August 11 In Hip-Hop History: Hip-Hop Is Born At A Party In The Bronx
By Tony M. Centeno
August 11, 2023
There are numerous elements that led up to the birth of Hip-Hop. Yet, the culture was officially created at a party held inside an apartment building in The Bronx, N.Y. on this day 50 years ago.
On August 11, 1973, Clive Campbell, aka DJ Kool Herc, and his sister Cindy Campbell hosted a back-to-school block party from the recreational room of 1520 Sedgwick Avenue in The Bronx. Kool Herc was the first DJ to use two turntables to separate the breakbeats of popular songs at the time, James Brown’s “Give It Up or Turnit a Loose” and The Incredible Bongo Band’s “Bongo Rock” --- a technique he dubbed “The Merry-Go-Round” technique.
"Hip-Hop started when my father brought a PA system and didn't know how to hook it up," DJ Kool Herc said in a 1989 interview with Davey D. "I was messing around with the music and I started out by buying a few records to play at my house. When I was doing that I saw a lot of kids playing outside in the backyard. My sister asked me to give a party one day. Actually, she wanted me to play at a party [1520 Segdwick Ave] and I went out and got around twenty records that I felt was good enough and we gave a party and charged about twenty five cents to come in and made 300 dollars."
Kool Herc was the first DJ to get on the mic during his mix and rap while shouting out other people in the party. The historic block party was also the launching pad for the other elements of Hip-Hop culture along with the music like graffiti and breakdancing. Herc's skills on the mic and his turntables, which he said originated in his birthplace in Jamaica, went on to inspire plenty of other DJs and artists like Coke La Rock, who is often credited as one of the first MC's of Hip-Hop history.
48 years after the first party in The Bronx, Hip-Hop had grown significantly and produced so many prolific artists that the 117th Congress finally recognized August 11 as "Hip-Hop Celebration Day" and the month of August as "Hip-Hop Recognition Month." The Senate also designated the month of November as "Hip Hop History Month."
In honor of the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop, the most iconic names in the rap game take the stage at the largest venue in its birthplace for "Hip Hop 50 Live" at Yankee Stadium. DJ Kool Herc, Run-D.M.C., Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne, Ice Cube, Fat Joe, A Boogie Wit da Hoodie, Trina and more are set to honor the genre's legacy during a massive concert.
Happy Birthday Hip-Hop!