When Clive Campbell aka DJ Kool Herc hosted a Back to School Jam for his sister, Cindy Campbell, at 1520 Sedgwick Avenue on August 11, 1973, he had no way of knowing that this would mark the official birthplace of hip hop culture.
At the party, Kool Herc used two turntables to isolate the breakbeats of popular records like James Brown’s “Give It Up or Turnit a Loose” and The Incredible Bongo Band’s “Bongo Rock.” The Jamaican-American DJ termed this technique “the Merry-Go-Round” and is considered the origin of DJing and production.
A couple of years after Kool Herc popularised extending record breakbeats, DJ Hollywood, who hailed from Harlem, came up with the idea of rapping Isaac Haye’s lyrics from “Good Love 6-9969” over the percussion section of MFSB’s “Love is the Message.”
It was the first time anyone who ever rapped entire lyrics over a record. Before Hollywood, DJs would usually shout out refrains like “Rock on, my mellow”, “To the beat, y’all,” or “You don’t stop.” This was a game-changing moment for hip hop as it now brought the rapping aspect to the forefront of the music.
DJ Hollywood: Nobody was doin’ the turntables and the microphone before me. Nobody. Don’t get me wrong, they had people [who] rapped before me—syncopated and unsyncopated. I can’t take nothin’ away from people like Oscar Brown Jr., Pigmeat Markham, the Last Poets, Gil Scott Heron, the Watts Prophets, Rudy Ray Moore, I used to listen to all of ‘em. I can’t take nothin’ from none of ‘em, but none of ‘em was doin’ what I was doin’ with the turntables and a mic.DJ Hollywood: The Original King of New York | Medium
Coke La Rock was the first to MC for Kool Herc