We were blessed to be in the presence of
the man who started this whole
hip hop/rap movement.

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Rap music finds its immediate roots in the toasting and dub talk over elements of reggae music.
Kool DJ Herc, the godfather of hip-hop, was born in Jamaica in 1955. He moved to the Bronx in 1967, at the age of twelve. With his unique playlist of R&B, soul, funk, and obscure disco, Herc quickly became the catalyst of the hip-hop way of life. The kids from the Bronx and Harlem loved his ghetto style, which gave birth to the concept of the B-Boy. The B-Boy -- or beat boy, break boy, Bronx boy -- loved the breaks of Kool Herc, and as a result soon created break dancing. These were the people of the hip-hop culture. When he performed to Breaks at crowded venues, such as the Hervalo in the Bronx, he would shout loudly 'B-Boys go down!' and this was the cue for dancers to cut and jump their gymnastics.

He was the originator of break-beat deejaying, wherein the breaks of funk songs—being the most danceable part, often featuring percussion—were isolated and repeated for the purpose of all-night dance parties. Later DJs such as Grandmaster Flash refined and developed the use of breakbeats, including cutting.
He is also well known for his massive high quality high volume sound system, against which even superior DJs could not compete. Herc – from Hercules – first used reggae records and was toasting to the music like Jamaican artists U-Roy and I-Roy. But he started using funk records due to popular demand.

In those early days, young party goers initially recited popular phrases and used the slang of the day. For example, it was fashionable for dj to acknowledge people who were in attendance at a party. These early raps featured someone such as Herc shouting over the instrumental break; 'Yo this is Kool Herc in the joint-ski saying my mellow-ski Marky D is in the house'. This would usually evoke a response from the crowd, who began to call out their own names and slogans.
As this phenomenon evolved, the party shouts became more elaborate as dj-in an effort to be different, began to incorporate little rhymes-'Jay D is in the house/An he'll turn it out without a doubt.' It wasn't long before people began drawing upon outdated dozens and school yard rhymes. Many would add a little twist and customize these rhymes to make them suitable for the party environment. At that time rap was not yet known as 'rap' but called 'emceeing'. With regards to Kool Herc, as he progressed, he eventually turned his attention to the complexities of dj-ing and let two friends Coke La Rock and Clark Kent (not Dana Dane's dj) handle the microphone duties. This was rap music first emcee team. They became known as Kool Herc and the Herculoids.

DJ Kool Herc started a movement which recycled the creaitivity of black American jive jocks back into the USA. The relationship between hip hop and reggae became more important again with reggae artists and rappers collaborating with each other, from Yellowman and Afrika Bambaataa to KRS One and Shabba Ranks. Hip hop and reggae still influence each other in both directions.

Toop, David (1991). Rap Attack 2: African Rap To Global Hip Hop. New York. New York: Serpent's Tail.
Chang, Jeff (2005). Can't Stop, Won't Stop: A History of the Hip Hop Generation. St. Martin's Press.


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