History of Hip-hop Part 1 By Dr. Kelly Glow
History of Hip Hop (Part 1 – The Beginning)
Dr. Kelly Glow
Ask any fan of rap music from the hip-hop generation, born between 1968-1980, what is the birthplace of Hip Hop? You will probably hear them say that it started in Bronx, NY in 1973.
The physical address: 1520 Sedgewick Avenue in the Bronx, to be exact, is the official location where legendary DJ Kool Herc would throw the first of many parties for his local community. Now, I do agree that there was a rising, urban youth culture developing in the streets of New York City during those times that would eventually become known to the masses as “Hip Hop”. However, I also believe that there are some strong cases to support the idea that the beginning movement of Hip Hop as culture was much broader and way beyond the Big Apple.
First things first, many people often confuse “Hip Hop Kulture” with “hip-hop music and entertainment”. When you can first understand that “Hip Hop” is a lifestyle, a culture, and a state of mind, then you can begin to acknowledge the existence of “Hip Hop” outside of New York City and its existence prior to DJ Kool Herc in Bronx, NY. Hip Hop arose out of the decline of the Civil Rights Movement, the Black Power Movement, and the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. The was a new generation of black and brown youth in the early 1970s, who were faced with dire social conditions. Urban youth across the nation created “Hip Hop” in response to police brutality, violence, drugs, gangs, chronic joblessness, loss of affordable housing, and community demolition. In the early 1970s, access to discos, dance studios, recording studios and music education programs were non-existent to inner city youth. Non-White ethnic groups such as Puerto Ricans, Jamaicans, Mexicans, and African-Americans began to band together around a certain unwritten, moral code based upon the common oppression that they shared.There was evidence of this movement of street youth culture across the Unites States in the late 60’s and early 70’s. Hip Hop culture includes elements such as street art, dance, rap, and turntablism. With that being said, aerosol and graffiti writing has been documented as early as 1960 on the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, not New York City. In 1969, author H. Rap Brown, talked about his experiences of “rapping” and “playing the dozens” on the streets of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, not New York City. The dance form “Poppin” originated in Fresno, California, not New York City. Another dance form, “Lockin” popularized by the group Electric Boogaloo and performed on the TV show “What’s Happening” in the early 70’s was started in Los Angeles, California, not New York City. “Break Dancing”, however, is attributed to b-boy dancers such as The Rock Steady Crew in New York, New York. So, as you can see, these are just a few examples that the movement of Hip Hop existed in urban youth across the United States in the late 60’s and early 70’s. However, it didn’t have a name. Busy Bee Starski, DJ Hollywood, and Africa Bambaataa were the first to give it a name and actually coin the phrase “Hip Hop”.