(Photo I took of the DJ Herc mural located on East 166st & Grand Concourse. BX, NYC)
Welcome back Music Lovers! I have some good news to share as even more developments in the world of music and art arise. I took a picture of DJ Kool Herc’s mural because it relates to a News 12, The Bronx story that caught my attention several days ago. I was in the kitchen making a sandwich when I overheard a reporter talking about a new proposal aimed at co-naming Sedgwick Avenue in the Bronx, Hip-Hop Boulevard!! Wow!
As a Bronx resident I had to dig deeper into this story. Why was Sedgwick Ave so important for Hip-Hop’s history? For those readers who don’t know much about Sedgwick Avenue here’s a little history lesson as to why the place holds such an important cultural relevance to Hip-Hop and the world!
Many people including myself have always thought of Hip-Hop as first emerging in the South Bronx in the early 1970s. Well that idea is partly true. According to article written by David Gonzalez entitled, “Will Gentrification Spoil The Birthplace of Hip-Hop?” in The New York Times, Hip-Hop actually got its start in the West Bronx. While some may think of Hip-Hop as officially starting in Harlem or Queens, the residents of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue know better.
(Image from Wikipedia)
Digging through the evidence (check the references below) revealed that the building pictured above, 1520 Sedgwick Avenue is the birthplace of Hip-Hop and Rap , a cultural force that has influenced generations of music fans, DJs and Producers worldwide!
How can this be? Glad you asked!
After hearing the story, I went online and googled 1520 Sedgwick Avenue.
Just north of the Cross Bronx and along the Major Deegan expressway the highrise has a history unknown to many residents of the community. Admittedly, I did not know of the building’s significance until I researched and wrote this piece!
Cincystreetdesign.com provides details concerning the fact that this location was used by DJ Kool Herc to hold a party so grandiose that the epic reverbs of its influence can still be felt today! It was in the community room of 1520 Sedgwick that DJ Kool Herc unleashed the lyrical art form we know as Hip Hop. I can only say that I wish I was at that party to hear DJ Kool Herc and the invention of HipHop, but I wasn’t born yet. 😦
So who is DJ Kool Herc and how did all this start?
(D.J. Kool Herc, at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in the west Bronx. Photo courtesy of The New York Times)
Wikipedia gave me a rundown of relevant info. Born Clive Campbell in Kingston, Jamaica, Herc immigrated to New York City at an early age and was influenced by both American and Jamaican music styles. Using his father’s massive sound system to throw all night block parties, Herc united the community of the West Bronx.
Various sites including Allmusic.com point to Herc’s pioneering DJ technique as the isolation and extension of the drum breaks of funk, disco and soul records to induce high energy rhythms in the patterns of club goers. His signature style consisted of using two copies of the same record to endlessly loop a beat during performances.
Here is a video of DJ Kool Herc decribing how he invented the idea of playing two breaks together. Check it out!
During the drum breaks or the instrumental percussion parts of records the party exploded into new heights of dance fever. Realizing the raw energy that he had created, Herc decided to push the excitement further by drawing on his Jamaican dancehall roots. Herc’s own crew “The Herculoids”, made up of Herc, Coke La Rock, and Clark Kent, would take the opportunity to recite rhymes over the microphone, in the style of Jamaican dancehall toasting, while the breaks played on.
This innovation of rhyming in sync with the break beats gained a following across the five boroughs of New York City and eventually the world.
Those who could pull off the skill of rapping with the beat were given the title of MC or Master of The Ceremonies.
This is how Hip-Hop was born.
To quote the site cincystreetdesign.com “This is where it came from,” said Clive Campbell, pointing to the building’s first-floor community room. “This is it. The culture started here and went around the world. But this is where it came from. Not anyplace else.”
The technique used by Herc in that community room in 1973 extended into nearby parks and streets before turning into an all out global influence.
(Promotion for the party that changed the music world, dated August 11, 1973. Photo from http://www.cincystreetdesign.com)
Flash forward to 2014. On Thursday a street naming proposal is hoped to honor 1520 Sedgwick Avenue as the rightful birthplace of hip-hop music.
According to News 12 The Bronx, local historian Jacob Morris is leading the push to co-name Sedgwick Avenue as Hip-Hop Boulevard. He’s not alone. Morris is getting the support of dozens of Bronx residents who made a request to the Community Board.
Proponents of the idea to co-name Sedgwick Ave claim the world hasn’t been the same since DJ Kool Herc hosted the now-famous house party. News 12 goes on to state that if the community board decides to take up the proposal, it would eventually end up in a vote among all members. Morris says he believes the vote could happen as early as this month.
I love the idea and as a Bronx resident and Hip-Hop lover I want to see the building honored and the avenue co-named. I think the significance of this place must be respected. After all this is where Hip-Hop began, a culture that started from the community of one building and spread around the world. In a word, it is BIG. Hip Hop Boulevard. I dig it!
Marshall, Wayne. “Kool Herc.” In Icons of Hip Hop: An Encyclopedia of the Movement, Music, and Culture, ed. Mickey Hess, 1-26. (Westport, CT: Greenwood, 2007).
Morbid Wonderland – The Art of Ashley L’Amour & JeRm La Haine
Enter An Exciting World Of Art On The Flipside Of Normal
Morbid Wonderland’s page description on Facebook reads, “A page for all things dark and unusual in art, music, fashion, movies, television & theater.” Nothing could be further from the truth and I love it!
I stumbled across this page one afternoon on my quest to search for some cool new art and music. There I was scrolling the net in the library when something odd caught my eye. It was the image above. “Woah!”, I remembered thinking. “This is pretty cool. A world beyond the world we know!”. This an idea that often pops into my dreams and waking hours. I see art as the realization of a mystery world, a world of subconscious feeling trying to break free through signs and symbols.
The art team of Ashley L’Amour & JeRm La Haine create a narrative feast of sensory stimulation for the senses with their visual work. Signs and symbols come to life in their work. In the realm of digital design and artwork they offer their services to anyone looking for promotional art, album art, business cards, performance art and much more. Below you will find a small sampling of their striking work. Check it out!
Did I mention I love the internet? There are so many artists, producers and DJ making valuable contributions to the creative culture, setting trends and inventing new ones that it is awesome when something out of the ordinary sparks curiosity. That is what happened when I discovered this digital playground for the eyes.
In discovering Morbid Wonderland and the art of Ashley L’Amour & JeRm La Haine the visuals invoked a strange otherness that drew me closer. Immediately drawn into a Tim Burton meets Alice in Wonderland type world I was foreigner who made my way through the treasures of this strange and beautiful new world.
Art is life and new artists make new life. In addition to digital design the art duo of L’Amor and JeRm La Haine also offer a selection of custom made masks available for purchase. Known under the name of “Second Skin” ! A world that beckons its viewer to be an active participant in its beautiful mystery. The viewer, the art and the artist become one with the mask. Be sure to click the links below the art to connect with the artists and order your own custom made art mask!
Enjoy and be sure to support the work of artists who make it their mission to bring you fresh modes of expression!
Will you use your mask for a festival, an elegant party, a masquerade ball or a night out? Will you put on a show or hang one on the wall next to other art? The choice is yours.
Yes. You can own these!
These are really, really cool.
I think I’ll take the Jason inspired one! Visit the links and claim your custom made art! My favorite part is of Second Skin masks are that no two masks are the same because each one is crafted by hand with love. This guarantees you an original artwork! Discover more in the links below.
Graphic Designs Link – https://www.facebook.com/AstralVisionDesign
Second Skin Mask Link – https://www.facebook.com/pages/Second-Skin/675238735869770
Morbid Wonderland Link – http://www.facebook.com/morbid.wonderland
MORE FRESH FREE MUSIC! NEW ARTISTS WHO PROVIDE MUSIC FOR THE MASSES!!
From Soundcloud Bio.
“Independent Sub-genre inspiring producer , Electro , soul , jazz , funk , blues , disco , r&b ..that’s what I’m about”
My Take: Truthfully speaking, Fushion picks great tunes to work with. I like his taste in music and his selection. I found myself boppin to his choice cuts. I don’t know why ,but something about the selected cuts and effects used reminded me of Massive Attack at some points in my listening experience. (Love Massive Attack) Good vibes entered my brain when I listened to some of the tunes. Not 100% feeling some of the effects used in these tunes, but overall the vibes were there and it felt good. Dig it, these were the cuts I thought were dope. Give it a listen and a download! Then sit back and enjoy the free tunes. Follow on Soundcloud for more. I’m looking forward to hearing the evolution of this up and coming artist. Respect.
FRESH FREE DJ SET OF THE WEEK – WOW WHAT A SOUND!
DJ Kim Kong’s “Happiness”
As a dj trying to perfect my craft I believe that a pure, crisp, clean sound makes for a better sounding dj or producer. I’m on a quest for choice cuts. I rather listen to a dj that has awesome music, than a super popular dj who is scratching music every five seconds with loaded effects. I dig the tunes and the ambiance. The mood and feeling of music are very important to me, so when I read the title of DJ Kim Kong’s set I expected to feel ‘Happiness”. Good news music lovers, I felt happy listening to this set. Why? Listen and you’ll find out. Trance Ambient Minimal Electro Dance Goodness!!! You gotta check this one out! FREE? HELL YEAH!
From Soundcloud: “Happiness” My new set, recorded live. Trance Ambient Minimal Electro Dance. Download it! Burn it! Share it! Thank you!”
You know my only feeling of sadness listening to this set was not being in the club when DJ Kong dropped it. That’s ok though…I’ll be pumping this mix on my night drive to the city. You inspired my set DJ Kim Kong!
THANK YOU for this feeling! Amazing work! Also check out “Now”
Well that’s all for now! Be sure to check out post 8 next week for more fresh free music and art news. Till next time my fellow music lovers! Viva Good Music!