Archive for April 2015

DJ Kool Herc

Kool Herc (Clive Cambell, born in Kingston, Jamaica, in 1955) emigrated to the Bronx in 1967 when he was 12 years old. While attending Alfred E. Smith High School he spent a lot of time in the weight room. That fact coupled with his height spurned the other kids to call him Hercules.

His first deejay gig was as his sister’s birthday party. It was the start of an industry.

1520 Sedgwick Avenue. The address of Herc’s family and the location of the recreation room where he would throw many of his first parties as the DJ.

Herc became aware that although he knew which records would keep the crowd moving, he was more interested in the break section of the song. At this point in a song, the vocals would stop and the beat would just ride for short period. His desire to capture this moment for a longer period of time would be a very important one for hip hop.

Herc would purchase two copies of the same record and play them on separate turntables next to each other. He would play the break beat on one record then throw it over to the other turntable and play the same part. Doing this over and over, he could rock any house in NY. (Not to mention it being an early form of looping that would be made easier through electronic sampling.)

He would dig in crates and look everywhere to find the perfect break beat for his parties. He didn’t care what type of music, because he only needed a small section of a song for his purposes.

His first professional DJ job was at the Twilight Zone in 1973. He wanted to get into another place called the Hevalo, but wasn’t allowed…yet.

His fame grew. In addition to his break beats, Herc also became known as the man with the loudest system around. When he decided to hold a party in one of the parks, it was a crazy event. And a loud one. At this time Afrika Bambaataa and other competing DJ’s began trying to take Herc’s crown. Jazzy Jay of the Zulu Nation recalls one momentous meeting between Herc and Bam.

Herc was late setting up and Bam continued to play longer than he should have. Once Herc was set up he got on the microphone and said “Bambaataa, could you please turn your system down?” Bam’s crew was pumped and told Bam not to do it. So Herc said louder, “Yo, Bambaataa, turn your system down-down-down.” Bam’s crew started cursing Herc until Herc put the full weight of his system up and said, “Bambaataa-baataa -baataa, TURN YOUR SYSTEM DOWN!” And you couldn’t even hear Bam’s set at all. The Zulu crew tried to turn up the juice but it was no use. Everybody just looked at them like, “You should’ve listened to Kool Herc.”

Finally his fame peaked and at last, in 1975, he began working at the Hevalo in the Bronx. He helped coin the phrase b-boy (break boy) and was recently quoted as saying he was “the oldest living b-boy.”
(from oldschoolhiphop.com)

 

www.djkoolherc.com

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