Today, August 11th, 1973 at 1520 Sedgewick Ave. DJ Kool Herc played a party for his sister and the art of hip hop began. 1973 is a pretty important year for me because it was also the year I was born. So I am partial to 1973. So, today there were a number of posts on Twitter asking when did you fall in love with hip hop? I reflected on this question for some time today. You see, hip hop feels like it has been part of my life for a long time. So long ago I could not really recognize when I actually fell in love with hip hop.
And that kind of makes sense. Hip hop is a movement. It is a musical art form that is not just one thing. In many way Bob Marley was hip hop, Marvin Gay was hip hop, Stevie Wonder was hip hop. And I love all of this music because they were parts of my father’s record collection. So I felt like I was enjoying hip hop before there was hip hop. But hip hop was also rooted in sampling and rap. Rap was first introduced in 1973 as the DJ speaking over the best music samples. So, despite Marley, and Gay, and Wonder having hip hop sensibilities, the reality is hip hop was different.
So, when I think about when I feel in love with hip hop the answer to that question is easy. While I had been exposed to hip hop a few years before through acts like Run DMC and DJ Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, I was living in Spokane, Washington and it was understandably more hair metal and teen pop. So, despite what I saw on MTV I knew it was novelty.
Then my family got transferred from Fairchild Air Force Base in Spokane to Homestead Air Force Base in south Florida. Now, full disclosure, I had lived in Homestead before. Florida was not new to me. But from age 11 to 15 I lived in Spokane. As part of our move we visited my step father’s family in St. Paul, Minnesota. There I had access to a lot more cable channels. One of those channels was BET.
I was immersed for the next three days in watching BET and all of the rap videos that played on the channel. I found the art of hip hop amazing. But I cannot say I fell in love until I saw a video by Rob Base and DJ EZ Rock. The song was “It Takes Two” and it was amazing. The baseline, the lyrics, Rob Base’s outfit, it was all perfect. From there I purchased a number of hip hop tapes at the local Sam Goody and I was on my way. I revisited Run DMC, Beastie Boys, LL Cool J, the Fat Boys, the Boogie Boys, Whodini, you name it. I could not get enough of it. So that is how I got hooked on hip hop. I still love it.