AUDIO COMMENTARY

Hip Hop

Time: 5:10 minutes
Excerpt: "Hip hop began in the 1970s as a street culture of music, dance, and graffiti. Hip hop DJs ruled the dance floor, using two turntables to mix and repeat exciting break beats. They played the turntable like an instrument, moving the record back and forth under the needle to create rhythmic scratching."
full transcript

“Fresh, Fly, and Bold” - Cold Crush Brothers

1:33-

LISTEN: 1:33-1:49

*Hip hop began in the 1970s as a street culture of music, dance, and graffiti.  Hip hop DJs ruled the dance floor, using two turntables to mix and repeat exciting break beats.  They played the turntable like an instrument, moving the record back and forth under the needle to create rhythmic scratching.

LISTEN: (bring up for scratching at 2:02)

You’re listening to DJ Charlie Chase, one of many hip hop pioneers who were Puerto Rican. At multi-ethnic street and house parties in the South Bronx, DJs  created beats, and MCs rapped over their records.

Wake the Town - (U-Roy)

0-0:36

Some of hip hop’s pioneers were immigrants from Jamaica, where rapping over records began even earlier. In the 1960s, DJs with big portable sound systems changed Jamaican dance music. They entertained the dancers with a style of speech called toasting.  Toasting was done over the instrumental, or “dub” version of a reggae song.

LISTEN:

“Controversia” - Ismael Rivera

1:00-1:35

Spanish-speaking Caribbean immigrants also had the tradition of the “sonero,” a singer who improvises lyrics. Listen to one of Puerto Rico’s greatest soneros, Ismael Rivera.

LISTEN:  from 1:15  to break

“Can I get a soul clap?” - Fantastic Five

ca.1:35-2:10

Young Nuyoricans (Puerto Ricans born in New York) made rhymes with their African American friends in the new language and style of hip hop.  Rubie Dee was an MC for Grand Wizard Theodore and the Fantastic Five.

LISTEN: 1:48-2:07 (“..he ain’t black…”)

“Disco Dream” - Mean Machine

Early rap records on the Sugar Hill label included this 1981 song by the Mean Machine, with rapping in Spanish by Daniel Rivera, aka Mr. Schick

LISTEN: 2:12-2:34 Spanish/English

*Puerto rican youth also influenced break dancing. Break dancers competed with eachother, spinning on the floor and striking aggressive poses. They used African American and Latino dance moves for their breaks.

“Together” - Ray Baretto

0-0:40

Many classic break dancing songs used Latin percussion to inspire the athletic dancing…. LISTEN: 0:16 “I know a beautiful truth…”

EVEN though Puerto Ricans HELPED INVENT  hip hop street culture, the music industry eventually marketed rap as black music.  This made it hard  for TALENTED Latino MCs to get record contracts.

“Tiburon” - Proyecto Uno

ca.0:20-1:15

Spanish-language rap, on the other hand, created a market where Latinos had more opportunities. This 1993 hit by Proyecto Uno, young New Yorkers of Dominican heritage, mixes Spanish and English. Rapid piano licks and the scratching of the guiro create the feel of Dominican merengue music.  Listen to the güiro:

LISTEN: Speak guiro rhythm, raise music

Latino youth helped create hip hop culture, and they continue to invent new mixes of DJ-ing, MC-ing, and dancing.

LISTEN: Bring up for “Don’t stop, sigue sigue” 1:03