Happy Birthday, Kool Herc: 5 Stories About The Father of Hip-Hop You Should Read
On this day, Apr. 16, 1955, DJ Kool Herc was born Clive Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica. At the age of 12, he and his family moved to the Boogie Down Bronx and took on the name “Kool Herc” when he became a member of the graffiti crew, the Ex-Vandals. Standing at 6’4″, Herc wasn’t your average man, as the rest of the hood would come to learn once he and his sister Cindy started throwing parties at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue.
“The Father of Hip-Hop,” as most have come to know him as has the distinction of being the pioneer of the “break beat”. For those unaware of what this means, Herc would play the same record on two turntables and cue the “break,” or the sweet spot, in the record. Whether it was James Brown‘s “Funky Drummer” break or whatever got the dancers grooving, this innovative musical creation would then go on to be emulated all over New York City during the 1970s.
Add to the mix that DJ Kool Herc was the first to coin the terms “B-Boys” and “B-Girls” for the dancers who were “breaking,” he took street slang that others would find negative or demeaning and created something positive (and now known the world over). Especially since during the time the Bronx was on fire all over the place and gangs had the city gripped in fear. Thanks to Kool Herc and his craft, he was able to blossom flowers that have spread the test of time in the form of Afrika Bambaataa, Grandmaster Flash and the Sugarhill Gang.
We here at @Okayplayer want to give the herculean DJ, and innovator of this thing we love called hip-hop, his props by breaking down some of the dope stories and mixes featuring Kool Herc. Check out the content below and wish Kool Herc a happy revolution around the sun!