Well documented throughout the internets, and consistently brought to my attention by good friends for the last 5 years, it appears as if Hip Hop music, DJ Kool Herc and I have a lot more in common than I originally thought. On top of being my own date of birth, on this day in 1973, Kool Herc…. one of the first DJs to launch Hip Hop into the stratosphere…. threw his very first “Hip Hop Party” in the Bronx.
Called “The Back to School Jam” and running from 9pm til 4am in the morning… it already seems like a party I wish I could have been there for. ALL NIGHTER! I’ll take sharing the birthdate of Hip Hop instead. Looks like I was born exactly 9 years after. That rocks my Hip Hop socks off. This is almost cooler than Nas and Amy Winehouse being born exactly 10 years apart. Or maybe as cool as The Jackson Five being formally introduced for the first time by Diana Ross today. Maybe a little cooler.
August 11 marks the day that many people point to as a genesis point in hip hop history, a day celebrated as the birth date of a culture centered around music but encompassing so much more, that rose from the streets of New York City and proceeded to change the landscape of music, business and culture in an unprecedented manner that continues to this day.
This day is the anniversary of a small but pivotal event in 1973, a “Back To School Jam” thrown at the recreation room at 1520 Sedgewick Avenue in the Bronx. A “DJ Kool Herc Party” that would spawn dozens like it at apartment buildings, houses, parks, lounges and clubs throughout the city, providing a foundation for the evolution of a creative movement that would grow into a worldwide phenomenon, dramatically changing almost every aspect of pop culture and business over the course of the next 30+ years.
While there are certainly dozens of people, places, events and organizations that contributed to the emergence and growth of hip hop music and culture, Kool Herc’s initial involvement can never be downplayed, and just as 1520 Sedgewick Avenue is often considered the “birthplace of hip hop,” August 11 has been accepted by many to be as good a date as any to mark its beginning.
As a publication dedicated solely to the documentation of hip hop, past, present and future, from the immediate area surrounding it’s birth, we like to pay special homage to this time in history, where a movement began that would give generations access to the world, through their music, lyrics, artwork, dancing, fashion and overall style, that might have continued to be denied them.
Though aspects of hip hop over the years have cast a shadow of negativity over the culture as a whole, those who are truly connected to the spirit of hip hop know that posivitity, love and respect continue to be the true hallmarks of hip hop culture, and we salute, respect and encourage those who continue to hold hip hop to these high standards.
Thank you to DJ Kool Herc, Cindy Campbell and others who helped light this spark on August 11, 1973, and to the countless pioneers, activists, businesspeople and hip hoppers who followed, who gave life to such a significant movement.