Monday, November 14, 2011


Afrika Bambaataa´s HIPHOP legacy is allround.
As a NY teenager in the mid-1970's, he joined the Black Spades gang, but already had a different interest than causing trouble. Bam already started deejaying in 1970.
Bam had a passion for buying records (he is known as the "Master of Records") and his tastes were very diversified from rock to r&b to African sounds to Latin, calypso, and classical.  Although Kool Herc was the top DJ at the time, Bam knew he owned most of the same records as Herc so he decided to start playing on his own. Bam´s DJ style is original eclectic which makes him the frontrunner of DJ´s like Real.
His ideological influences ran the gamut of the black political leaders of the time. 

He saw the film Zulu which depicted the battle between British troops and the Zulu tribe in 1879. He took his name "Afrika Bambaataa" which meant "affectionate leader" from the movie.   In 1974 Bam decided to form his own Zulu Nation to help assemble what he referred to as "the elements" of the HIPHOP culture into organisation.  It was a break dance crew at first but then grew to include rappers, deejays, and graffiti artists.

The Zulu DJ's at the time were Bam, Jazzy Jay, Grand Mixer D.ST. (His most influential project was his later work with Herbie Hancock on the seminal jazz/hip hop junction "Rockit" in 1983.  His hands were controlling the scratching for the song. This was the first collaboration between HIPHOP and Jazz that was put on wax), and Afrika Islam. 

In 1982, Bam was part of the first hip hop tour to Europe with among others Fab 5 Freddy (Fab´s name is mentioned and he even features as a graffiti artist in Blondie's music video "Rapture´), Grand Mixer D.ST.,The Rock Steady Crew, the Double Dutch Girls, and graffiti godfathers Phase , Futura, and Dondi.

Bam has been the first Hiphopper to officially collaborate with James Brown (the most sampled artist in HIPHOP. James Brown´s record "Give it Up or Turn it Loose" is considered by many to be the B-boy anthem.) and not just sample his tracks. He is also often credited with naming the urban street culture: HIPHOP.

I witnessed the Afrika Bambaataa stilo when he visited Rotterdam July 2004 to play at the Speedfreax party in Now&Wow.

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