The can't touch this. Try Quest. Quest. Hip hop music has been with us for more than 20 years now, but what most of us haven't realized is how big it's become today. Hip hop outsells every other type of music. It's bigger than r and b, bigger than country, even bigger than rock. Forget the rock and roll years. What we're living in now are the hip hop years. Hip hop owes its beginnings to a particular place and a particular time. The place was the South Bronx and the time was the 1970s. The South Bronx was a notorious borough of New York City, marked by some of the worst levels of unemployment, de tion and violent crime in America. You had a lot of gang activity that was happening in the Bronx back in the late sixties, early seventies. You had a lot of drugs in the communities, a lot of violence and robberies. Things was going on. And Bronx was called one of the destructive areas of the town. While life in the city had become tougher, mainstream, black music in the seventies had softened in into the ultimate form of crossover. Pop disco. The generation growing up in the Bronx in the seventies found that music like disco was wildly out of step with the reality of their lives. It was something that seemed very far away from what ghetto kid on the street could realistically hope to attain or to be a part of. That whole idea of the flashy, the Gordy, the costume, all that stuff was something that hip hop reacted against. I guess we wasn't enough high society to be down with to just go John Travolta dancing and all that. You know what I'm saying? So we created our own, you know what I'm saying? We created our own parties. Hip hop's Genesis can be traced to this inconspicuous housing project on the edge of the South Bronx. It was here that hip hop's founding father DJ Cool Herk built his first sound system in 1971. 1520 Swick Avenue, the historic birth land of the culture they call F Hop Music. My room in the back, and this was the Landing when I used to play music in my room. The kids used to be back here hanging out, chilling. And when I started to play the music, everybody start to do their little stuff and break dancing and all, all that type of stuff right here. So there's a recreation room for the building. You rent the room. That's what we did. So this was a breath of fresh air for I was going somewhere we could hear some music. Turned out to be a success. Herk was one of the first DJs in the Bronx to borrow a technique from Manhattan's downtown. Disco text, the use of two turntables. This meant DJs could play music without interruption mixing from the end of one record straight into the beginning of another. But unlike other DJs, Herk didn't play disco music. Instead, he specialized in the kind of hard edge, fun music that others ignored. Yeah, I remember going to the Herc parties and that started in the community room and, and it grew so, so big that we couldn't fit in the community room anymore. Music was just, it was slamming. I was trying to think about what would be, I guess, synonymous with a cool her party. And it would, it would have to be James Brown. Clap your hands. Stop your feet. It wasn't, it wasn't a cool her party without a Very party In exactly What singled out her as a DJ was his keen eye. The crowd reactions. He noticed that the energy on the dance floor hits a peak during the instrumental breaks in the records. The point when the singing stops and the music carries on from this simple observation hurt came up with an idea that would become the basis of hip hop. One night, I'm waiting until the record to play out. I said, I wonder if I put that to him myself. I said, oh, if, if they're waiting for this particular break, I have a couple more records, got the same breakup in it, or wonder I would be if I put 'em all together. And I told them, I said, I'm gonna try something new tonight. I'm gonna call it a Merry-Go-Round. Beat Perks, Merry-Go-Round meant that instead of playing whole records, he would play just the instrumental breaks, mixing between them to create a continuous dance rhythm. Them Stomp the Feet. I started out with Leading Blind, James Brown. Clap your hand, stomp your feet. Cause I parked right there when the break. Boom. I had to come up with Bon Rock. Bongo Rock was still, oh no, no, no vocals in it. And I would go into Baby Yui, you know, the Mexican, and it was like, whoa, I think we got some hit. You know? Cause people was like, oh, whoa. Everybody was like, yeah, yeah, yeah, I'm feeling this. Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. You know, The instrumental breaks on the records became known as the break Beats and Hertz Merry-Go-Round formula of mixing between them provided the blueprint for a new music. Oh man, cool. Herman was a first person I ever heard that do anything like that. You know, cuz I'm used to being in the house with my mother. And we pull a James Brown record on and just let it play, play through cool work would play the break part back and forth. And, and that really astonished me. I was really impressed when I seen that, something like that. Cause I never seen anything like that before. I saw cool hurt, and I was 14 years old. And, and that very day when I saw his sound system and how loud it was, and the records that he played would just change the way the party was going. That's what I wanted to do. I For, for life As cool. Her's celebrities spread through the South Bronx in the early seventies. A new dance attached itself to the music. He created the music, didn't even have a name yet. The new dance did. It was called B-Boy Later to become known as break Dancing. Gonna make you Move As hip hop was being, you know, formed. It was like before it had a name or before we kind of knew what was going on. There were B boys. There was this new dance, you know, break dancing, B-Boy and B Girl comes from Ku hurt. B meaning break. Okay, break boy. We dance on the break. That's it. The break beats were for the B Boys. When cool her was throwing on break beats, he would say, B boys, are you ready? Be girls, are you ready? And that meant that it was about, you know, about that time, you know, the, the high point of the jam where everyone just starts going off. I got insert back from that. I made up, want me to show you it? I put my arm right here and it's easy. And I push my arm and swing my left leg, my, my right leg. Both of them Leg. It was our outlet and our way of expressing ourselves and, and showing our individuality, our character, our strength, and, and, and our, and our attitude Was walking down for Rowan University, which was my block. And I seen these two kids with a boombox. They had the music going, and I seen them. They were hitting the floor, they were doing fancy full work. And I got stopped. I just stopped to get amazed what they were doing. I was like, wow, that's kind of cool. But I wanted to be, you know, I wanted to be them kids. I seen just the energy they had and I wanted to catch the energy. If you had the bones, the flexibility, the strength to do it, you know, major hero. I got this knot on my back for trying to duplicate what I seen somebody do back in the days, trying to do some flip thing and landed on my back. Ugh. Was not cut out for Me. Give it up and turn it loose. Palm Jay's mouth going going, clap your hands down. Stop your feet. Clap your hands down. Stop your feet. The crowd gets hell when you become part of the music. Like, oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. Oh no, he's killing it. You know, By the mid seventies, cool. Her's new music was taken the Bronx by Storm Dawn. And inevitably her's unique brand of DJing was beginning to attract imitators. The man who had become hurt's, biggest rival, came out of a neighborhood on the other side of town called the Bronx River Projects. This was home to a young gang leader who went by the intriguing name of Africa, bam, barter. When I first saw cool her Go, I said, whoa, they playing a lot of Records that I have at home. I said, I like them type of beats he's playing. And then when I came with my full system too, once I got, you know, graduated from high school, then I started saying, I'm this the style of, of I'm going to be playing. And then some I'm the beat. Bam. Barter's musical experiments were noisy enough to attract attention. Jungle Brother, he used to play out the window. I'm riding my bike by this window every day and I'm hearing, you know what I'm saying, James Fryer, you know what I'm saying? All of the the good stuff that they ain't playing on the radio. I'm like, okay, I can get with that. Because I just wanted to be around that guy. When Bam, barter became a dj, he unleashed the new energy into hip hop. It was an energy that tapped into a frightening force which dominated Bronx life in the seventies. It's street gangs. In an era when the Bronx was rife with Savage territorial conflict, bam. Barter was already well known in the area as a notorious gang leader At that time. You know, we was part of the gang movement. You know, the Black Spades, the Savage skills, the 70 mortals, the Reapers, all those groups was, you know, controlling the Browns. And then from my travels and seeing one of my best friends get killed by the police on Pollen Parkway and the Browns, you know, and seeing how a lot of the brothers and sisters was getting hurt up, that's when I said I had to, you know, try to lead, you know, our organization into another direction. Bam. Barter formed the Zulu Nation, a dedicated following of local hip-hop enthusiasts who organized parties and then put the money they made into community self-help projects. You gotta understand, you really have to understand that the Zulu nation had originally been the Black Spades. They were the biggest, most feared gang in the Bronx. I mean, they wear these denim jackets with the cutoff sleeves and fur around the collars and black spades written across the back. And this was before gangs had a lot of guns. So it was all about getting beat down with these and with sticks and with knives. I mean, it was brutal. And bam, Batta had the inspiration to stop this gang banging nonsense, stop killing each other and let's get creative. So he turned one of the most violent street gangs into the most, into one of the most influential cultural organizations. His status was literally legendary. When you heard of Africa Bamba and the Zulu Nation, there was a whole section of the Bronx that was under his command. Well, the name Zulu Nation inspired me. When I seen a movie back in the early sixties, which featured Michael Kane called Zulu. That movie just stuck with me. It was just, you know, inspirational seeing the people of Africa fight for what was theirs. I said, you know, one day I'm gonna have me a Zulu Nation Baba's personal conversion from gang leader to hip hop. DJ set a trend that swept the Bronx kids who would previously have joined gangs, began channeling their energy into hip hop, literally taken to the street with speakers and turntables. We just went to the nearest light pole and just plugged in and did, you know, and got our juice, you know, and the police used to come by, you know, even though that was illegal, they allowed us to do it. You know what I mean? Because it contained us. You know what I mean? They knew that, you know, as long as a block party going on, that's where everybody at Rock Break, yo, who ain't in Rock Steady or dynamic behind the Barriers Yo Hope Rock Crew, can you please listen? Yo, nobody's listening to me. Rockers get ready. Well, the batter was to see who was the competitive artist. Who was, who was the more better, who had the better moves? Who had the better style? So who won? Who won the rocking contest? Yo, No, we took them out. Right? The crowd would judge it and they would just say, who you think won the battle? This guy or this guy? And they would like, is it a or is it B B? Yeah. And then, then the crowd would just hype it up. Yeah. Woo. Who goes for rock Steady? When DJ's battle, the crucial factor was having the best break beats. And that meant digging up obscure records that your rivals didn't know about. The more unexpected, the source of the break beat the better. The crowd liked it. Apache was the it, Apache was the B Boy anthem. It was the, it was the highlight of the party. The battle of wits that was to come would result in a sixties rock guitar band from England becoming the unwitting godfathers of hip hop in 1975. Hip-hop was still in its infancy. A few outside the South Bronx were even aware of it. There was no such thing as a hip-hop record. The music was made by DJs who took existing records and mixed the break beats together to create a new rhythm. Essential to any DJ's Craft was the ability to find break beats that their rivals didn't have yet. DJs didn't let other people see what records they had. That was part of the thing of being competitive. You know who got the beats and if you got the beats, if it's, if it's a competition thing about who got beats, you ain't gonna let me see your beats. No DJ used to let no DJ look at they beats. Next item, a big favorite with everybody there. Apache rendered by the popular group. The shadows As the relentless search for obscure beats heated up. It was inevitably cool. DJ Herb who discovered the most enduring breakbeat of hip hop's first decade. And it came from the most unlikely source imaginable. A cover version of the Shadow's hit Apache, recorded by Michael Weiner's. Incredible bongo band was discovered by Herk in 1975. When he played the record's Breakbeat, he energized an audience who had never heard of the shadows. Apache was the national anthem of hip hop when Cool. Herk bought that out. But we wasn't corner, the Apache was calling it the Rock. Herk had me and Bam going, when he played that song, we was like trying to just look at the label. He kept that quiet for a long time. Until eventually I found out what it was. If I have A record right now, I'm playing somewhere. I, I wouldn't tell you the name. You have to find up on your own. Cause this is where your, your, your recognition and your your your rep come from. You have the record. Nobody else get. The B-boys would come to the party, they'll stand on the side, you know, the breakers. And they were just, you know, you're doing your thing. You're throwing on your joints, but they're just waiting for that moment that you just break out with some Apache I'm doing Now that, let me tell you, if you didn't dance to that break, there was something wrong with you. Problem. There was something wrong with you. But DJ supremacy wasn't only about having the best beats, it was also about what you did with them in their efforts to outdo each other. Bronx DJs began developing a series of revolutionary turntable techniques. Scratching was the most famous of them. A method of stopping the record and rubbing it back and forth against the needle. The trick here was to do it without damaging the vinyl. DJs also began using two copies of the same record, playing them off of each other back and forth to extend the beat. This was known as back spinning. It was just magical to see somebody extend a piece of a record for like three to four minutes. That, you know, that was only like a, a 22nd part in the song. It, that's, that was magical. The very last element of hiphop music to emerge was the skill of rapping. Like the musical style itself. Rapping evolved out of a combination of ingenuity and circumstance. At this stage. The turn wrap was yet to come into existence. Picking up a microphone to speak over a record was simply called MCing. Get Up. And everybody MCing evolved from the DJ having a microphone to make announcements to announce when the next party was going to be, where the next party was gonna be. Who was gonna be at the party. You know what I mean? To acknowledge members of the group, members in the crew, or people in the audience. And I used to call people's name and say, yo to my Melo Wallace, d d d d d or this is the Joint, joint, joint Joint, joint Joint. The, you never heard like this before. Before. And playing around with it. Every dj either he did that himself, or he had somebody that would make the announcements for him started to embellish, you know, when they would say things until it grew into sentences, into paragraphs, you know, into verses, you know, into rhymes. Who Are you? Who am I? Who are you? Who am I? Who are you? Who am I? Who are you? Am I I'm cast. So what, what do that mean? I'm the baddest mc lover on the hip hop scene. Mc was the final element which made the music complete. The next phase in its development was about to begin, but the music itself still lacked a name. By the late 1970s, one would emerge. People used to just toss em around. Hip called hippity hop was the hip hop. Yeah, hip hop guys down there, you know. Then they twist around and called, ah, little hip hop guys. Hippie, hippie parties. And they hype parties like that. Then they finally, you know, went that way, went this way, and then up comes hip hop. And that kind of, really, that label kind of tagged on it. Hip hop tagged on it, covered the whole scope of the game. Hip hop, as it was now known, had grown from being a neighborhood pastime into a fully fledged culture and a way of life. Since hip hop was still unrecognized by any record labels, the music existed only in the form of live performance. Hip hop is taking the sound system in the park and, you know what I mean, setting it up and playing 5, 6, 7 hours and then tearing it down and taking that sound system home. That was hip hop. And we did it faithfully because we loved it. Let's go from party to party. Five 15 guys packed in the back of a band. Speakers, records, turntables, amplifies. We driving down the highway set up in Connecticut, ripped the party apart, throw all the speakers back in, everybody back in, drive back home, go to sleep, get up the next day, might do the same thing again. But that's the way we do it. Even though the music was yet to receive recognition from record companies and radio stations, hip hop had started to travel from its birthplace in the Bronx. It was spreading into the other boroughs of New York City DJing and was seizing the imagination of black teenagers in Queens, Brooklyn, and Harlem. From the parties in the Bronx that Baba and those guys were, were playing at in the mid seventies. They luckily had the foresight to record almost all the gigs and these tapes would then become circulated. Like I would make a copy and give it to you and you would make a copy and give it to the next cat. It was all about tapes back then. And in my neighborhood, tapes used to filter in from all the shows that was thrown up in the Bronx at the Autobahn Ballroom and all the Harlem World tapes that used to filter into Queens, cuz a lot of people from Queens used to have to travel outside of our borough to go through these shows. So it was these cassette tapes that was spreading all through the city. People were getting the, the word was getting out. And that's how it's it, how it all began to spread. Despite hip hop's fast appeal in predominantly black neighborhoods on New York's fringes. It was given scanned attention in the mainstream and was yet to be acknowledged by record companies. But as the seventies came to a close, all that was about to change, a hip hop mixtape had found its way to the owner of a small independent label in New Jersey. Impressed by its originality, she decided to produce a hip hop record and began looking for an mc to wrap on it. Her search ended during a chance visit to her local pizza shop inside, she heard one of the employees rap into himself while preparing her food. I was helping make pizza at the shop. And a woman by the name of Sylvia Robinson came into the pizza shop and they asked me, did I wanna make a record? Picture this, I'm in the pizza shop full of Dough P flour all over me, and I'm going to addition to make a record. So I go into the back of her son's 98, and they ha they have a cassette in the car, and I'm wrapping along with the track and she, she really enjoyed it. She said, okay, I'm going to use you on the record. And a week later we did it. It was done in one take. Hip Hip, Javier, don't stop rhythm of boo. Now what you hear is not a test. Raping the beat Released in 1979, rappers Delight would become an enduring dance floor head. But despite its massive commercial success, the song was greeted with scorn within the hiphop community. They thought it was too soft. When rappers the delight first came out, every, you know, traditional rapper was fucking mortified. It was like, what the fuck are they doing with our, you know, with our art form? It's like they, they, they, it's like they asked, murdered the shit. So, you know, we didn't think that that was creditable. I got a color TV so I can see the played basketball checkbook wouldn't give Another criticism of Rapper's Delight was the whole sections of Big Hank's lyrics bore an uncanny resemblance to rhymes previously performed by Bronx Mc Casanova Fly. I met Hank at a club called A Sparkle in the Bronx. We kind of clicked and we used to talk about hip hop and parties and stuff. He sounded like he had a good head. So I asked him to be down with, with us. People from Sugar Hill Records came in and he called me, he said, I want to use some of your rhymes. So I'm really not thinking, I'm really not thinking. Okay. So I said, okay, all right, well, cool, whatever. I'm the csn, the O and the rest. See by, I'll tell you Why the c a sn, the O v and the rest is f l y. That's my name spelled out. Cassanova Fly. He didn't even change it to say Big Bang Hank, or to say, you know, he just said the rhyme the way it was in the book. But I can understand why he would say that. And I, I have nothing but love for him. I mean, we used a lot of stuff together. I, and I, I guess he, you know, cause he didn't move to that magnitude or I couldn't bring him in cause it was something that Ms. Rob had already formatted. But some of the stuff was done together and I just transposed it over at that time, I mean, I had already made a name for myself. People knew me for my rhymes. All right. So people was like, yo, I heard your, I heard you on the radio, I heard you on the radio. I'm like, yo, that ain't me. Yo. But I heard your rhymes. Yeah, I know, I know. That's, that's, that's, that's not me though. That's scared Hank. Yo, I know you getting paid though. Yeah, well you know, this and that, this and that. Yeah, it's, it's fucked me up ever since. Regardless of its shortcomings, rappers, the light exposed hip hop to the mainstream *** on its heels came exposure for another aspect of hip hop culture. Graffiti or tagging like hip hop music and dance graph painting evolved in the Bronx and thrived in Queens, Brooklyn, and Harlem. But it didn't stay there. The practice of tagging trains, transported hip hop's, uncompromising in your face attitude and placed it before an unsuspecting new audience downtown. The first thing that I noticed coming to New York, I came here in 1978, going to work in Wall Street of all places. Chemical Bank, a credit analyst. I would go and and get in the subway and about to get on a train and these trains would go by with these amazing burners, you know, graffiti, burners, multicolored, you know, name tags that would take up the whole train. And I would watch them go by and just think, my God, this is amazing. And it was the first tug, the first pull into that subculture was, I would've to say aerosol art or graffiti art. Having previously been regarded as an eyesore and a public nuisance, graffiti was now making headway as an accepted art form in Manhattan's trendy downtown galleries and studios. In the early 1980s, one of the first graffiti artists to find favor was Fab five Freddy. I began to move on the downtown scene in lower Manhattan and began to meet some of the main people on the downtown New Wave scene, new wave punk rock scene. I became close friends with Christine and Deborah Harry, main people in the group Blondie. And they would commission me and they brought paintings for me. And I'd say, you know, Debbie, I want you to make a record about me or just mention me on a record cuz I wanna be like a star. I told her that and I was like, she was like, okay Freddie, I don't think, you know, she would laugh. Well I used to think like, yeah, right, gimme a break, you know? And then they made this record called Rapture. I remember going by the house and they sat me down and they played the record. And then they break into this rap. Debbie breaks into this rap and I'm like, wait a minute. Oh, I thought, oh, this is a complete joke. I thought they'd made a version of this record just as a joke to me. I was like, they're not gonna put out a record where they're trying to rap. I mean she didn't even sound like a rapper I could immediately hear. And what she was saying on the rap though was little snippets of stuff I used to tell her. Like when I would explain the hip hop scene, I'd be like, well, you know, they got these fly guys and Fly girls. Those are like, I guess the e equivalent to like punk rockers, you know, like the hardcore fans. And they call the guys Fly Guys and the girls are Fly girls. And then you have this DJ name known as Flash and he's the fastest. Oh, the first line of the rap was Fab Five. Freddie told me everybody's fly DJ spinning. I said, my Ma Flash is fa Flash is cool. Fab Five Freddie. We used to come to my parties all the time with a good friend of Londy and he had always told me that he would bring her to the Bronx. But one time he did chance to meet her. Next thing I know, I heard this crazy rap record by her, my name in it cool The lot. And then I used to have a rap that I used to do about how I was born and raised on the planet Mars. I used to chill and rock with the stars too. One day I got bored and decided to split. I came to Earth on a rocket ship. So when I heard her rapping and she was like, and the man for Mars, any shoot she did and each, it was just so crazy. He, You see me later as she begins to move around the set and me and my partner Lee Quin are on the back wall. Kind of like pseudo dancing, pseudo painting. It was pretty cool actually. Whereas rappers, the lights have principally been a regional hit in the New York area. Blondie's Rapture reached the number one position on the US National chart, I guess for a lot of the white mainstream public. It was the first time that they heard anybody rap and it kind of kind of paved the way. You can say for what was about to come In the seventies, hiphop had taken hold on the fringes of New York. But in 1981, Blondie's hip hop homage Rapture had reached the number one position on the US pop chart. People who'd never heard the music before were curious about where it came from. Hip hop music was now becoming fashionable in the one area of New York where it had never been accepted before. The discos and nightclubs of downtown Manhattan. The man most responsible for this trend was the graffiti artist who'd inspired Rapture. Bad Five Freddy, The owner of the Mud Club, which was a very famous club in downtown Manhattan, scene at the time, had asked me to curate a show of graffiti. And for that exhibition I put together, you know, a group of some of the dopest heads from the Bronx that were making it happen. You know, Baba Cold Crush, fantastic Jazzy five MCs. And the crowd loved it. Just thought Bomb was playing as a dj. Completely blew me away at the time. I was wanting to open up my own club in New York and was looking for something to showcase inside the club. And when I saw this I was like, oh my God, this is it. I've gotta, whatever it is, I've gotta put it inside the club. And she decided to go to a little club on Second Avenue right off of Temp Street calling The Grill where she started a little thing. I got involved, I would be like the house mc talking about Soandso was in the house and whatever, Rouser blue's, hiphop nights at the downtown, the Grill Club quickly outgrew the space and moved to a nearby roller rink called the Roxy Best. The clientele were a curious mix of uptown hip hop kids and downtown punk rockers. I think it was a treat for basically both groups of people that they were checking out a completely other cultural group, let's say. And that was really interesting. It was like two groups of people at a zoo looking at each other. You know what I'm saying? Like it was really amazing. Come downtown, you see somebody with purple hair sticking up like this and you know what I'm saying, with yo, you'd bug out and the beginning you're like, oh, what the hell? But then after a while you realize, hey, just cause it got purple hair, it is all wild. Not like yours. Same person. You know what I'm saying? So we got along with that after a while. No problem. I think the punks could sort of relate to the, you know, the energy cuz it was very similar. It was very sort of rebellious and you know, ripping these records up and you know, not using instruments, only turntables, The main crowd puller was Africa. Bam. Barter his eclectic range of hip hop beats won him the title Master of Records. Yeah, woo. Being known as the Master of Records. He had all kind of music and he would like to be able to play certain kind of music for a certain kind of crowd. So when he got to play at the Mudd Club, he would throw on his monkey records. I remember this one record, he was like, Mary, Mary, why are you bugging again? Mary Mary? And he would play with joints like that and you just be bugging out like, ah, what is this? I mean, Bamba, he was incredible. A lot of the rock records we was taking from like Fog, fog hat, pink Floyd, led Zeppelin, Billy Squire, the Rolling Stones, even the Beatles, the Monkeys, you know, I was playing a lot, a lot of crazy stuff. And so from that experience of him being in a room dominated by young, white, new wave heads, you know, people with, you know, weird haircuts and just super cool beyond belief, you know, were like, wow, we like this. And inspired him to go and make a record called Planet Rock Party. Released in 1982, planet Rock became the fastest selling 12 inch single ever and established a new platform for hip hop. It was released by a tiny new independent label called Tommy Boy Records, which was the creation of a music journalist called Tom Silverman. I went to hear Ben by the dj and afterwards I talked to him, I said, so like, you're putting all these records together. Why don't we make a record? Cuz I had started a label in case, you know, I found something really interesting. Let's, let's put a demo together. Let's make a record that uses like some of these records. You're, you know, you're cutting up. And I was telling Tom, you know, I said, you know, with all this electronic music I was playing, I said, there's, there's no black electronic group. I said, I want this sound as something like craftwork. Cause I was deep into Craftwork Yellow Mag Orchestra, Gary Newman. We went into the studio called Intergalactic. And they, they kind of didn't know the lines that well, they had sort of had them written down and they, but they weren't memorized that well. And Powwow had one section and he couldn't remember his words. So he went, ZZ Zzz zz ZZ Z. And we said, let's keep that, you know, let's, that sounds good. And it's on the record. It's one of the parts everybody sings along with True to hip hop's DJ tradition of taking breakbeats from existing records. Planet Rock, blended melodies from half a dozen songs. One of them was Trans Europe, expressed by the German band Kraft Book. We got sued by Kraft Book's Publishing company and we paid an ungodly amount of a royalty per, per record that we sold. But even being sued by Kraft book couldn't diminish Planet Rock's stature as the first hip hop record to win both crossover pop success and grassroots credibility. Planet Rock was just some whole new shit. You know what I'm saying? Planet Rock opened up a whole nother world of music. It exposed another audience to hip hop. And it tried and it started merging those two audiences. It was one of the first record that really crossed over the barriers into the pop field and, and, and really brought hip hop worldwide. Hip hop's newfound success in the record industry only intensified the competitiveness of the old days. While Bam Barta was reveling in his breakthrough at Tommy Boy, his old rivals Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five were about to release a record on the Sugar Hill label that would raise hip hop's, rising stature and notch higher. Planet Rock was like the hottest fucking record at that time. I mean, you, you heard it everywhere. And I was like, if somebody could just get a record that could knock off Planet Rock, and when the message came out and knew we was gonna knock Planet Rock off And we gonna tell y'all about New York City, we never over there. And this is what it's like. We gonna tell y'all about this. We got broken grass everywhere. People pissing on the fish, you know, they just don't care. I can't take the smell, can't take the noise. Got no money to move out. I guess I got no choice. Released in July, 1982, the message was the rawest form of rap, yet put on record a song with adult themes that demanded to be taken seriously. The message was kind of a puzzle to everybody when it first came out. It's like putting up the slow song in a time where, you know what I'm saying? Everything is kind of upbeat up tempo, whatever. But the content of the message is what caught everybody. Not to lose my head, Anybody could have said, you know, even don't push me cause I'm close to the edge. I'm trying not to lose my head at that time. Anybody could have said that. You know, at that time, you know, half the people in America probably wanted to say that. And then when the record came out, it was like somebody said This shit. Here it is. Unlike most of its predecessors, the message used specially composed music. It was written by Ed Fletcher, a former school teacher, turned record producer at Sugar Hill who went by the nickname of Duke Booty. He wrote the song at the piano in the basement of his mother's house in Super New Jersey. Came down here actually here, you know, which is like piano was the piano. I got the Baba b b b on. And I just kept playing it and came up with verses for that. It's like a jungle sometimes, you know, broken glass everywhere. I mean, if you look around the neighborhood, you kind of see things were going on. And I created this track. Fletcher did the track. It was his idea. He did the track from top to bottom. He did the music, we helped with the music. I came up with the little melody line on the message, even though they don't credit me for it. But that was my, I came up, you know, we all added a little bit of this and this and that and that. Even though Fletcher was the main theme writer, he bought it all in there. I think if you have a good idea, you could damn near beat on some cardboard and snap some rubber bands and people will respond to it, you know? And if it's funky enough, you make glassy dance with it. But the message almost never happened when Grandmaster Flash in The Furious Five were first offered the song. They didn't want to record it. Everybody was doing party music. They was like, nah, this is not, you know, this is a little bit too serious. You know, we don't know if our fans or get into something like this. And nobody wanted to do it. In the end, Melly Mels the only member of the Furious Five who took part in recording the song. I wrote the Part, A Child is Born with No State of Mind. The very last, very last rhyme that was on the message. A Child is born with no state of mind, blind to the ways of mankind. God is smiling on you, but he's frowning. Two, only God knows what you go through. You the ghetto Places Play Where Stay looks like one great alley. The owners of the Sugar Hill label decided to release the message under the name Grandmaster Flash in a Furious Five because they felt the group's image was right for the song. But it was only after the message was a hit that the group really accepted the song. And even then, Grandmaster Flash himself was less than happy. It was the first record for flashing and where the whole flash wasn't gonna be on the record. Flash isn't even on the record From a public's point of view. It was like the incredible record. But from what I believe in, it's extremely important that I do things that allowed me to show people who I am not as a group figure, but as an individual. And that's the biggest problem I had with that record At one time, his name was known all over the world just from being on a record that he didn't even do nothing off. He, he should be happy. I wish I could have been on every record and didn't do nothing in there with just melly Mel on the record and everywhere. Oh yeah, there is Melly Mel. I mean, what did you do? I didn't do a fucking thing. I you, I'm famous. Hey. You know what I mean? Could you write me a check? You know what I mean? Shit. Hell, Ironically, the message was the last song recorded by the group. They split up six months later. But the impact of the message combined with the earlier success of Planet Rock had awoken the music industry to the commercial potential of hip hop. Over the next decade. Hip hop would grow to dominate the pop charts, but it would also become the most notorious and controversial music in America. The story continues tomorrow at 10 past midnight and hip hop is just one of the many things that have shaped and changed life here in England. If you'd like a chance to create a free website about the other influencers, visit channel four.com/insight. Next up, top techniques for a couple with mismatched libidos from the *** inspectors.