On This Day, August 11, 1973 – Hip Hop Music Busts Out of the Bronx

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1973 – Like any style of music, hip hop has roots in other forms, and its evolution was shaped by many different artists, but there’s a case to be made that it came to life precisely on this day in 1973, at a birthday party in the recreation room of an apartment building in the west Bronx, New York City. The location of that birthplace was 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, and the man who presided over that historic party was the birthday girl’s brother, Clive Campbell — better known to history as DJ Kool Herc, founding father of hip hop.

Born and raised to the age of 10 in Kingston, Jamaica, DJ Kool Herc began spinning records at parties and between sets his father’s band played while he was a teenager in the Bronx in the early 1970s. Herc often emulated the style of Jamaican “selectors” (DJs) by “toasting” (i.e., talking) over the records he spun, but his historical significance has nothing to do with rapping. Kool Herc’s contribution to hip hop was even more fundamental.

DJ Kool Herc’s signature innovation came from observing how the crowds would react to different parts of whatever record he happened to be playing: “I was noticing people used to wait for particular parts of the record to dance, maybe [to] do their specialty move.” Those moments tended to occur at the drum breaks—the moments in a record when the vocals and other instruments would drop out completely for a measure or two of pure rhythm. What Kool Herc decided to do was to use the two turntables in a typical DJ setup not as a way to make a smooth transition between two records, but as a way to switch back and forth repeatedly between two copies of the same record, extending the short drum break that the crowd most wanted to hear. He called his trick the Merry Go-Round. Today, it is known as the “break beat.”

By the summer of 1973, DJ Kool Herc had been using and refining his break-beat style for the better part of a year. His sister’s party on August 11, however, put him before his biggest crowd ever and with the most powerful sound system he’d ever worked. It was the success of that party that would begin a grassroots musical revolution, fully six years before the term “hip hop” even entered the popular vocabulary.


1860 – The first successful silver mill in America began operations. The mill was in Virginia City, NV.

1877 – The two moons of Mars were discovered by Asaph Hall, an American astronomer. He named them Phobos and Deimos.

1896 – Harvey Hubbell received a patent for the electric light bulb socket with a pull-chain.

1909 – The American ship Arapahoe became the first to ever use the SOS distress signal off the coast of Cape Hatteras, NC.

1924 – Newsreel pictures were taken of U.S. presidential candidates for the first time.

1934 – Alcatraz, in San Francisco Bay, received federal prisoners for the first time.

1941 – The Atlantic Charter was signed by U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

1942 – During World War II, Pierre Laval publicly announced “the hour of liberation for France is the hour when Germany wins the war.”

1945 – The Allies informed Japan that they would determine Emperor Hirohito’s future status after Japan’s surrender.

1951 – The first major league baseball game to be televised in color was broadcast. The Brooklyn Dodgers defeated the Boston Braves 8-1.

1954 – Seven years of fighting came to an end in Indochina. A formal peace was in place for the French and the Communist Vietminh.

1962 – Andrian Nikolayev, of the Soviet Union, was launched on a 94-hour flight. He was the third Russian to go into space.

1965 – The U.S. conducted a second launch of “Surveyor-SD 2” for a landing on the Moon surface test.

1971 – Harmon Killebrew of the Minnesota Twins got his 500th and 501st home runs of his major league baseball career.

1975 – The U.S. vetoed the proposed admission of North and South Vietnam to the United Nations. The Security Counsel had already refused to consider South Korea’s application.

1984 – Carl Lewis won his fourth gold medal in the 1984 Summer Olympics.


13th May 1982: Ronald Reagan, American President, holding a press conference at the White House, Washington. (Photo by Gene Forte/Central Press/CNP/Getty Images)

1984 – U.S. President Ronald Reagan was preparing for his weekly radio broadcast when, during testing of the microphone, the President said of the Soviet Union, “My fellow Americans, I am pleased to tell you that I just signed legislation that would outlaw Russia forever. We begin bombing in five minutes.”


1984 – The Cincinnati Reds honored major league All-Star and Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench by retiring his uniform (#5).

1991 – The space shuttle Atlantis ended its nine-day journey by landing safely.

1992 – In Bloomington, MN, the Mall of America opened. It was the largest shopping mall in the United States.

1994 – A U.S. federal jury awarded $286.8 million to about 10,000 commercial fishermen for losses as a result of the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill.

1995 – All U.S. nuclear tests were banned by President Bill Clinton.

1997 – U.S. President Clinton made the first use of the line-item veto approved by Congress, rejecting three items in spending and tax bills.

1998 – British Petroleum became No. 3 among oil companies with the $49 billion purchase of Amoco. It was the largest foreign takeover of a U.S. company.

 

Source: On-This-Day.com; History.com