… a member of the Caribbean Diaspora – Jamaica – may have changed the world … for Hip Hop. On this day in 1973, Clive Campbell – better known to history as DJ Kool Herc – helped out his sister by “DJ-ing” her birthday party in a recreation room in The Bronx. History shows that he used his inspiration and influence from his Caribbean musical roots to innovate a music style and performance that would subsequently change the world … for good …
… or bad.
It’s music; you be the judge.
Musical taste is like “beauty” … in the “eye of the beholder”. The main thing is that the music made you listen and maybe learned something about the urban experience of America … and now the world.
See the story of Clive Campbell aka DJ Kool Herc here:
Title: This Day In History: 1973 – Hip Hop is born at a birthday party in the Bronx
Like any style of music, hip hop has roots in other forms, and its evolution was shaped by many different artists, but there’s a case to be made that it came to life precisely on this day in 1973, at a birthday party in the recreation room of an apartment building in the west Bronx, New York City. The location of that birthplace was 1520 Sedgwick Avenue, and the man who presided over that historic party was the birthday girl’s brother, Clive Campbell—better known to history as DJ Kool Herc, founding father of hip hop.
Born and raised to the age of 10 in Kingston, Jamaica, DJ Kool Herc began spinning records at parties and between sets his father’s band played while he was a teenager in the Bronx in the early 1970s. Herc often emulated the style of Jamaican “selectors” (DJs) by “toasting” (i.e., talking) over the records he spun, but his historical significance has nothing to do with rapping. Kool Herc’s contribution to hip hop was even more fundamental.
DJ Kool Herc’s signature innovation came from observing how the crowds would react to different parts of whatever record he happened to be playing: “I was noticing people used to wait for particular parts of the record to dance, maybe [to] do their specialty move.” Those moments tended to occur at the drum breaks—the moments in a record when the vocals and other instruments would drop out completely for a measure or two of pure rhythm. What Kool Herc decided to do was to use the two turntables in a typical DJ setup not as a way to make a smooth transition between two records, but as a way to switch back and forth repeatedly between two copies of the same record, extending the short drum break that the crowd most wanted to hear. He called his trick the Merry Go-Round. Today, it is known as the “break beat.” [(See Appendix VIDEO below).]
By the summer of 1973, DJ Kool Herc had been using and refining his break-beat style for the better part of a year. His sister’s party on August 11, however, put him before his biggest crowd ever and with the most powerful sound system he’d ever worked. It was the success of that party that would begin a grassroots musical revolution, fully six years before the term “hip hop” even entered the popular vocabulary.
Source: History Channel – This Day In History – Posted & Retrieved August 11, 2016 from: http://www.history.com/this-day-in-history/hip-hop-is-born-at-a-birthday-party-in-the-bronx
Can we – in the Caribbean and from the Caribbean – change the world again?
Yes, we can!
This consideration is in line with the book Go Lean … Caribbean. It serves as a roadmap for the introduction and implementation of the technocratic Caribbean Union Trade Federation (CU). This CU strives to advance Caribbean culture with these 3 prime directives:
- Optimization of the economic engines in order to grow the regional economy to $800 Billion and create 2.2 million new jobs.
- Establishment of a security apparatus to protect the resultant economic engines.
- Improve Caribbean governance.
This will not be the first time a Caribbean personality has changed the world through music (and hopefully not the last). Previously, this blog-commentary detailed the influence of music icon Bob Marley. Today, his name is synonymous with Reggae and socially-conscious music. RIP Bob Marley (1945 – 1981).
The Go Lean book identifies, in total, 169 different musical/national combinations of genres throughout the Caribbean. From these styles, Hip Hop has had its origins and roots. And then the transformation continued, with more inspiration back to the Caribbean sounds and more social messaging (classic of Reggae) going back to the Hip Hop sound.
Music does not stand still; it evolves. An excellent example of this cross-meshing is the musical genre of Reggaeton:
Reggaetón is a genre of music characterized by its repetitive beat rhythm that originated in Puerto Rico. Its roots can be traced back to the “underground” music of the island during the late 90’s, when music borrowing elements of reggae, rap, and hip-hop was being performed (in Spanish) in small, unofficial venues. Bootleg recordings and word of mouth were the means of distribution for this music until 1997. In 1998 eventually that music coalesced into what today is known as Reggaeton. The music’s popularity skyrocketed in the early 2000s as it spread to North American, European, Asian, and African audiences. Source: Retrieved 08/11/2016 from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reggaeton.
See sample Reggaetón song here: https://youtu.be/uHgnebZ_jYo
The movement behind the Go Lean book asserts that “one person can make a difference”. So just like Bob Marley, Clive Campbell aka DJ Kool Herc, should be recognized for his contributions to music, culture and Caribbean identity. This one Caribbean character has made a difference while residing as an alien in a foreign land. He has forge an example and a sample of how other Caribbean stakeholders can do more in the arts and impact the world – we can build a city on “rock-and-roll”.
Too bad he made this impact after leaving his Caribbean home of Jamaica.
Alas, we now bring the quest for change to Jamaica and all of the rest of the Caribbean. And that quest includes music and the arts. Early in the Go Lean book, the contributions that music can make is pronounced as an community ethos for the entire region to embrace, (Declaration of Interdependence – Page 15) with these statements:
xxxii. Whereas the cultural arts and music of the region are germane to the quality of Caribbean life, and the international appreciation of Caribbean life, the Federation must implement the support systems to teach, encourage, incentivize, monetize and promote the related industries for arts and music in domestic and foreign markets. These endeavors will make the Caribbean a better place to live, work and play.
This Go Lean/CU roadmap recognizes that a prerequisite for advancing society is a change in the community ethos – the fundamental spirit of a culture that drives the beliefs, customs and practices – in that society. Music should be appreciated for the truth of its power; it “can soothe the savage beast”. It can communicate culture and impact the economics for a people. One person, or a group of people can do this, can make a difference.
The following list from the Go Lean book details the community ethos, strategies, tactics, implementations and advocacies to foster the next generation of artist:
|Community Ethos – Ways to Foster Genius||Page 27|
|Community Ethos – Promote Intellectual Property||Page 29|
|Community Ethos – Ways to Promote Happiness||Page 36|
|Community Ethos – Impact the Greater Good||Page 37|
|Strategy – Vision – Unified CaribbeanSingle Market||Page 45|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Patents & Copyrights||Page 78|
|Tactical – Separation of Powers – Culture Administration||Page 81|
|Implementation – Ways to Impact Social Media||Page 111|
|Advocacy – Ways to Make the Caribbean Better||Page 131|
|Advocacy – Ways to Impact Hollywood||Page 203|
|Advocacy – Ways to Promote Music||Page 231|
|Advocacy – Ways to Re-boot Jamaica||Page 239|
Thank you Clive Campbell aka DJ Kool Herc; see Appendix VIDEO below.
Thank you for setting the pathway for success for new generations of talented, inspirational and influential artists – musical geniuses of Caribbean heritage – who are sure to follow. These artists, too will “rock the world”.
We are hereby “banking” on it here in the Caribbean, as communicated further in that Declaration of Interdependence – Page 13:
xxi. Whereas the preparation of our labor force can foster opportunities and dictate economic progress for current and future generations, the Federation must ensure that educational and job training opportunities are fully optimized for all residents of all member-states, with no partiality towards any gender or ethnic group. The Federation must recognize and facilitate excellence in many different fields of endeavor, including sciences, languages, arts, music and sports. This responsibility should be executed without incurring the risks of further human flight, as has been the past history.
The Go Lean book posits “a change is going to come” to the Caribbean. The people, institutions and governance of region are all urged to “lean-in” to this roadmap for change and empowerment. Let’s do this … and make our homeland – all of the Caribbean – a better place to live, work and play.
Sign the petition to lean-in for this roadmap for the Caribbean Union Trade Federation.
Appendix VIDEO – Kool DJ Herc, Merry Go Round – https://youtu.be/Hw4H2FZjfpo
Uploaded on Oct 26, 2009 – Kool DJ Herc describing how he invented the idea of playing two breakbeats together.