Afrika Bambaataa on the Origins of Hip-hop, the Perfect Beat, and His Most Treasured Record

Afrika Bambaataa

For those who haven't heard of Afrika Bambaataa, the Godfather of hip-hop, his resume looks something like this:

1969-1971: Warlord, Black Spades, Bronx River Houses, Bronx NY.

Responsibilities included: Tagging turf; crossing enemy lines to forge relationships with other gangs, including the Savage Skulls and the Javelins.

1970-present: DJ, worldwide.

Training: Apprenticed with Kool DJ D and Disco King Mario before promoting parties with gang-neutral dress codes.

Achievements include: Naming hip-hop, the genre; identifying the Four Elements (DJing, MCing, breakdancing, and graffiti writing); expanding the reach of hip-hop through the inclusion of rock, soundtracks, and electronic music; recording landmark electro-funk songs “Planet Rock” and “Looking for the Perfect Beat” (both in 1982).

1973-present: Founder, Universal Zulu Nation.

Responsibilities include: Drafting a charter that incorporated African beliefs, world religion, and equality; expanding the organization worldwide to break down political barriers through music.

Achievements include: Establishing November as Hip-Hop History month.

The prophet Bambaataa brings his interplanetary musical message to Yoshi's S.F. this Saturday. He recently gave us a hip-hop tutorial by phone.

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