Herc, D.J. Hollywood, and Afrika Bambaataa-were either first- or second-generation Americans of
Caribbean ancestry. Herc and Hollywood are both credited with introducing the Jamaican style of cutting
and mixing into the musical culture of the South Bronx. By most accounts Herc was the first DJ to buy two
copies of the same record for just a 15-second break (rhythmic instrumental segment) in the middle. By
mixing back and forth between the two copies he was able to double, triple, or indefinitely extend the
break. In so doing, Herc effectively deconstructed and reconstructed so-called found sound, using the
turntable as a musical instrument.
While he was cutting with two turntables, Herc would also perform with the microphone in Jamaican
toasting style-joking, boasting, and using myriad in-group references. Herc's musical parties eventually
gained notoriety and were often documented on cassette tapes that were recorded with the relatively new
boombox, or blaster, technology. Taped duplicates of these parties rapidly made their way through the
Bronx, Brooklyn, and uptown Manhattan, spawning a number of similar DJ acts. Among the new breed of
DJs was Afrika Bambaataa, the first important Black Muslim in rap. (The Muslim presence would become
very influential in the late 1980s.) Bambaataa often engaged in sound-system battles with Herc, similar to
the so-called cutting contests in jazz a generation earlier. The sound system competitions were held at
city parks, where hot-wired street lamps supplied electricity, or at local clubs. Bambaataa sometimes
mixed sounds from rock-music recordings and television shows into the standard funk and disco fare that
Herc and most of his followers relied upon. By using rock records, Bambaataa extended rap beyond the
immediate reference points of contemporary black youth culture. By the 1990s any sound... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2005, 05). Rap History. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 05, 2005, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/Rap-History-57504.html
"Rap History" StudyMode.com. 05 2005. 05 2005 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/Rap-History-57504.html>.
"Rap History." StudyMode.com. 05, 2005. Accessed 05, 2005. http://www.studymode.com/essays/Rap-History-57504.html.