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AotD 7/24/2016: Dj Kool Herc & Afrika Bambaataa. Hip Hop Fathers.


Ee-e-eee, we've all immitated the turntable scratching sound and recognize what it represents: djing. It's even, recently, come into peoples eyes again in the form of Overwatch

While a lot djing is done just purely on the computer these days, using programs like ableton, virtual turntables or using launchpads, classic djs of the 70s~90s relied on good old vinyl. There has been a return to the vinyl movement for many in recent times, however the big money djs still don't usually use them. Classic turntablism required you to not only do things to the mixer that were never intended, but you had to find the exact spot on the vinyl, often marking the spots with a piece of tape.

There are three people usually credited with creating the current placement of a dj in a hip hop band, and creating what would be known as "turntablism", Grand Master Flash, DJ Kool Herc, and Afrika Bambaataa.

Kool Herc was the man who created the style of mixing, and remixing, the "breaks" into basically a whole new song. This is where the concept of "break dancing" originated, and later MCing. Just think, without Herc hip hop wouldn't resemble what it is now, we might have something like hip hop, but we wouldn't have what we know it to be.

It is important to note that when looking up "Dj Kool Herc" he is not the same one as "DJ Kool", it is a common mistake. There is not many videos of Herc as he didn't move into traditional hip hop so most of what you'll find are his block parties rather than specific songs, because he didn't make songs, he made experiences.

Afrika Bambaataa, like Kool Herc is of Jamacian decent, though Afrika was born in the USA, unlike Herc. Afrika formed the famous Universal Zulu Nation, a positive black liberation hip hop movement to improve the new york black community which at the time had a lot of gang violence. Afrika is credited with creating the term "turntablism" to separate it from traditional dance or electronica music of the era. His track, Planet Rock, is arguably one of the most important Hip Hop songs of all time. While it may not be the best it certainly is one of the most important.

Like all of hip hop, I think you can easily spot the influence of Parliament Funkadelic in that video.

At the moment Afrika is embroiled in allegations of child molestation in the 80s. Several hip hop artists have spoken out against him, though KRS-One stands by him. Just a few months ago Afrika stepped down as the leader of the Zulu nation. Many of the older members of the Zulu nation dismissed the accusations while newer leaders have spoken out and sent out a letter of apology for the groups earlier dismissals. 


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About Khalid Eternal Nighone of us since 12:52 AM on 06.15.2015

Every time I think I know what I'm doing with my life, I forget.