Tyler Perry and History Channel set to do Epic Miniseries on Hip Hop

Tyler Perry

Tyler Perry

Movie mogul Tyler Perry is on fire. His new movie Temptation was bigger-than-projected. It opened at $22.3 million making it Perry’s second-biggest opening non-Madea movie after the sequel Why Did I Get Married Too?.  Tyler said he’s happy with his latest efforts and feels it was big comeback after the set backs and harsh criticism he received with the thriller Alex Cross and his own Good Deeds.

As for future projects Perry announced that he’s teamed up with the History Channel which is coming off a huge ratings success with their mini-series The Bible. The network announced it was their most watched series to date and they are excited to team up with Perry to do several miniseries that highlight and chronicle African-American life. History Channel executives were impressed how Perry gave new life to the iconic play For Colored Girls Only....and feel he can bring similar success to the network.

Click HERE to listen to pt2 of Kool Herc

DJ Kool Herc

The first scheduled project will be an epic miniseries on the birth of Hip Hop which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. History notes on August 11th 1973 in the South Bronx at a community center located inside 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, Clive Campbell better known as DJ Kool Herc along with his sister Cindy threw a back to school dance to raise money for school clothes. The pair who had newly arrived from Jamaica and brought with them a new style of deejaying which included using a massive sound system and doing early raps then called chants over instrumental dub plates. This is how Hip Hop was born.

Perry acknowledged that he grew up on Hip Hop and always wanted to see this story come to life and be told correctly. “A lot of people don’t know, that I’m what you would call a true Hip Hop head. I love rap. I love Hip Hop and I want to do this right…. Doing this series on the History Channel in the same vein as the Bible series will give Hip Hop the true academic validation that has alluded it all these past 4 decades.”

Bible Miniseries producers Roma & Mark

Bible Miniseries producers Roma & Mark

Roma Downey and Mark Burnett the brains and key architects behind the Bible miniseries have been tapped to produce the Hip Hop miniseries which is tentatively titled ‘40 Years The True Story of Hip Hop‘. Although they are not Hip Hop ‘experts’, they are Biblical experts and in Hip Hop in many respects parallels the trajectory of events in the Bible.  History Channel executives felt it was important to tap into their talents so that they can give the True Story of Hip Hop an exciting and larger-than-life cinematic epic feel.

Perry stated ‘These guys are great writers and have tremendous passion and vision..What we have done is amassed a panel of Hip Hop experts including Chicago State scholars Frank Chitterbang and Sam Socrates who founded the nation’s first Hip Hop studies program last year.

“We need to celebrate and honor them for being the first to bring Hip Hop to academia” Perry said. Hip Hop needs to be studied. This miniseries will help underscore that point.

Other Hip Hop experts to be tapped for the Perry/ History Channel Hip Hop project include; Civil Rights icon Jesse Jackson and Reverend T.D. Jakes.

Why Church folks? some may ask…

Some of the controversies involving Reverend Jesse jackson has led to us questioning the state of the Black Church

Jesse Jackson

“In telling the story of Hip Hop we have to be honest and go to the true source”, Perry noted. “Hip Hop didn’t start in some dirty run down ghetto. It started in the church. The first rappers were preachers.

The young bucks at the first party DJ Kool Herc gave were emulating their elders from the church by doing what we call in the African tradition ‘Call and Response’. Dr Martin Luther King who Reverend Jackson marched with was the first true emcee..His cadence, his swag, his message is what inspired early Hip Hop.. That’s real talk. We gotta own up to this.. We gotta know our true history”.

It should also be noted that Jesse Jackson was the first Civil Rights Icon Hip Hop paid tribute to, when Grandmaster Flash did a song about him called Jesse to commemorate his historic 1984 run for President.


Perry noted that to keep everyone honest and this series truly authentic, they are inviting the owners of the Hip Hop’s biggest websites like World Star, Bossip, and AHH to name a few to offer advice and help guide the miniseries.

In terms of casting, Perry noted that he and the History Channel were meticulous in their eventual selection. Former wrestler turned actor Dwayne Johnson better known as The Rock’ will play DJ Kool Herc. Both men have similar physics.

Don Chealde to play GM Flash

Don Cheadle to play GM Flash

Comedian Anthony Anderson will play Big Bank Hank of the Sugar Hill Gang

Cedric the Entertainer will play Hip Hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa.

House of Lies actor Don Cheadle will play pioneer Grandmaster Flash.

Chris Brown is being cast to play a young brash LL Cool J.

Coming off rave reviews and the success of Temptation, reality TV star who is now making major headway into Hollywood as an actress of note, Kim Kardashian will be tapped to play Salt of Salt-N-Pepa one of Hip Hop’s first female emcees.

Perry noted that her boyfriend Kanye West is being asked to help show her some pointers on how to rap.. ‘She will do this important role and the miniseries justice’ Perry added.

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian

Pepa will be played by Janet Jackson who is a favorite in Perry movies

History Channel executives are being tight-lipped about other roles, but from the looks of things this promises to be an all-star cast.

Perry noted that its important to keep in mind Hip Hop is inclusive.  Its a bout building community. It’s in that spirit they are opening their doors doing a nationwide casting call for those involved in Hip Hop and can do a little of acting. They are also looking for Hip Hop experts who are knowledgeable about local Hip Hop history from their respective cities..If you would like to be part of the Hip Hop miniseries you can get more information by clicking HERE..

In case you don’t know…


Hip Hop History 101: Grandwizard Theodore Explains the Orgins of the Scratch and Beyond

Grand wizzard Theodore fingerThis is an important conversation where Hip Hop pioneer Grand Wizzard Theodore speaks for himself and explains the origins of the Scratch.. Up to that point, many had come to believe that Theodore was trained by Grandmaster Flash who started off in a crew called the L-Brothers (L=Livingston which is Theodore’s last name). I recall interviewing Flash back in 1996 at length and he broke all this down..noting that Theodore was his student..

I ran into Theodore a few months later and he was livid and said that the story was absolutely not true.. Back then he explained as he does in the interview below, how he came into his own.. GM Flash to my knowledge hasn’t retracted the story, so those two will have to sort it out..

Here’s a excerpts from a 2005 interview w/ Troy Smith of Tha Foundation


TS: I read in an article that Gene originally didn’t want you to DJ, you ended up having to sneak it to do it. Flash put you on to it. Flash showed you how to do it?

GWT: Gene and Flash were down together and people were trying to say that Flash taught me. I taught myself how to DJ. Nobody taught  me how to DJ. The only thing Flash taught me was, you know, there are so many different mixers out there..you have to know how to turn the mixer on, turn the mixer off..,this is this cross fader, for that turntable, this cross fader for that turntable..these are the ear phones.. that’s about it. He never sat me down and said, “O.K. This is how you mix these two records together.  It was nothing, never like that. All the skills that I have I taught myself. Nobody taught me all the skills that I have. That is why my style is like no other. If anything, Flash taught me – this is the left turntable, this is the right turntable, this is the mixer, this is that for the mixer, and this is that for the mixer – but I pretty much knew all that already, just by watching.

TS: Your brothers were already doing this before Flash even came to your house, didn’t Flash stay at your house for a minute as well?

GWT: Flash was down from day one with Gene. Flash couldn’t keep the equipment at his house, so the equipment was at my mom’s house. Flash was able to come any time he wanted to DJ. If he came and he stayed till 3 or 4 o’clock in the morning, he had a room were he could just stretch out. My moms was like,”You can come and go as you please.”

Below Theodore speaks for himself..


Theodore shows off his patented Needle drop technique


A classic cut that captures the essence of Theodore from back in the days


Grand Wizard Theodore oldThe other unintended story that needed to be put to rest was Theodore spilling beer on a turntable and inventing the scratch while wiping the record clean.. This came about after a humorous Heineken commercial aired a few years back depicting that. It was part of a series of commercials the beer company did where they fictionalized how the accidents around the beer created the Peace sign, the Lighter, the scratch etc.. Unfortunately because there had been so much historical distortion around the legacy of Theodore, many didn’t find the humor in the commercial resulting in an open letter and protest to the beer company.


The Connection Between Hip Hop, New Wave and Punk

Davey DThis past Monday, Spinderella of Salt-N-Pepa, Mike Shinoda of Linkin Park and myself among others, participated in a panel discussion at UCLA that focused on the business workings and current state of Hip Hop. Before we launched into Q&A from the audience all of us were asked ‘What CD we were listening to in our ride?’ The audience seemed a bit surprised when I mentioned that in my CD deck was the 1981 album ‘JuJu’ by new wave/punk act Siouxsie & the Banshees. Songs like ‘Spellbound, ‘Monitor’ and ‘Into the Light’ brought back fond memories. More importantly the whole early new wave/punk scene was a very much apart of my early Hip Hop experience.

For those who wish to walk down memory lane, how could we forget when New Wave/Punk acts like Thomas Dolby, Tom Tom Club, The Clash, Blondie, The Thompson Twins, The Police, Depeche Mode, Human League, Tears for Fears and David Bowie to name a few were regularly heard within Hip Hop circles especially in many of our ‘hoods’.

No offense to Run DMC, who are often sighted as the first Hip Hop group to merge Rock and Rap, when we really go back and look at what was happening in the late 70s early 80s, we’ll find that there was an often under reported important conversation and cultural exchange that was taking place with hardcore b-boys from the South Bronx and the disenfranchised rebellious New Wave/Punk kids in downtown Manhattan on the Lower Eastside and in the Village.

It really began when acts like Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash who were just starting to record records were starting to be invited to perform at some key downtown spots like the Mudclub or the Roxy which was frequented by punk/new wave kids. The parallels between the hardcore Hip Hoppers from the Bronx and the Rebellious Punk Kids soon became obvious. Both groups had reacted organically to a stale, formulaic music industry that was serving the public watered down disco and arena rock. The Blacks and Puerto Ricans in the Bronx embraced the classic James Brown Soul and Funk music of Sly and the Family Stone and developed Hip Hop, while their Lower Eastside white counterparts got into the British import punk and new wave.

Debbie Harry

Debbie Harry

People like Bambaataa, Fab 5 Freddy, Debbie Harry of Blondie and British New Wave icon Malcolm McClaren would wind up being key figures in Hip Hop’s first cross cultural exchange. The B-Boys from the Bronx would get nice gigs at the Punk/New Wave spots while the punk crowd would literally be granted safe passage to Bronx River or the PAL up in the Bronx. It’s important to note that this was not a natural occurrence which has often been erroneously stated, especially with the white kids coming up to the Bronx. It was a deliberate attempt on the parts of folks who had mutual respect and vision to build with one another.

When you look back into time you’ll find that both the early Hip Hop and Punk/New Wave groups equally influenced each other. This admiration was reflected in Blondie’s pivotal song ‘Rapture’ where lead singer Debby Harry after being escorted up to a B-Boy party at the PAL club where Grandmaster Flash was playing gave props to Fab 5 Freddy as well as Flash who blew her away.


Soon after you had people like Malcolm McClaren teaming up with 5 Percent cats like the World Famous Supreme Team who hosted a radio show to do songs like Buffalo Gals (which was named after a London clothing store-not the size of woman’s butts), ‘Hey DJ’ and ‘Hobo Scratch’.


History will show that others like the punk rock group known as the Beastie Boys would start to embrace rap and put out songs like Cookiepuss and go on to become Hip Hop’s first meaningful white act.

Pioneering groups like the Cold Crush Brothers would release songs like ‘Punk Rock Rap’ while Flash and his crew did songs like new wave influenced songs like ‘Scorpio’. Bambaataa himself would go onto to form a group called Time Zone and would record a huge song called ‘World Destruction’ with punk icon Johnny Rotten.


Thomas Dolby

Thomas Dolby

The whole time this was happening between the years 1979-1984, you saw the musical walls of segregation come down as artists from both genres would become familiar to both audiences. In other words during the early 80s you would hear Thomas Dolby’s ‘Blinded Me With Science’, David Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, Devo’s ‘Let It Whip’ or Tom Tom Club’s ‘Genius of Love’ not only being played on urban radio, but also at popular Hip Hop night spots where playing them would help set off the party.

It was amazing to hear the types of early reactions to last year’s Mobb Deep hit song ‘Got It Twisted’. First, many younger folks had no idea that they had sampled the main riff that gave the song its entire flavor from Dolby’s ‘Blinded Me with Science’. When it was revealed, the reaction ranged from ‘Who in the heck is Thomas Dolby’? to ‘Wow, Mobb Deep is so adventurous, groundbreaking and experimental for going there and sampling a rock act’. For some the Thomas Dolby connection was strange for others who fondly remember those early days, what Mobb Deep did was a natural fit.

More importantly we need to remember that it was Thomas Dolby who actually stepped up and produced Whodini‘s first record ‘Magic Wand‘.In fact we need to also shout out folks like Trevor Horn and Rick Rubin who stepped over from the world of New Wave and Punk and got down on the production tip within Hip Hop.


We also need to keep in mind that these few examples I mentioned are just around the early Hip Hop scene in New York. If you go back and look at what was happening 300 miles away in California you will find similar exchanges between the early emerging Hip Hop community and the new wave punk sects. In places like Los Angeles where racial segregation is more pronounced and ethnic groups are really removed from one another, to see the early Ska and punk scenes make their way to early Hip Hop clubs and eventually see it reflected in the music with folks coming from places like South Central is significant.

Uncle Jamm's Army

Uncle Jamm’s Army

If anyone remembers back in the days when KDAY was jumping off in LA, then you know it was not usual to hear a Thompson Twins song or a Clash song being mixed and cut up by the famed Mixmasters at that time. It was not out of place to go to an Uncle Jamm’s Army set at the old Coliseum and here some of those aforementioned new wave groups. And of course Hip Hop was not out of place in those New Wave Punk clubs.

Today in the age of music industry consolidation and corporate radio owning multiple stations in a market has resulted in what is best described as music segregation. Industry proponents would argue and say its niche marketing, but really it isn’t. You have a group of ‘experts’ who sit around a table and devise elaborate marketing plans which run along the lines of station X owned by company A will go after Latino women 18-34 and will play a particular style of music with very little room for deviation. Station Y, also owned by that same company will go after older white men 25-54 and will also embrace a particular music genre.

This process goes all the way down the line until there are no more stations for the company to play with. The end results are a series of unintended consequences, some of which I touched upon in a previous column where I asked ‘When is Old School Too Old to Play’ as well as what I would call increased music segregation. Sure we can look at recent examples like Fred Durst and Limp Bizkit doing songs with Method Man or the upcoming Coachella Music Festival or a Warp Tour where there will be a healthy dose of rock and rap acts. However, the cultural exchange seems to be very one sided at best and contrived and forced at worse.

hip_hop_is_punk-rock-finalIt’s one sided in the sense that you have rock oriented outlets with a predominantly white audience embracing Hip Hop. Yes, you can tune into a radio station like KROQ and hear rap alongside the usual rock offerings and lastly we have all the mash up projects, with the most noticeable being Collision Course with Linkin Park and Jay-Z. However, you will not see similar attempts in many urban outlets that target African American audiences. Yes believe it or not groups like Linkin Park as popular as they are are still relatively unknown in many Black circles where BET and commercial radio are the main conduits to things outside the community. I’m not sure what needs to be done to change that or if it even needs to be changed.

I guess I just yearn for the days when the Hip Hop and Punk and New Wave communities were known to each other and me, a Black kid from the Boogie Down Bronx, mentioning I like Siouxsie & the Banshees or the Split Endz is not met with shock and surprise because I defy a stereotype but with approvals or moans because everyone in the room has strong opinions about my choice of groups.

written by Davey D May 2005

Congratulations to Public Enemy -Newest inductees to Rock-n-Roll Hall of Fame

Congratulation to one of the greatest musical acts of all-times..Public Enemy.. The were just inducted into the Rock-N-Roll hall of Fame.. Its an honor the well deserve.. They are the 4th Hip Hop group, behind, Grandmaster Flash and the Furious 5, Run DMC and the Beastie Boys..

One of the strengths that I think goes beyond the group’s massive category of records, is their endurance.. They been at this for over 25 years and are nearing 100 global tours..PE has transcended music..they same way they transcended the borders of this country.. Props to them..

Chuck D noted on twitter;  Any achievement by PE is to be shared across HipHop and its real fans.The songs are 1thing but our strength has been our meaning & performance

Peep out their latest song..

Welcome to the Bay-Rap Slang Capitol of the World

A lot of folks use slang terms without knowing their true origins. Many of the popular ones come from the slang heavy Bay Area. For example, take a term like Playa Hater.. It’s commonly used but its roots are found in Richmond, California with a rapper named Filthy Phil.

Back in the days (80s) there was a group of police called the Cowboys. They were a rough bunch who were actually profiled on the news show 60 Minutes. Phil ran with a crew who called themselves the Playboys.. “players” for short.

The cowboys used to mess with Phil’s crew and hence got dubbed ‘Player Haters‘. That was the original meaning.

The term Ghostriding has been immortalized in songs and has come to mean cats walking alongside their car or riding the roof with no one in the drivers seat. The practice was popularized in the Oakland ‘side shows‘ which is our term for cruising. The initial term came about when the police would come up to hot spots like Berkeley’s Telegraph avenue and break up the large crowds. They would get out their patrol cars to usher people along … Some got the idea of putting the un-manned cruisers in motion to crash them , either by shifting gears or putting brick or rocks on the gas pedal.. The un manned patrols cars crashing were said have been ghostridden

The term Fa-Sheezy and its numerous variations which many attribute to Snoop Dogg, was popularized by Bay Area slangologist E-40. 40 got the term from his homies 3x Krazy which included Keak tha Sneak another noted slang master.  many say the initial phrasing came from  pig latin, but if you listen to an old Grandmaster Flash cut from the early 80s.. pioneer Mele-Mel flips some pig latin and there’s no Fa Sheezy being said.. We maintain our originality.

We could go on and on, and I’m sure some will argue about the local folklore. We know we know, nothing’s new under the sun.. But when it comes to the Bay Area some of it is-LOL

Below is a video/ song from Rafael Casal that chronicles some our uniqueness on the wordplay tip.. Enjoy..And if you object, get ur skillz together and do your own.. Just make sure you note we did this here thing first.. LOL


Physical Graffiti (The History of Hip Hop Dance)

This is a dope article  written by Hip Hop pioneer Jorge “Popmaster Fabel” Pabon of the Rocksteady Crew/ Universal Zulu Nation that gives us a brief outline on the history of Hip Hop dance. It was written in 1999 for the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame..

Preface: As we complete the third decade of what has been termed “hip-hop culture,” much has yet to be explored regarding its roots, history, terminology and essence. Deciphering theories from facts is a gradual, seeming endless process since many resources are scattered, leaving missing links in the chains of history. Nevertheless, it is safe to say that there are authentic facts, proven by sound testimony and evidence, regarding “hip-hop” history. These truths, unanimously agreed upon by the pioneers of the culture, should constitute the “hip-hop gospel,” whereas the questionable theories should remain as footnotes until proven to be fact.

In order to properly report the history of hip hop dance forms, one must journey both inside and outside of New York City. Although dance forms associated with hip-hop did develop in New York City, half of them (i.e. popping and locking) originated and developed on the west coast as part of a different cultural movement. Much of the media coverage in the 1980s grouped these dance forms together with New York’s native dance forms (b-boying/girling and Brooklyn uprocking), labeling them all “break dancing.” As a result, the west coast “funk” culture and movement were overlooked and underrated as the public ignorantly credited “hip-hop” as the father of the funk dance forms. This is just one example of misinformation that undermines the intricacies of each dance form, as well as their origins and structure. The intent behind the following piece is to explore the past, present and future of these dance forms and their contributions to the performing arts worldwide.

Note: The facts in this piece were obtained through conversations with and/or public appearances by: Boogaloo Sam, Popin’ Pete, Skeeter Rabbit, Sugar Pop, Don Campbellock, Trac 2, Joe-Joe, King Uprock, Kool DJ Herc, Afrika Bambaataa and other pioneers. Information was also obtained from various interviews in magazines.

In the early 1970s, the unnamed culture known today as “hip-hop” was forming in New York City’s ghettos. Each element in this culture had it’s own history and terminology contributing to the development of a cultural movement. The common pulse which gave life to all these elements is rhythm, clearly demonstrated by the beats the DJ selected, the dancers’ movements, the MCs’ rhyme patterns and the writer’s name or message painted in a flowing, stylized fashion. The culture was identified in the early 1980s when DJ Afrika Bambaataa named the dynamic urban movement “hip-hop.” The words, “hip-hop,” were originally used by MCs as part of a scat style of rhyming, for example: “Hip-Hop ya’ll and ya don’t stop, rock on, till the break of dawn.”

At about the same time, certain slang words also became titles of the dance forms, such as “rockin’” and “breakin’,” used generally, to describe actions with great intensity. Just as one could rock the mic (microphone) and rock the dance floor, one could rock a basketball game or rock some fly gear (dress impressively). The term “break” also had more than one use in the 70s. It was often used as a response to an insult or reprimand, for example, “Why are you breakin’ on me?” Break was also the section on a musical recording where the percussive rhythms were most aggressive and hard driving. The dancers anticipated and reacted to these breaks with their most impressive steps and moves.

Kool DJ Herc, originally from Jamaica, is credited with extending these breaks by using two turntables, a mixer and two of the same records. As DJs could re-cue these beats from one turntable to the other, finally, the dancers were able to enjoy more than just a few seconds of a break! Kool Herc also coined the terms “b-boy” and “b-girl” which stood for “break boys” and “break girls.” At one of Kool Herc’s jams, he might have addressed the dancers just before playing the break beats by saying, “B-Boys are you ready?! B-Girls are you ready?!” The tension started to mount and the air was thick with anticipation. The b-boys and b-girls knew this was their time to “go off!”

Some of the earliest dancing by b-boy pioneers was done upright, a form which became known as “top rockin’.” The structure and form of top rockin’ has infused dance forms and influences from Brooklyn uprockingtaplindi hop,James Brown‘s “good foot,” salsa, Afro-Cuban and various African and Native American dances. There’s even a top rock Charleston step called the “Charlie Rock“! Early influences on b-boying/girling also included martial arts films from the 1970s. Certain moves and styles developed from this inspiration.



Capoera, a form of self defense disguised as a dance, was introduced to Brazil by African slaves. This form has some movements which are very similar to certain b-boy/girl steps and moves. Unlike the popularity of the martial arts films, capoera was not seen in the Bronx jams until the 1990s. Top rockin’ seems to have developed gradually and unintentionally, leaving space for growth and new additions, until it evolved into a codified form.


Although top rockin‘ has developed an identifiable structure, there is always space for individual creativity, often expressed through the competitive nature of the dance. The same is true of all dance forms associated with hip-hop and west coast funk; as long as dancers represent the root forms of the dances, the rest can be colored in with his/her own flavors.

As a result of the highly competitive nature of these dances, it wasn’t long before top rockers extended their repertoire to the ground with “footwork” and “freezes.” For instance, one dancer might start top rocking then drop to the ground, suddenly going into leg shuffles then a freeze before coming to his feet. His opponent might have to do twice as much floorwork or a better freeze to win the battle. The fancy leg movements done on the ground, supported by the arms, were eventually defined as “footwork” or “floor rocking.” In time, an impressive vocabulary of footwork, ground moves and freezes developed, including the dancers most dynamic steps and moves.

Top rockin’ was not replaced with floor rocking; it was added to the dance and both were key points in the dance’s execution. Many times one could tell who had flavor and finesse just by their top rockin’ before the drop and floor rock. The transition between top and floor rockin’ was also important and became known as the “drop”. Some of these drops were called: front swipesback swipesdips and corkscrews. The smoother the drop, the better.

Equally significant was the way dancers moved in and out of a freeze, demonstrating control, power, precision, and at times, humor. Freezes were usually used to end a series of combinations or to mock and humiliate the opponent. Certain freezes were also named, the two most popular being the “chair freeze” and the “baby freeze.” The chair freeze became the foundation for various moves because of the potential range of motion a dancer had in this position. The dancer’s hand, forearm and elbow support the body while allowing free range of movement with the legs and hips. From the chair freeze came the floor tracback spin with the use of arms, continuous back spin (also known as the windmill), and other moves. These moves pushed the dance in a new direction in the early 1980s, the era of so-called “power moves.”

The first spins done in b-boying were one-shot head spins originally known aspencils; hand spins originally known as floatsknee spins; and butt spins. The first back spin came from a butt spin. Once a dancer gained momentum on his butt he could lie back and spin into a freeze. The next phase of backspin came from a squatted position tucking the arm and shoulder under the body onto the floor, then rolling onto the back and spinning. This spin developed from the neck move (a move in which the dancer rolls from one shoulder to the other). Finally, the backspin, from the foundation of a chair freeze, was developed.

Power moves” is a debatable term since it is questionable which movement requires more power: footwork and freezes or spins and gymnastics. One notable point introduced by B-Boy Ken Swift is that spins are fueled by momentum and balance which require less muscular strength than footwork and freezes. The laws of physics prove this to be true: spins require speed and speed creates momentum. The advent of “power moves” brought about a series of spins which became the main focus of the media and the younger generations of dancers. The true essence of the dance was slowly overshadowed by an over abundance of spins and acrobatics which didn’t necessarily follow a beat or rhythm. The pioneers didn’t separate the “power moves” from the rest of the dance form. They were B-Boys who simply accented their performance with incredible moves to the beat of the music.



In the late 1960s and early ’70s, Brooklyn, NY gave birth to another dance in Hip-Hop culture, known as “Brooklyn uprocking.” Inspired by similar or the same break beats used by b-boys/girls, this dance was more confrontational. Typically, two opponents faced each other and engaged in a “war dance” consisting of a series of steps, jerks, and the miming of weapons drawn against each other. There were also the “Apache Lines” where one crew stood in a line facing an opposing crew and challenged each other simultaneously. This structure was different from b-boying/girling since dancers in b-boy/b-girl battles took turns dancing while Brooklyn uprocking was done with partners. Brooklyn uprocking was also done to records played from beginning to end. In Brooklyn, DJs were mixing records and not cutting break beats. This allowed the uprockers to react to the song in its entirety, responding to the lyrics, musical changes and breaks.


Just as power moves became the focus of b-boying/girling, one particular movement known as “jerking” became the highlight of Brooklyn uprocking. Jerking is a movement which is used in direct battles, typically repeated throughout the break of the record. Today, Brooklyn uprocking consists almost entirely of jerking; the original from has been all but forgotten by the younger generation.


Brooklyn Uprocking also depended on quick wit, humor and finesse as opponents attempted to humiliate each other. Winning meant: displaying the swiftest steps; being receptive to the rhythms and counter rhythms of the music and the opponent; catching the opponent off guard with mimed assaults, humor, and endurance. Brooklyn uprocking consisted of quick arm and leg movements, turns, jumps, drops, and freezes. This dance was similar in spirit to b-boying/girling, yet different in form. Some pioneers believe top rocking’s first inspiration was Brooklyn Uprocking. The two forms developed simultaneously from similar inspirations yet kept their own identities.

The west coast was also engaged in a cultural movement throughout the 1970s. This scene was nourished by soul, R&B and funk music at outdoor functions and discotheques.

In Los Angeles, California, Don Campbell, also known as Don Cambellock, originated the dance form “locking.” Trying to imitate a local dance called the “funky chicken,” Don Campbell added an effect of locking of the joints of his arms and body which became known as his signature dance. He then formed a group named “The Lockers,” who all eventually shared in the development of this dance. The steps and moves created by these pioneers were named and cataloged. Some of these include: the lock,pointsskeetersscooby doosstop n’go,which-away and the fancies. Certain members of The Lockers” incorporated flips, tucks, dives and other aerial moves reminiscent of the legendary Nicholas Brothers. The main structure of the dance combined sharp, linear limb extensions and elastic-like movement.

The “lock” is a specific movement which glues together combinations of steps and moves similar to a freeze or a sudden pause. Combinations can consist of a series of points done by extending the arms and pointing in different directions. Dancers combined fancy step patterns with the legs and moves done in various sequences. The Lockers also jumped into half splits, knee drops, butt drops, and used patterns which would take them down to the ground and back up to their feet. This dance gained much of its popularity through The Lockers’ various televised performances which include: the “Johnny Carson Show,” the “Dick Van Dyke Show,” the “Carol Burnett Show” and “Saturday Night Live.”


In 1976, The Electronic Boogaloo Lockerswas formed in Fresno, California by Sam “Boogaloo Sam” SolomanNate “Slide” Johnson and Joe “Slim” Thomas. Since the group’s inception, Sam has continued to recruit and help each member master his individual form. Some of Sam’s early inspirations were Chubby Checker‘s “Twist;” a James Brown dance called “the Popcorn;” “the Jerk;” cartoon animation and the idiosyncrasies of everyday people. From these many influences, Sam combined incredible steps and moves conceiving a dance form which he named “Boogaloo.” This form includes isolated sharp angles, hip rotations and the use of every part of the body. Sam’s brother, Timothy “Popin’ Pete” Soloman, described Boogaloo as a dance which was done by moving the body continuously in different directions.

He also compared the body to a musical instrument in which the movement was as varied as the notes. Originally, “popping” was a term used to describe a sudden muscle contraction executed with the triceps, forearms, neck, chest and legs. These contractions accented the dancer’s movement causing a quick, jolting effect. Sam’s creation, popping, also became known as the unauthorized umbrella title to various forms within the dance, past and present. Some of these forms include: boogaloostrutdime stopwaveticktwisto-flex andslides. The transitions between steps, forms, and moves were fluid, unpredictable, precise, and delivered with character and finesse. Various forms were clearly showcased throughout the dancer’s solos and group routines. Eventually, popping was also misrepresented and lost its purity as younger generations strayed from its original forms.

The titles, “Electric Boogie” and “Boogie” were given, in ignorance, to the dance, in New York, after the Lockers and Electric Boogaloos performed on the television program, “Soul Train.” Unaware of the dance’s history, New Yorkers attempted to name the dance after The Electric Boogaloos (derived from the Electronic Boogaloo Lockers).


Dancers in Los Angeles also distorted the name by calling it “pop-locking,” while in France, it was called “The Smurf.” Elements of pantomime were merged with the dance, diluting its original essence. Miming creates illusions of the body without a rhythmic structure whereas popping and boogaloo create movement synchronized to rhythmic patterns. Most of the time, this fusion was done unsuccessfully since one would stray from the beat of the music. Other townships in central California are credited for creating original forms of dance as well. Each region was identified by its style: San Jose was known for “flying tuts” and “dime stopping;” San Francisco had the “chinese strut;” “Filmore strutting” originated obviously in the Filmore area. Oakland became known for “Frankenstein hitting” and “snake hitting.” East Palo Alto was also known for “snake hitting.” “Roboting” and “bopping” were popularized in Richmond. Sacramento had its own dances called “Oak Parking,” “Bustin’,” and “Sac”-ing (pronounced ‘sacking’). Dime stopping, strutting and hitting all predate popping and have their own histories within the west coast funk movement. In summary, all of these dance styles have contributed to the evolution of phenomenal forms of expression!

A connection between the east and west coast movements are certain records which are danced to by b-boys/girls, Brooklyn uprockers, and lockers. One example is “Scorpio” by Dennis Coffey and the Detroit Guitar Band. For the most part, each dance form had a different musical influence, dress code and terminology (all of which were mismatched and misrepresented during the 1980’s media coverage of these dance forms).


As relatively new dance forms, b-boying/girling, Brooklyn uprocking, locking and popping are rarely seen in a theatrical setting. They are usually performed in music videos, commercials or films for just a few seconds revealing very little of their full potential. In many cases, the filming of these dances has been poor where only part of the body is captured, taking away from the full impact of the steps, moves, and illusions. The film editing of these dances also deprives the audience of transitions and composition, since the editors are usually unfamiliar with the structures of the dance forms. Proper consultation with the dancers concerning filming and editing can remedy this recurring problem.

Another challenge related to the commercialization of the dance forms is the loss of spontaneous performance. In a cipher, a circular dance space which forms naturally once the dancing begins, the dancers can direct their performance in various directions, uninhibited and free from all counts and cues. This freedom is the key to creativity since the dancer is constantly challenged with variations in music, an undefined dance space and potential opponents among the audience. The transition from cipher to stage has had its effects on the dancers and their craft.

What was once improvisational forms of expression with spontaneous vocabulary became choreography in a staged setting. A stage performance creates boundaries and can restrict the free flowing process of improvisation. The dancers are challenged in a different way. Nailing cues and choreography becomes the objective.

Another major difference between the original dance forms and staged versions is the positioning of the audience, since most traditional theaters have the audience facing the stage in one direction. Having to entertain an audience in one general location requires the dancer or choreographer to consciously space the performance allowing the best viewing of the dance. In order to preserve the true essence and dynamics of these dance forms, they should exist as a social and cultural reality celebrated in their natural environments i.e.: jams, events, clubs, etc. Theatrical film and video productions can be used as vehicles for their preservation as long as the essence of the form isn’t compromised and diluted in the process.

The same concern applies to the story lines and scripts pertaining to the dance’s forms and history. The mixing and blending of popping, locking, b-boying/girling, and Brooklyn uprocking into one form destroys their individual structures. Unfortunately the younger generations of dancers either haven’t made enough effort to learn each dance form properly, or lack the resources to do so. However the outcome is the same: hybrid dances with unclear form and structure.

In addition, each of the dance forms are performed best with their appropriate musical influences. Intermixing dance forms and their music forms dissolves their structures and ultimately destroys their identities. Dancing on beat is most important. Riding the rhythm makes the difference between dance and unstructured movement. The formula is simple, submission to the music allowing it to guide and direct equals dancing.

Finally, the best way to preserve the dances is by learning from the earliest available sources or a devoted practitioner of the form. The pioneers of these dance forms hold the key to the history and intentions of the movement. They remain the highest authorities regardless of other opinions or assumptions.

Unraveling the history of locking, popping, b-boying/girling and Brooklyn uprocking takes us towards a true understanding of their essence and significance in the world today. Many other genres of dance have borrowed without giving credit to their rightful owners. Hopefully, we will see the day when these dances are clearly distinguished and given their due respect. Every so often, the dance world is introduced to innovations which revolutionize the arts. In summary, the hip-hop and west coast funk movements have succeeded in replenishing the world with new exciting dance forms which entertain and change the lives of many people worldwide.



This article was commissioned by the Rock-N-Roll Hall of Fame and originally appeared on this website in 1999
For more information on Hip Hop Pioneer Popmaster Fabel contact him at toolsofwar@aol.com

Kevin Powell: Kool Herc, Hip Hop and Healthcare

WRITER’S NOTE: Please visit this site right away to learn more about Kool Herc and how you can support him during his time of medical challenges: http://www.djkoolherc.com/

Click HERE to listen to our Hard Knock Radio interview w/ Kevin Powell

I can’t even remember the first instance I heard the name “Kool Herc,” but I am fairly certain it was during the mid to late 1980s. Ronald Reagan was president, Jesse Jackson was, well, different, a new jack filmmaker named Spike Lee was stirring the pot called Hollywood, and I was a young and avid “hiphop head.”

Ever since I digested the boom-bap strands of hiphop in the late 1970s in my native Jersey City, New Jersey (my hometown’s local hiphop heroes was a crew called Sweet, Slick, and Sly) I was hooked. The Sugar Hill Gang’s landmark song “Rapper’s Delight,” which I would later learn plagiarized lyrics from Grandmaster Caz of the legendary Cold Crush Brothers, was the shot heard ‘round the world. Kurtis Blow was hiphop’s first solo superstar. Afrika Bambaataa was the spiritual and musical emissary from funk and soul to hiphop. Grandmaster Flash and The Furious Five spoke so poignantly to my then-ghetto existence that I cried, hard, the first time I heard “The Message.” And Run-DMC was for us bboys and bgirls what The Beatles had been for screaming White teens two decades earlier.

Fitted Lee Jeans with stitched creases, suede Pumas, Le Tigre shirts, Kangols, name belts, baseball caps with sketched designs in the front folded on top with paper stuffed inside thus the caps floated on our heads like royal crowns, magic markers in our front or back pockets so we could tag our names here there everywhere (my tag was my nickname, “kepo1”), and so many of us popping locking breaking moonwalking doing the Pee Wee Herman the trot the wop the smurf the running man. We had no idea we were in the middle of a cultural revolution, but that is exactly what it was. And I am sure most of us did not know it was Kool Herc who kick-started the whole thing.

Right after my high school years I left Jersey City and went to college at Rutgers University where I would stumble upon the anti-apartheid movement, Black and Latino history in ways I had never contemplated previously, an upper class student named Lisa Williamson who would later change her name to Sister Souljah, and a spirit of activism that has been with me ever since. Indeed, we did not call it “hiphop activism” back then, but that is precisely what folks like myself, Souljah, Ras Baraka, April Silver, and many other Black and Latino babies of the Civil Rights Movement were doing, to a hiphop beat. Organizing in welfare hotels in mid-town Manhattan; building a summer camp for poor youth in North Carolina; re-registering voters in the Deep South; marching against police brutality here there everywhere; and staging state of the youth rallies and concerts in Harlem and Brooklyn.

It was somewhere between my trips to clubs with names like The Rooftop, Union Square, and Funhouse, and that work as a youth and student organizer, that his name first pushed its way into my consciousness:

Kool Herc, the father of hiphop—

But the details were sketchy at best:

Born in Jamaica as Clive Campbell.

Came to America in the late 1960s, on the heels of the Civil Rights Movement.

Heavily influenced by great artists of the funk and soul era, including James Brown.

Lived in The Bronx, one of New York City’s five boroughs, and the birthplace of hiphop culture.

Earned his nickname, “Hercules,” because of his height, frame, and demeanor on the basketball court as a youth. It was later shortened to Herc. And DJ Kool Herc & The Herculoids would become one of the early groundbreaking hiphop acts.

Along with Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash widely considered the founding fathers, and the holy trinity of hiphop.

Generally credited with creating “the break beat” in the early 1970s, a djing technique that forms a critical foundation for hiphop music.

And that is essentially what I would know until far into the 1990s, when I first met Kool Herc in person at one or another hiphop program attempting to make hiphop into the political movement it never was, and that it will never be.

For hiphop is a cultural movement with political roots and political overtones, no question, but I have always been clear, even as a youth, that leaders have to emerge from hiphop’s multiple generations who, while nurtured on hiphop culture, must engage and work with the artists and iconic figures of our day just the way, say, Malcolm X engaged Sam Cooke, Maya Angelou, and Muhammad Ali or Martin Luther King, Jr. engaged Aretha Franklin and Harry Belafonte. Artists, cultural icons, can highlight, reflect, and support a movement, but those of us with real organizing skills and consistent activist mindsets must be the ones to make movements happen. The artists inspire activists to do what we do, and we activists inspire the artists to do what they do. And every now and then a great artist also happens to also be a great activist. (Think of Bono of the rock group U2, or Chuck D, front man for Public Enemy.)

That, for sure, is what we were doing in the late 1980s and early 1990s here in New York City, and in other parts of America. Making a movement go as we connected with everyone from LL Cool J and MC Lyte to Doug E Fresh and Ice Cube. But somewhere things went awry, many of us young activists fell off and out of the work for the people, and what we thought was a burgeoning social movement for change, fueled by hiphop, got decimated by a shift in what the corporations were suddenly permitting to be marketed and sold, with enthusiasm. Or not.

In other words, ever since the early 1990s we’ve had those of us who represent hiphop culture, with its five core elements (djing, mcing, dancing, graffiti writing, and knowledge). And then there is the hiphop industry, the bastard child of the culture, manipulated, twisted, and bent out of shape by a few corporations more interested in a dollar bill than the holistic development and natural growth of this art form. That is why we’ve been bombarded with over-the-top cursing and use of the N word, glorified violence, sexism and a ruthless disrespect for women and girls, excessive materialism, and soft porn and gangsterism passing as music videos for far too long. I am a writer, an artist myself, so I do not believe in censorship in any form. I am also a history buff, so I know full well our society is riddled with racism, sexism, violence, anti-intellectualism, and materialism, and that hiphop did not create any of these things. Hiphop, being the dominant cultural expression it is, simply is the most immediate and accessible frame flashing, 100 beats per minute, what is very wrong in too many to count American ‘hoods, both urban and suburban.

B-fresh photography

Likewise, what I do believe is missing is balance. Yes, I am absolutely clear that hiphop is a multicultural movement, belonging to people of all races, ethnicities, cultures, throughout the globe. And I love that I have come across, say, Israeli and Palestinian hiphoppers using the music to talk peace, or Italian, German, or French hiphoppers learning English via the music, or South African or Latin American hiphoppers using it as a tool for social change, or Asian American hiphoppers in California who love, embrace, and represent the culture far more than the offspring of the founders do. But the harsh reality is that the images we see, the sagas of mayhem we hear most, are of Black and Latino people. This is not just damaging to our psyches, just as crack cocaine was, but it is damaging to our spirits. And we’ve become stuck in a very vicious cycle where I sometimes wonder how many of us truly grasp that there is nothing wrong with rhyming about the ghetto, about parties and material things, if we also are expanding our worldviews enough to discuss other concerns, too. But that can’t happen if specific gatekeepers in the industry game block that kind of personal and cultural evolution from occurring.

A Lil’ Wayne, talented and fascinating as he is, is put on a mighty big pedestal because he is not really saying much at all and has become a cartoonish figure merely there for entertainment and shock value. Meanwhile, someone as intelligent and insightful as a Talib Kweli has to grind, hard, just for airplay, gigs, and our Twitter attention spans. As long as that kind of awful imbalance exists, then you can bet your bottom buck that Kool Herc and every other hiphop pioneer are not a part of conversations around the state of hiphop, the culture or the industry.

And just as there is a huge gap between older folks who know and can speak to the social struggles of bygone eras and the youth who often do not know those tales, there too is a huge gap between we heads who understand the history and traditions of hiphop, and those who actually believe it must’ve begun with Tupac or The Notorious B.I.G. I wish I were exaggerating, but the things I have heard in my travels across America about what hiphop is or is not are often, at best, numbing. No fault of our own, it is simply not taught in the schools, as it should be at this point. And God knows very few grade or high schools, or colleges or universities, ever consider bringing a living, breathing hiphop legend in to guest lecture, to be an artist in residence, especially given how much hiphop music and culture have penetrated every single crevice of American society.

And that is why quite a few who claim to love and be hiphop do not even know who Kool Herc is. And why those who have benefited, culturally, spiritually, and, yes, monetarily, have rarely engaged him from this thing we call hiphop. And this thing called hiphop, which was, for the most part, created by poor, working-class African Americans, West Indians, and Latinos in New York City, with a parallel energy generated by Latinos and Black on the West Coast in the 1970s, is now a multi-billion dollar global industry, and the dominant cultural expression on the planet for 30plus years and counting.

Afrika Bambaataa & Kool Herc credit Ernie Paniciolli

That, I imagine, is why Kool Herc and other pioneers of hiphop have always made it a point to stand up at various hiphop-related events and state who they are—sometimes with love and respect, sometimes with shades of bitterness and resentment framing the edges of their mouths—because if they do not, then they would remain largely invisible, or completely ignored. Think about how, for example, Black basketball trailblazers from back in the day, the ones documented in that great ESPN film “Black Magic,” must feel when they hear of the millions a LeBron James can command because of the sweat and blood equity they put in when there was no cable television, no endorsement deals, and these players were just as likely to be the victims of racial injustices as cheers.

As a matter of fact, I recall when I curated the very first exhibit on the history of hiphop culture in America, at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1999, I encountered this kind of weariness, born of years of neglect, on numerous occasions. But I also remember the great joy many of these hiphop legends displayed because they were being recognized for their contributions. Unfortunately, that exhibit was so woefully under-funded, that we had to scrape together sponsors as best we could just to mount the show and fly pioneers there. For all the billions of dollars hiphop has made our economy and certain corporate giants, the great irony is how some still don’t view it as a legitimate art form, then and now. Regardless, as you can imagine, it was profoundly moving to meet, one by one, the architects of hiphop. Folks with names like Lady Pink, Popmaster Fabel, Lee Quinones, and an army of others. But the one person who always had the greatest mystique around him, without question, was Kool Herc.

For the record, we need to understand that Kool Herc is to hiphop what individuals like Big Mama Thornton, Louis Jordan, Chuck Berry, and Little Richard are to the history of rock and roll. Or what Jelly Roll Morton and The Creole Band are to jazz: visionary figures that far ahead of their time that they have been taken for granted, save a handful of diehard fans and historians.

And therein lies the enormous dilemma of Kool Herc’s current health condition. According to his sister Cindy Campbell who, as long as I can remember, has always been there supporting the legacy of her brother, Herc was hospitalized last October. He has serious kidney stones and they must be removed. $10,000 worth of medical bills have been piled up, and there is a need, according to Cindy, to raise at least $25,000 to cover expenses tied to this very necessary surgical procedure.

And Kool Herc, founding father of hiphop, is like so many dwelling in America: He does not have health insurance. Kool Herc makes his living djing and speaking, but he undoubtedly has not been treated in the way rock and jazz heroes and sheroes are treated.

Moreover, such a twisted paradox, this theme of Kool Herc’s lack of healthcare coverage, as we watch lawsuit after lawsuit being filed, throughout our nation, to dismantle President Obama’s historic legislation. And the Republican-dominated House of Representatives has already voted to repeal the president’s healthcare reform. Although that will not happen in the Democratic-controlled Senate chamber, the House vote is, assuredly, part of a long-term strategy aimed at undermining and derailing our president’s legislation.

To put this in a different context, as Kool Herc was setting foot in America in the late 1960s, Dr. King was publicly condemning the war in Vietnam and ultimately calling for “a poor people’s campaign.” For Dr. King understood that true democracy could never be fully realized in America if each and every one of us did not have access to the most basic of needs, including a quality education, a decent place to live, an opportunity to work, and the ability to get help if we were to take ill.

Dr. King was assassinated, and as quickly as major civil rights victories were won, conservative forces moved to dismantle or destroy them. That is why I always say to those critical of hiphop to keep in mind that if Kool Herc and others had not created this art form in the first place, there would be even more Blacks and Latinos, especially, who are unemployed, on the streets committing crimes, in jail, and without healthcare, or without anyone to petition for us to get help as hiphop icon DJ Premiere initially did for Kool Herc.

Cindy Campbell

“Herc wants to use this to bring awareness, not just about healthcare,” says Cindy Campbell. She adds: “There are so many other hiphop legends in similar situations, but they are not Kool Herc, so no one is going to rally around them. We want to create a foundation, a union, a fund, that makes sure these pioneers are protected in their time of need.”

And that is what we who truly care need to do. I have been bombarded with facebook messages and tweets from individuals not only angry and disturbed that Kool Herc is in this position, but also that certain hiphop luminaries are not moving, quickly or at all, to cover Herc’s medical bills. Names are being called. And hiphop moguls and superstars are being denigrated publicly. I personally don’t think that is the way to go. If the wealthy in hiphop America want to step up, they will. I hope they do, but I am not expecting much at this point given how much our culture has deteriorated into a space of spiritual imbalance and extreme individualism at the expense of the larger hiphop world. When any people, community, or culture has been dumbed down that much by forces beyond our comprehension, then it is not difficult to get why someone as valuable as a Kool Herc is as easily discarded as one’s last text message, or one’s last order of fast food.

Thus, what would be much more effective is, again, that permanent fund or foundation to support hiphop pioneers and classic hiphop artists just like we see with other genres of popular music. That way we never again have one of our legends sitting without healthcare as they make their way through their 50s, 60s, and beyond.

Additionally, I echo Cindy’s contention that hiphop, after all these years, needs to be recognized by our country, on a federal level, for the great cultural contributions it has made to America, and to the planet. No Kool Herc, no hiphop, and there would be no Queen Latifah, no Will Smith, no Jay-Z, no Russell Simmons, no Eminem, no mass popularity of professional basketball, no swagger to President Obama’s walk, no street teams as a marketing concept, and no spice to our American vocab (Do we really think catchphrases like “I’m good” just fall from the sky?).

Similarly, my friend, Toni Blackman, is not only one of the best freestyle rappers in the world, but she has made a career of being an American cultural ambassador, traveling from nation to nation, as a hiphop artist, crossing boundaries in the same way that American jazz musicians, for years, have done with the U.S. State Department.

Imagine if someone in Washington acknowledges our hiphop legends for their cultural contributions. It would be the path to truly honoring and recognizing a Kool Herc, an Afrika Bambaataa, a Grandmaster Flash, a Cold Crush Brothers, a Rock Steady Crew, a Universal Zulu Nation, an Ernie Paniciolli (the dean of hiphop photographers), and the numerous founding fathers and mothers of hiphop culture.

By treating them like the national treasures that they are—

Kevin Powell is a public speaker, activist, and author or editor of 10 books, including Open Letters to America (Soft Skull). Kevin was a 2010 Democratic candidate for the United States Congress in New York City. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, and can be emailed at kevin@kevinpowell.net.

August 11 1973: We Celebrate Hip Hop’s Birthday: The Kool Herc Story

Here is the Kool Herc Story from the movie The History of Rap. Widely know as the Father of Hip Hop, Kool DJ Herc was the catalyst to a whole new movement called Hip Hop. The History of Rap Movie was Written and Produced by Kurtis Blow Walker. Co-Produced by Grandmaster Flash, DJ Hollywood and Lovebug Starksi. Directed by Tommy Sowards. Edited by Jochen Hasmanis and Kurtis Blow Walker. For your very own promo copy of the film email us at kbkrushgroove@aol.com.


DJ Kool Herc

Below are several other interviews and documentaries snippets that celebrate Hip Hop’s History.. Here’s one from the late Malcolm McCalren


We caught up w/ Cindy Campbell who we consider to be the first lady of Hip Hop. We talked to her about the work she’s done on behalf of her brother Hip Hop pioneer DJ Kool Herc. We talk to her about what took place August 11 1973 at 1520 Sedgwick Ave which was home to the first Hip Hop party.

Cindy explains that the party started out as a fundraiser for her to get some school clothes. She talked about how they actually had Old E 800 and Colt 45 being sold there and how it was a 25 cent for women and 50 cent for guys.. They made 500 bucks

She also explained how she herself brought slow jam records for her brother to spin..

Cindy also talks about other deals she’s done for her brother including how she talked Harry belafonte into making sure Herc’s character was positive in the movie Beat Street.


Here’s our 2005 landmark Breakdown FM interview we did with Kool Herc. He gives a brilliant history lesson on the early days of this culture..

http://www.swift.fm/mrdaveyd/song/56812/ pt1

He gave us an indepth run down of Hip Hop in the early days. He speaks about the early party scene and talks about how he and sister Cindy made history when they threw a back to school party at 1520 Sedgwick Ave in the Bronx.

He talks about how he used to be a grafitti artist and how his sister had his back and sheilded him from the wrath of his strict father who would’ve whupped that butt if he knew his son was defacing New York City property.

Kool Herc also lets us know that Hip Hop did not start in the South Bronx as is often erroneously reported. Herc never lived in the South Bronx, he lived in the West bronx which is a totally different area.

In this interview Kool Herc talks about his Jamaican background. He talks about how he grew up in the same township as Bob Marley and he explains how and why Jamaican culture is an important root within Hip Hop.


We continue our interview with Hip Hop’s Father-DJ Kool Herc. Here in part 2 he breaks down which legendary rappers would be on his all-time dream team.. One of the more interesting choices is Pebbly-Poo who was down with Masterdon and one of Hip Hop’s first dominating female figures. Herc also explained how Pebbly-Poo was so dope that he made her a part of the Herculoids.

Herc really goes into depth about the Sugar Hill Gang and the controversy surrounding group member Big Bank Hank. He talks about how Hank lived in the same neighborhood with him and that he tried not to get involved with the beef Grand Master Caz had with him over the rhymes Hank bit…

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

When Hip Hop Came Together to Close the Crack House w/ X-Clan-(It Was One of Many Battles Against Chemical Warfare)


People have often talked about fighting wars using biological and chemical weapons. We came after Hitler for using them. We came after Saddam Hussein for using them. Sadly no one ever came after those who flooded urban communities during the 1980s and into the 90s with Crack. If this wasn’t a weapon of mass destruction, I don’t know what was.. One thing I can say about Hip Hop is that early on it confronted the problem.. Kool Moe Dee dropped a dope song called ‘Monster Crack’ in 1986..

Before him, we heard Cracked Out by Masters of Ceremony featuring a young Grand Puba who later went on to be a part of Brand Nubian.. Of course we all know the joint from Public Enemy ‘Night of the Living Bassheads which featured the debut of a young actor named Samuel Jackson.

Another landmark song ‘Batterram‘ came from West Coast Legend Toddy Tee.. who responded to the hateful orders of LA Police Chief Darryl Gates to use an armored tank with battering ram to break into fortified crack houses in hood. On more than one occasions, police got the wrong address and broke down the wrong house..

We also cannot forget Donald D who was one of the first rap artists to come out and blame the FBI for crack in the Hood. This Rhyme Syndicate member had a song called F.B.I. which stood for Free Base Institute.  Before people got into crack, they free based cocaine..

A west coast anthem addressing this scourge was Dope Man by NWA..which gave keen insight into what was going on at the time.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqECIKQaPBk  Bay Area pioneer Too Short’s ‘Girl’ was another early joint  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImviIbqI-8Q

In the same vein an anthem song that addressed cocaine and not crack was White Lines by Grandmaster Flash and Furuious Five. It was supposed to be an anti-drug song, but unfortunately many took it to be an endorsement of the popular drug.

Sadly one of the first crack songs I ever heard was one that actually came across as one that advocated smoking crack at least in the hook..It was called Crack it Up by Funkmaster Wiz. In the song Wiz says warns we better not crack it up,  and in hindsight 20 years later we clearly hear it.. At the time..this song was an all out anthem that suggested we go for it.. For many its hard to believe Hip Hop went there, but let’s be honest, back in the early pioneering days it wasn’t unusual to hear popular artist of the day shout to high school folks, ‘If you snort cocaine- say yeah”

The song that really stood out for me but was definitely underplayed was this posse cut, done in the same spirit of  ‘Stop the Violence’ and ‘We’re All in the Same Gang’. This was done by X-Clan leader Professor X. It was a 1993 joint called ‘Close the Crackhouse’ and featured an Allstar line up of  Professor X, BrotherJ, Wise Intelligent, Big Daddy Kane, Digital Underground, Ex-Girlfriend, Chuck D, Sister Souljah, Mickey Jarret, Freedom Williams from C&C Music Factory and 2 Kings and a Cypher.


 Kool Moe Dee ‘Monster Crack’


Public Enemy ‘Night of the Living Bassheads’.. This video is deep on so many levels..especially how they showed just how widespread the problem was.. from Wall Street to the Hood. I also like how they did this video as a news report..


Donald D ‘FBI’

Toddy Tee ‘Batterram’

Funkmaster Wiz ‘Crack It Up’… Can you believe there was a song that actually advocated for crack? When this song first came out the chorus was an affirmative ‘Crack It Up’.. Funkmaster Wiz claimed it was anti-crack song, but the hook left everyone believing it was a pro crack song.. People complained and Funkmaster Wiz went back in the studio and tried to clean up the song by putting the phrase ‘Ya better Not’.. Over the past year or so, the original version has been scrubbed from Youtube and whats left is the anti-crack version..


Here is a excerpt of the original version.. You can see how folks concluded it was a pro-crack song..

Mele-Mel– doing a live performance of White Lines..

Masters of Ceremony ‘Cracked Out’


Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Rap & Rock Come Together Again w/Street Sweeper Social Club



Boots Riley and Tom Morello Step Up and Get Busy on  Jimmy Fallon

by Davey D

Boots Riley & Tom Morello Street Sweeper Social Club falls in a long line of rap and rco artists teaming up and wrecking shop.

Boots Riley & Tom Morello Street Sweeper Social Club falls in a long line of rap and rco artists teaming up and wrecking shop.

We tip our hats to Boots Riley of the Coup and Tom Morello of  Rage Against the Machine. As you know the pair came together to form the Street Sweepers Social Club and their new album was released earlier this week. Last night they appeared on the Jimmy Fallon show and got busy.  For those of us who’ve known Boots over the years. It was the first time we’ve seen him get busy on the dance tip..LOL The video says it all

On another note.. we keep hearing conversations about how its cool to see artists like Boots moving into Rock-N-Roll. I guess one of the reasons this convo been surfacing is because we recently had Lil Wayne rolling out in that direction and so for many this appears to be a new thing. I guess people forgot about Ice T and his rock band Body Count..and their dope song Cop Killer LOL 

We just have to remind people nothing could be further from the truth. Hip Hop artists merging with rock has been going on from day one.

And when I say ‘day one’ I mean years before Run DMC hooked up with Aerosmith  to do a remake of  ‘Walk This Way’. In fact one of the reasons why Run DMC even agreed to help save the careers of Aerosmith who ironicly were flioundering at that time was because  the drum beat to that song had long been used as a popular break beat back in Hip Hop’s pioneering days. 

I recall Jam Master Jay talking about how the original versions of the remake had a much harder hip hop feel. It was more percussion based with the guitar riffs being used to add flavor.  At the time the trio did the song Jay wanted to take it back to the early days of Hip Hop and have it reflected in the song. This meant that Aerosmith’s role would’ve been limited.  It would’ve been all about the drums. 

I don’t know if it was good thing or not, but the powers that be intervened and pushed to make Walk this Way more of a rock song and the rest is history. Hip Hop officlally meets Rock-N-Roll… Well that’s the MTV version of the Hip Hop history..

Hip Hop and Rock as I said goes way back and before Run DMC teamed up with Aerosmith there was stretch of time where the early pioneers were hooking up with Punk Rockers and New Wave artists.  The most visible examples was Afrika Bambaataa teaming up with Johnny Rotten to do the classic song World Destruction. The collab clearly reflected boths artists taste and love for music.  The other classic was Blondie doing the song Rapture where they shout out Grandmaster Flash and Fab Five Freddy.  Lead singer Debbie Harry herself does the rap and in the video she features graf artists Freddy, Lee Quiones and Jean-Michael Basquiat .  What was interesting about this chart topping song was the NY Daily News had an article where they basically credited Blondie for inventing rap. I was dumfounded.

Fortunately Debby Harry was one of those people who didn’t try to exploit the situation as she often noted Rapture was her way of paying tribute to the block parties she and others used to attend up in the Bronx. She was inspired by Hip Hop and many within Hip Hop were inspired by New Wave Punk scene.  This was reflected in songs like ‘Punk Rock Rap’ by the Cold Crush Brothers or  “Genius Rap’ by Dr Jeckyl & Mr Hyde’  which borrowed from Tom Tom Club’s ‘Genius Of Love’ which was huge hit amongst early Hip Hoppers.

During the pioneering era all sorts of Rrck songs ranging from  Queen‘s Another One Bites the Dust to Billy Squiers ‘Big Beat’ to  Liquid Liquid’s Caravan were all used as break beats. If it had a funky percussion section it got used.  So this notion of  rock and rap is nothing new.  Boots and Tom merrelo are just a continuum in a long line of folks who make good music pushing the envelop and exploring new ways to take things a higher level.

-Davey D-

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