By now, the origin story is pretty well-known. Back in the early 1970s, a crew of kids of color in the South Bronx threw a bunch of parties where they plugged their turntables and their huge, 6-foot speakers into streetlight posts. They took the breakbeats from popular dance songs and rhymed aloud over them. Those parties were, in effect, hip-hop’s genesis.
Forty years later, hip-hop is just youth music, with all of its signifiers and stylings and subgenres translated and remixed around the world. But how do we pass down that creation myth? The way we so often do it: with a children’s book.
Code Switch’s Luis Clemens writes about When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop, illustrated by Theodore Taylor III. (Earlier this week, Talor was awarded the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award.)
(cc: nprmusic, nprcodeswitch)