Today August 11th is a very important day in popular culture history. However, not a lot of people probably know the significance of this day. 47 years to this day in 1973 one of the most legendary back to school parties took place in a rec room at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, New York. This party in the West Bronx is considered to be the birth of hip-hop. The legendary party was powered and entrained by DJ Kool Herc, who is considered the founding father of hip-hop.
So why is this event the catalyst to hip-hop? Well, at this party DJ Kool Herc introduced a new form of Djaying. Being a Jamaican American Herc was musically influenced by Jamaican sound and vibes. In Jamaica at parties, the DJ is responsible for the parties to keep going, so they would use a technique called “Toasting”. Essentially, toasting is when the DJ will say something or start a chant over the music to keep folks engaged with the music. For instance, the DJ would-be spinning a track and say something like “let’s go I see you out there”. Herc brought this technique to the Bronx creating the MC. In addition, he also brought another new DJing technique which is called the “break” but at the time he called it the “Merry Go Round”. Herc while DJing he noticed at his parties people would really dance at the point in the song where the drums were played. Noticing this, he began using the traditional two-wheel turntable but instead we would play the same record on each wheel as a way to extend the drums section of the song to keep people dancing. This where we get the term break dancing from.
Then on August 11th, 1973, DJ Kool Herc debuted these two techniques and the rest is history. Toasting and the break are the most fundamental elements of hip-hop. The break is the loop and toasting is the MC. These two techniques give us hip-hop today. Happy Birthday, Hip- Hop! And, thank you DJ Kool Herc!
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