an art as demanding and inventive as mainstream dance forms like ballet and jazz."Since this emerging culture was still without a name, participants often identified as "b-boys," a usage that included and went beyond the specific connection to dance, a usage that would persist in hip hop culture.
With the mystique of his graffiti name, his physical stature, and the reputation of his small parties, Herc became a folk hero in the Bronx. He began to play at nearby clubs including the Twilight Zone,Hevalo, Executive Playhouse, the PAL on 183rd Street, as well as at high schools such as Dodge and Taft. Rapping duties were delegated to Coke La Rock and Theodore Puccio. Herc's collective, known as The Herculoids, was augmented by Clark Kent and dancers The Nigga Twins. Herc took his soundsystem (the herculords) —still legendary for its sheer volume —to the streets and parks of the Bronx. Nelson George recalls a schoolyard party:
The sun hadn't gone down yet, and kids were just hanging out, waiting for something to happen. Van pulls up, a bunch of guys come out with a table, crates of records. They unscrew the base of the light pole, take their equipment, attach it to that, get the electricity – Boom! We got a concert right here in the schoolyard and it's this guy Kool Herc. And he's just standing with the turntable, and the guys were studying his hands. There are people dancing, but there's as many people standing, just watching what he's doing. That was my first introduction to in-the-street, hip hop DJing.
In 1975, the young Grandmaster Flash, to whom Kool Herc was, in his words, "a hero", began DJing in Herc's style. By 1976, Flash and his MCs The Furious Five played to a packed Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan. Venue owners were often nervous of unruly young crowds, however, and soon sent hip hop back to the clubs, community centres and high school gymnasiums of the Bronx.
Afrika Bambaataa first heard Kool Herc in 1973. Bambaataa, at that time a general in the notorious Black Spades gang of the Bronx, obtained his own soundsystem in 1975 and began to DJ in Herc's style, converting his followers to the non-violent Zulu Nation in the process. Kool Herc began using The Incredible Bongo Band's "Apache" as a break in 1975. It became a firm b-boy favorite—"the Bronx national anthem"—and is still in use in hip hop today. Steven Hager wrote of this period:
For over five years the Bronx had lived in constant terror of street gangs. Suddenly, in 1975, they disappeared almost as quickly as they had arrived. This happened because something better came along to replace the gangs. That something was eventually called hip-hop.
In 1979, the record company executive Sylvia Robinson assembled a group she called The Sugarhill Gang and recorded "Rapper's Delight". The hit song ushered in the era of commercially released hip hop. By that year's end, Grandmaster Flash was recording for Enjoy Records. In 1980, Afrika Bambaataa began recording for Winley. By this time, DJ Kool Herc's star had faded.
Grandmaster Flash suggests that Herc may not have kept pace with developments in techniques of cueing (lining up a record to play at a certain place on it).Developments changed techniques of cutting (switching from one record to another) and scratching (moving the record by hand to and fro under the stylus for percussive effect) in the late 1970s. Herc said he retreated from the scene after being stabbed at the Executive Playhouse while trying to intercede in a fight, and the burning down of one of his venues. In 1980, Herc had stopped DJing and was working in a record shop in South Bronx.
Kool Herc appeared in Hollywood's motion picture take on hip hop, Beat Street (Orion, 1984), as himself. In the mid-1980s, his father died, and he became addicted to crack cocaine. "I couldn't cope, so I started medicating", he says of this period.
In 1994, Herc performed on Terminator X & the Godfathers of Threatt's album, Super Bad.In 2005, he wrote the foreword to Jeff Chang's book on hip hop, Can't Stop Won't Stop . In 2005 he appeared in the music video of "Top 5 (Dead or Alive)" by Jin from the album The Emcee's Properganda . In 2006, he became involved in getting Hip Hop commemorated at the Smithsonian Institution museums. He participated in the 2007 Dance parade.
Since 2007, Herc has worked on a campaign to prevent 1520 Sedgwick Avenue from being sold to developers and withdrawn from its status as a Mitchell-Lama affordable housing property.In the summer of 2007, New York state officials declared 1520 Sedgwick Avenue the "birthplace of hip-hop", and nominated it to national and state historic registers. The city's Department of Housing Preservation and Development ruled against the proposed sale in February 2008, on the grounds that "the proposed purchase price is inconsistent with the use of property as a Mitchell-Lama affordable housing development". It is the first time they have so ruled in such a case.
According to a DJ Premier fan blog, 's website and other sites, DJ Kool Herc fell gravely ill in early 2011 and was said to lack health insurance. He had surgery for kidney stones, with a stent placed to relieve the pressure. He needed follow-up surgery but St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, the site that performed the previous surgery, has requested that he make a deposit toward the next surgery, because he has missed several follow-up visits. The hospital said it would not turn away uninsured patients in the emergency room. DJ Kool Herc and his family set up an official website on which he describes his medical issue and the larger goal of establishing the DJ Kool Herc Fund to pioneer long-term health care solutions. In April 2013, Campbell recovered from surgery and moved into post-medical care.The Source
In May 2019 Kool Herc released his first vinyl record ever with DJ/Producer Mr. Green. “Last of the Classic Beats” was critically acclaimed.[ citation needed ]
Old-school hip hop is the earliest commercially recorded hip hop music. It typically refers to music created around 1979 to 1983.
The new school of hip hop was a movement in hip hop music starting 1983–84 with the early records of Run–D.M.C. and LL Cool J. Like the hip hop preceding it, it came predominantly from New York City. The new school was initially characterized in form by drum machine led minimalism, often tinged with elements of rock. It was notable for taunts and boasts about rapping, and socio-political commentary, both delivered in an aggressive, self-assertive style. In image as in song its artists projected a tough, cool, street b-boy attitude. These elements contrasted sharply with the funk and disco influenced outfits, novelty hits, live bands, synthesizers and party rhymes of artists prevalent in 1984, and rendered them old school. New school artists made shorter songs that could more easily gain radio play, and more cohesive LPs than their old school counterparts. By 1986 their releases began to establish the hip hop album as a fixture of the mainstream.
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In popular music, a break is an instrumental or percussion section during a song derived from or related to stop-time – being a "break" from the main parts of the song or piece. A break is usually interpolated between sections of a song, to provide a sense of anticipation, signal the start of a new section, or create variety in the arrangement.
Hip hop or hip-hop is a culture and art movement that was created by African Americans, with heavy influence by Afro-Latino Americans and Caribbean Americans in the Bronx, New York City. The origin of the name is often disputed. It is also argued as to whether hip hop started in the South or West Bronx. While the term hip hop is often used to refer exclusively to hip hop music, hip hop is characterized by four key elements: "rapping", a rhythmic vocal rhyming style (orality); DJing, which is making music with record players and DJ mixers ; b-boying/b-girling/breakdancing (movement/dance); and graffiti. Other elements are: hip hop culture and historical knowledge of the movement (intellectual/philosophical); beatboxing, a percussive vocal style; street entrepreneurship; hip hop language; and hip hop fashion and style, among others. The fifth element, although debated, is commonly considered either street knowledge, hip hop fashion, or beatboxing.
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Hip-Hop Evolution is a Canadian music documentary series that originally aired on HBO Canada in 2016. Hosted by Juno Award-winning artist Shad, the series profiles the history of hip-hop music through interviews with many of the genre's leading cultural figures. The series is produced by Darby Wheeler, Rodrigo Bascuñán, Russell Peters, Scot McFadyen, Sam Dunn and Nelson George. It won the 2016 Peabody Award, and the 2017 International Emmy Award for Best Arts Programming.
Anthony G. “Cholly Rock” Horne, is a first generation B-Boy and one of the Original 11 members of the legendary “Zulu Kings” – the predecessor and genesis of The Universal Zulu Nation. Born and raised in The Gun Hill Houses in the Williamsbridge section of The Bronx, Cholly was introduced to B-Boying in 1974 and during this time began going to parties given by the “Father of Hip Hop” the legendary DJ Kool Herc, where he first saw such legendary BBoys as Clark Kent, The “Smith Twins” and James Bond, modernize the art form at venues such as The Hevalo, The Executive Playhouse, and Webster PAL in the Bronx. – The universally acknowledged birthplaces of the Hip Hop culture. It was in the Bronx River Houses in the Soundview section of The Bronx where Cholly Rock made his name and reputation as an “A1 BBoy” being made a member of the Zulu Kings by Afrika Bambaataa in 1976 – The first Zulu King from the Northeast Bronx. Cholly Rock has been a practitioner of several elements of the Hip Hop culture including being an early member of “Soulsonic Force” MCs with legendary DJ Afrika Bambaataa. As an adult, Cholly has pursued his professional career in the field of Public Health and education as a teacher in the New York City School system, a facilitator and health educator for the New York State Department of Health, and trainer for The Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
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