First of all, a little bit of background information on the roots of hip-hop is needed. 1955 was a year of many events. The Scrabble board game debuted, Elvis Presley performed for the first time on TV, the first McDonald’s opened, “In God We Trust” was added to all the American coins, Disneyland opened in Anaheim, California, Rosa Parks took her stand against racism by not giving up her seat on a bus to a white person, and finally, Clive Campbell was born in Kingston, Jamaica. Campbell spent his early childhood living in a city named Trenchtown, in the same public housing that produced many other prominent world figures such as Bob Marley, Peter Tosh, and Alton Ellis. Campbell’s father had a good job in Jamaica; a job that paid him enough money to be able to move to a house with their own front and back yard, but it was in the public housing in Trenchtown where Clive would get his first taste of the beats he emulated as a DJ in the Bronx, New York. Clive would spy through windows and holes in the walls of places that held adult dancing; modern day night clubs; just to be amazed at the DJs wheeling in the huge speakers and amplifiers.
In 1967, at the age of 13, Campbell and his family migrated from Jamaica to the Bronx in New York. By 1969, Clive was going to the parties that he would peep through holes to see in Jamaica. He was a break-dancer, but he was very displeased by the DJs. He even heard other people in the crowds saying the same things. He didn’t understand why they would cut songs out at times or why they would keep replaying one part etc. He said to himself that he could do that too, but he did it from a “dance floor perspective.” So he became DJ Kool Herc; Herc coming from the nickname “Hercules” that he got when he came to New York because he was much larger than other kids his age. He always kept the attitude that he was DJing for the people, not for himself.
To the younger people who listen to hip-hop, it’s about how many technological toys that go into making a beat for a song, but to an older person, it’s about the manmade beat made from a turntable and the precise lyrics made by the MC. There were no soundboards or auto tune or computerized beats. A DJ scratching two records to make the rhythm, the beat coming from a drum, and the MC’s actual voice made the song; no computerized blending of songs; no electronic sounds to make the beat; no auto tune to make any random person’s voice sound like they could hit every key from top to bottom on a piano. The music was real.
Today, there’s stuff like 24-track Recorders, 36-channel Console with Automated DAT recorders and ADS hard disks, mach synchronizers, automated faders, audio monitors and monitoring systems (to monitor the monitors), MPC's, and APC's and the list just goes on. There is auto tune on so many people’s voices that nobody knows if the artist is ever singing or not. Live performances are done, a lot of times, by lipsyncing. It’s amazing how people by tickets to go see their favorite singers live but really they are just listening to the same thing as the CD while the...