Way Back Wednesday: Kool Herc And Hip-Hop’s Early Beginnings

A few years ago I had the pleasure of kicking it at the Scratch DJ Academy in Los Angeles. This was in the early stages of The 5th Element Magazine and I wanted to feature the academy for an upcoming issue. To understand their curriculum, I decided to take an introduction class, something I had been planning to do since moving to L.A. We went through equipment names, easy scratching, timing, other turntable techniques, and more importantly, the background history of the DJ. That insightful mini lecture gave me a wealth of knowledge I would always refer back to and school people on whenever I thought they needed a hip-hop lesson.

In honor of today being National DJ Day, we are bringing it way back to the 70’s, a time when a young musical legend in the making put two turntables together and created not only a new musical genre but also a culture that embraced new talents from its diverse listeners. The video above is a small clip of a hip-hop documentary featuring a DJ that everyone should be familiar with. Kool Herc has been widely recognized around the world as the “father of hip-hop” by introducing new DJ techniques at his New York City parties. His innovations consisted of blending instrumentals and breaks from different records and creating a whole new sound that appealed to people who simply wanted to get down on the dance floor. Kool Herc and the early DJ’s inspired the first breakdancers whose moves blended with the new beats. Then came the party starters who were holding the mic, giving a platform to the almighty emcee. These were the roots of what we now call hip-hop and continue to inspire the fresh group of new talent today.

So to all the DJ’s out there right now working in the entertainment and music scene, we salute you and appreciate the beats you provide, ensuring that we can continue to get our boogie on.

Marc Mangapit

Editor and freelance writer from Los Angeles. Pizza hunter and burger snob. He misses the old Kanye, the "I can't even go to the grocery store without some Ones that's clean and a shirt with a team" Kanye.

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