Happy Birthday Hip Hop! Born in the Bronx on August 11th in 1973, hip hop made it’s way into the world with a new and exciting beat. And as Tupac famously said in Changes, “things will never be the same.” Hip hop was and is, not only a genre of music. It’s a movement, a celebration, a voice, a culture. According to the 50th anniversary of hip hop website: “Celebrations will be held all around the world to uplift and honor every aspect of Hip Hop culture. From concerts and tours to battles, competitions and exhibitions, all of your favorite DJs, MCs, Breakdancers, Beatboxers, Graffiti artists and more will show up and show out to make this golden anniversary of Hip Hop culture the most extraordinary year yet.”
Hip Hop History
History has it, that hip hop was born on August 11, 1973 at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the west Bronx. It was at a Back To School Jam in the rec room of an apartment building at that address. The host of the party? Clive Campbell, better known as DJ Kool Herc, the founding father of hip hop. Herc’s sister Cindy had a job at the time that didn’t pay enough for her to get the clothes she wanted for school. So to make money, they charged $0.25 for girls and $0.50 for boys. Refreshments were $0.50 for a soda, $0.75 for a hot dog, and $1.00 for Olde English or Colt 45 malt liquor. What a time! Here’s the complete story of that original party.
The roots, and subsequent history of hip hop, run deeper than can be completely told here. Some great resources for a deeper dive include:
- How Do You Tell the Story of 50 Years of Hip Hop? from the NY Times
- Hip Hop History: From The Streets To The Mainstream at Icon Collective
- Ladies First: A Story of Women in Hip Hop on Netflix
- Hip-Hop: A Culture of Vision and Voice from The Kennedy Center
The 50th Anniversary of hip hop: The influence
The global influence of hip hop can not be overstated. Hip hop culture has not only shaped music styles. It’s affected language, dance, technology, art, and fashion. Even education, politics, and media have been influenced by hip hop. Here’s a great article on 25 Things Influenced By Hip Hop Culture.
Boston and hip hop
While Boston may not always be mentioned in the forefront of discussions around hip hop history, we can’t be denied. Boston artists past, present, and future have, and will, be a huge part of the fabric of the genre, and this city we call home.
As we celebrate the 50th Anniversary of Hip Hop, we wanted to hear from some of the Boston artists who have, and continue to, ensure that Boston is on the map of the hip hop landscape. We asked them one simple question, “What does hip hop mean to you?” Their answers, as expected, were inspiring, thoughtful, soul-stirring, and relatable. For them, and many of us, hip hop has been a lifesaver, a comfort, an expression, a release.
Happy Birthday Hip Hop! You are deeply loved.