The History of Hip Hop - 1977 to Mid 90s
Whilst at secondary school, I had a mate whose brother went to live in New York. One day when we were chilling at his house playing Asteroids on his Atari he pulled out a TDK C90 cassette his brother had sent him in the post.
It was poor quality copy of Afrika Bambaataa’s ‘Death Mix’. We listened to that tape from end to end and over again, (he had a JVC system with Auto Reverse which was the coolest thing ever in 1984). He pulled out another tape, Grandmaster Flash live at Bronx River Park. Well I just had to have those tapes. We bartered hard, and after I offered him my Action Man Helicopter and Jeep he handed over the tapes. To this day I think I made the better trade.
The tracks on those tapes were so raw and fresh, and I just wanted to know more about this mythical paradise called the South Bronx. Sometime after that an exchange teacher from New York treated us at the end of term by letting our class watch a video, she wheeled in the TV and put a copy of ‘Wild Style’ in VHS. Our tiny minds were blown, and we copied everything they are doing. Wild Style became our blueprint, it taught us about Graffiti, Breakdancing and DJ’ing. From that moment I wanted to be a Hip Hop DJ like Flash. I spent every second in pursuit of Hip Hop tunes, either spending what little i had at the local Our Price Records on the High Rd, or taping the Mike Allen Hip Hop show on Capital Radio. we also practiced breakdancing moves at King Edwards park, and to the disgust of our local council we also sprayed graffiti (Bomb'ed) on every wall on our way to school with shit throws.
I was on a mission to get some decks, and emulate my hero, Grandmaster Flash, a friend sold me a second-hand HMV direct drive turntable, later I obtained a Realistic mixer for my Birthday, finally I acquired a another direct drive turntable. I was ready to DJ, my first ever gig was at the Scout Hut behind Elsley Primary school, there were only 15 people there to hear this legendary set, I showed off all my newly acquired tricks, scratching, back-to-backing and spin backs, I am surprised they stayed.
Snipets from those early tapes feature in and inspired the '1520 Sedwick Avenue' and the 'Bronx River' mixes in this collection.