Afrika Bambaataa was homegrown in the Bronx. He is best-known for taking the radical, independent factions of the Hip-Hop lifestyle and organizing it all into an urban music society...and for being the first rapper, ever. In 1984, he worked on the song "Unity" with the recently departed Godfather of Soul, James Brown. (We're gonna miss ya, 'Soul Brother #1.') By mixing block parties with DJs and break-dancers, he synergized all the varying entities of Hip-Hop through his Zulu Nation. The Zulus educated inner-city youth about their history and empowered them to be productive citizens. His ears were open to all types of music as he became a catalyst for blending rhythmic styles from Africa with Funk, Go-Go, Jazz, Reggae, Rock, Salsa and Soca for the first time in music history.
Bambaataa's affiliations included the Rock Steady Crew and Double Dutch Girls. There was also a spray-painting graffiti artist who parlayed his love for 'visual art' into being the host of a popular show that engaged the minds of America's Black and White youth. It ended up changing Rap music history all over the world. Now with a 'retired' can of spray paint, Yo MTV Raps' Fab 5 Freddy was also a key player in the classic film, "New Jack City." There'll be more on that captured moment in time a little later, after we finish up with AfrikaBambaataa (& friends), and dig further into the chapter: there's some real meat in thar! That's what's up.
Afrika Bambaataa became a major music producer in his own right. He spent a lot of time logged in at Tommy Boy Records between 1982 and 2005. While there, he produced a huge hit for the New York club and radio scene, 1982's "Funky Sensation." To me, that song defined a new era of music for both myself and the City of New York. "Funky Sensation" helped to establish a path that many dance music producers followed, well into the new millennium. Another historical Rap label that Bambaataa put some time in with was Profile Records.
Profile was the home of a trio that made music history: Run-DMC and the late Jam Master Jay. Their chronicles defined the next wave of Hip-Hop and fashion by way of brimmed Fedoras, leather pants, blues jeans, and unlaced, Adidas sneakers. During the winter, they sported snorkels with fur around the hood. In New York winters of the 70s, we sported hats like Kangols (still popular) and 'Robin Hoods'(with side feathers) on the dome. Some folks liked toboggins and ski caps for their 'masking' feature. Brooklyn later picked up a pseudonym--Crooklyn. Our 70s fashion also consisted of colorful silk shirts (Versace predecessors), polyester pants with stitched pleats running down the sides called Swedish Knits, and bell-bottom blue jeans with zippers at the foot.To become more data click here King Tha Rapper.
Squares (L-7's) wore no name 'rejects,' but our popular footwear included Converse All-Stars, red, black and green Pro Keds, Pumas (my favorite were rust-colored), PONY's, and shell-toe Adidas. We had interesting acronyms for the latter two brands. "I could tell you, but..." you know the story. Looking back now, I notice that Adidas kept the same body style longer than the Ford Explorer did! My New York winter-wear included snorkels, sheepskins, leathers, 'Maxie' and 'Cortefiel' coats with soft fur on the collar; they were the rage. People got stuck up (ganked) for them, too. I once witnessed someone grab a friend's hat right off his head - as the train doors closed (this guy was quick!)