A Recent Interview w/ Afrika Bambaataa: History, Influence & Direction


An Interview w/ Afrika Bambaataa

Bambaataa sent out this interview he recently did with East-3.com. There you’ll actually catch some audio and a some other cool interviews with Hip Hop pioneers.. I think it’s always important to peep what he says and contrast that with things he said over the years. One thing I like about Bam, he says a lot of things that eventually come to past. Some of it seems like common sense, some of it seems hard to phantom, but all of it eventually circles back…One of the things about Bam, he’s abrother that has deep love for this culture and its people..

1.  Name your inspirations & mentors that helped guide & mold you to become a Musician/Dj & role model for your community in the 70’s.

My inspirations & mentors are James Brown, Sly & the Family Stone, George Clinton, Bootsy & Parliament Funkadelic, Every group at Motown Records, John Lennon & The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Kraftwerk, Yellow Magic Orchestra, Gary Numan, John Carpenter, Aretha Fanklin, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross & the Supremes, The Jackson 5, Temptations, Mariam Makeba, Fela Kuti, Mighty Sparrow, Calypso Rose, Yellowman, Bob Marley, Isley Brothers, Curtis Mayfield, Willie Colon, Ray Baretto, & Fania All Stars.

All these groups because of their music, showmanship, & respect as serious artists help me on my musical Journey to become an artist in music.

On the Knowledge, I give all respect to The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, Minister Malcolm X, Minister Farrakhan, Khallid Muhammad, Ava Muhammad & The Nation of Islam, The Black Panther Party, Prophet Noble Drew Ali & The Moorish Science Temple, Al Saayid Imam Isa Al Mahdi Al Haadi (Dr, Malachi Z.York) & The Ansaaru Allah Community, Nubian Islamic Hebrews, Clarence 13x & The 5 % Percent Nation of Islam, The United States Government of structure from reading Books, All types of Books of Knowledge, Many Great Humans from all over Mother Earth from many different nationalities & so called races & religions, & of all my MOTHER & our Planet called Earth & the Universe; we be in space of The Supreme Force to whom is called by  many names.

2.How did you help mold & influence this culture in the 70’s to create a positive & creative outlet for the youth of South Bronx NYC?  Who assisted & co-organized this movement?

From my experience of being a Leader in The Street organization call The Black Spades & then being & witnessing many of the organizations & religious movements I mention above help me to mold & influence with discipline this culture known today as Hip Hop to create a positive & creative outlet for all people on our Great Planet so called Mother Earth.

The Great Brothers & Sisters who helped me in the early days are the 1st Zulu Kings Amad Henderson, Shaka Reed, Aziz Jackson, Kusa Stokes, Zambu Lenair, Little Beaver, Shaka Zulu King Wade & Zulu Queens Kenya (Amber), Makeba (Darcell), Olubayu (Sherry), Tamisha (Wanda), The Fly Five, Lisa Lee, Mrs. Khayan, & other Zulus like Jazzy Jay, Red Alert, Superman, Sinbad, DST, Malibu, Tricky Tee, Ikey C., Mr. Biggs, Pow Wow, Globe, Ice Ice, Chubby Chub, Busy Bee Starski, Love Bug Starski, Disco King Mario, Kool DJ Dee & Tyrone, Grand Wizard Theodore, Mean Gene & The L Brothers, DJ Breakout &Funky 4, Grandmaster Flash & Furious Five, Mercedez Ladies, Pebbly Poo, Force MDs & Dr. Rock, Crash Crew, Cold Crush Brothers, Kool DJ Herc, & the List goes on…

3.  In the Mid to late 70’s how did Hip Hop Culture come to be?  Were all the elements (Bboy’n – Mcee’n – Dj’n & Writing) all separate subcultures but tied together because of the demographic (Bronx NYC)? Please explain?

Let’s set the Record Straight:  each person whom I name above helped in some way to form this culture even though many did not know they were helping a movement but through the wisdom of Afrika Bambaataa & The Universal Zulu Nation, that Hip Hop was named as a culture & that The Universal Zulu Nation is the First (1st) Family World International Movement of Hip Hop Culture & from UZN all others recognize it all over the world as a Culture within other cultures throughout this Great planet so called Mother Earth.

It is Afrika Bambaataa to whom name & called each entity of BBoys/BGirls/DJaying/MCs/Aerosol Writing & adding The Most important Knowledge as the main Elements of Hip Hop Culture & Brother KRS One help to add more, with a few other as Plus Elements to the main Key elements of Hip Hop Culture. No one else never use or thought of naming each entity of the Culture an Element or to say that this Movement that we all are doing is called Hip Hop Culture or to recognize it as a World Movement. The Birth of this movement is The Bronx, New York City, New York Republic, but Rap is as Ancient as The creation of Humans it self.

4. Did Hip Hop have a name before it was labeled? Who Labeled it Hip Hop?  During the birth, Hip Hop was a wave of new & emerging trends in the Bronx that youths were involved  with & Hip Hop later developed into a culture or was the cultural aspect involved from the birth?

Hip Hop as a name was not used before Luv Bug Starski, Keith Cowboy, Afrika Bambaata, all members of The Black Spades,The Organization & UZN decided to use this name. We had other names we used to call it before Hip Hop, which is well documented, but as to name the Culture Hip Hop is was Afrika Bambaataa who could have called it many other things but came to call the whole culture & Movement Hip Hop which many follow after to called the culture that.

It was a method he use to so called Brainwash if you can use that term to put in everyone mind to call this culture Hip Hop. Hip Hop Culture came as a result of other Musical happenings like Reggae Dance Hall or Slackness, Toasting, Calypso, which was being done in Jamaica, Poetry like Last Poets, Watts Prophets, Gil Scott Heroin, Gary Byrd, Sly Stone, James Brown, Jocko, Murray The K, Cousin Brucie, Eddie O Jay, Muhammad Ali, Malcolm X, Mother Goose & Funk Rock & Country & Western Music, which all had some type of raps in many of their respected songs but it was through Kool Dj Herc, Afrika Bambaataa, & Grandmaster Flash that all that came before was put into motion from these three to Birth This Cultural Movement called Hip Hop Today.

Hip Hop started in the Black Community & when I say Black Community I am talking about all the family of so called Latinos (Puerto Ricans, Dominicans all from The West Indies or Caribbean Islands of People) a better name to call all of them is Moors/Muurs if you truly study our History, our Original/Aboriginal Indigenous Native American of The so called Black man & Woman of The World.

5.  Describe the social climate during the 70’s during the birth of Hip Hop.  Was Hip Hop a product of the social & economical struggle within NYC?

The Social Climate during the 70’s were Revolutionary Groups, The Black Panthers, The Nation of Islam, The Young Lords Party, SNCC, The Ansaaru Allah Community, Street gangs, The Ku Klux Klan, The Weathermen, Soul Train, Fania All Stars, Funk, Rock, Salsa, Salsoul, Soca, Calypso, Hard workers in the communities, Drugs, Crime, Police, Police Brutality, Politicians, Pimps, Fires, Block Parties, Concerts, TV Shows like Batman, Dark Shadows, Green Hornet, Soap Operas, American Bandstand, Wolfman Jack, Frankie Crocker, The Midnight Special, Soul, The Bill Cosby Show, The Jefferson’s, Room 222, Welcome Back Kotter, Kojack, Death wish with Charles Bronson, Blacula, Abby, Superfly, Hell Up In Harlem, Black Cesar, Slaughter, The Price is Right, Lets Make a Deal, The Ed Sullivan Show, Johnny Carson, Five on The Black Hand Side, Putney Slope, Five Fingers of Death, Karate Movies, & the list goes on…6.  What are your thoughts of the current Hip Hop scene worldwide?  What would you like to see for the future of Hip Hop?

The current Hip Hop Scene: there are those who know the culture of Hip Hop Culture & there are many who do not & only follow rappers of Hip Hop who have a hit record. There is Hip Hop Culture that is controlled by corporations & The Luciferians & there is that small element of Hip Hop Culture that is not controlled by no one but their selves. There is the Pop or popular version of control Hip Hop & then there is the minority, not controlled Hip Hop. Hip Hop For the Future will be an Intergalactic Movement as we become Galactic space traveling Human Beings & Beyond this Solar System, Dimensions, Galaxies, & Subterranean Worlds. Mark my words This Will Happen & These will Be Facts…

7.  How important are the other facets of Hip Hop (Knowledge  – True History & current events) other than the 4 primary elements that everyone embraces & why?

Knowledge, Culture, Understanding, Inner-Standing, & Over-standing are the keys to everything in life. Information- out-formation. Sound Right Reasoning. Factology versus Beliefs.

8. Are there any Hip Hop Pioneers from your generation that never got the recognition & respect they deserve? Breakdown a little about them & their role in building the Culture.

When I do My Book… All will Know.

Afrika Bambaataa & Kool Herc

9.  What are your thoughts on 2012 & all the hype? What are your predictions?

We already passed 2012; it depends on which calendars you are using. There is is the Ancient of Ancient time & Time is & always was, but 2012 is nothing to what is really heading our way if we do not put LOVE back in the Universal atmosphere & if HUMANS keep causing HELL on the planet or Beyond the Planet as well as in the planet. You have not seen the wrath of The Supreme Force until you see The God Mother Nature do her thing on this planet as well as what the Subterranean beings will send from within the planet Earth & if we keep messing with the outside of our planet & think we as Humans is going to colonize another planet with the disrespect of the Beings of those respected planet then they to will be force to set WARS from beyond Mother Earth, within Mother Earth & on the core surface of Planet Earth.

We are not alone on this planet & in the many Universes & those who are sleeping watch & see. Mark my words: You Haven’t seen nothing yet. There are many Movies, warners & teachers on this planet today whom are trying to wake up all Humans in their Mistakes of the past & Now & we still have not learn our lessons from past mistakes & are heading into the same fate as Atlantis & Lemuria, but other Beings of Light are here to set the record straight & more UFOS, IFOS, SFOS will be seen more & more. Also the worst war of all Wars with be over a Clean glass of Drinking water & Food. AND IT GETS DEEPER THAN ALL WE JUST SPOKE ABOUT IN THIS SMALL ARTICLE…

original article: http://www.east-3.com/?p=271

I am also including a separate in-depth interview I did with Bambaataa where he expounds upon many of the topics he is speaking on..


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Rakim Transcends Hip Hop’s Age Barrier


Rakim Transcends Hip Hop’s Age Barrier 

By  Harry Williams

(Author of Straight Outta East Oakland 

 Harlem 1986; the summer of crack.  I can feel the early morning scorch of the sun as it melts the asphalt.  Blue, red, black and green vial caps are strewn all over West 115th street’s concrete carpet.  They seem to have magically rained down from the sky the night before.  I can still hear the familiar crunch the plastic capsules make under my sneaker soles as I trudge down Frederick Douglas Boulevard.   

Everything changed that summer.  Senior citizens sitting on tenement stoops used to talk about how heroin had destroyed Harlem’s sweetness in the sixties.  Now they really had something to complain about.  Crack’s highly addictive qualities turned every day people into devotees on a constant mission to score.  The brief euphoria was followed by a thirst for yet another blast.  It wasn’t long before Harlem saw teenage profiteers driving around in Mercedes Benz Sedans.   Saturday night specials were no longer enough to keep the pirates and jackals at bay.  Hustlers needed firepower.  9 millimeter hand guns and AK-47 assault rifles were everywhere.  Blood hot ran in the streets.   
 Hungry children wandered the streets in search of their strung out parents.  High school girls, trapped by the lure of the beast found themselves prostituting for tiny white rocks.  The papers were full of murders, brazen daytime robberies and muggings.  Crack heads in search of that next blast shed all regard for human life.  The price of human life plummeted.  Oh, and there was one other thing that changed that summer–hip hop. 

In the early eighties, rappers were kids who lived in your neighborhood.  They had colorful names which they wore stenciled on their sweat shirts.  They battled for hard earned reputations and they bragged about material stuff they didn’t have and would never be able to get.  Hip hop artists were largely poor kids who lived in the South Bronx, Harlem, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.  It wasn’t unusual to find a kid with a top selling twelve inch single sitting next to you on the subway.   

Crack changed the economics of the hip hop game.  The new jack hustlers who sipped champagne at hustler’s dens like the Roof Top and at Latin Quarters had plenty of money to spend.  They draped thousands of dollars worth of gold jewelry over expensive urban wear.  The money was coming in fast and the dealers were more than willing to spend it on entertainment that went with the lifestyle.   

There was one song that rang through the bullet scarred streets of Harlem ’86 like choir hymns at the Vatican; “My Melody.” The haunting whistle over the thunderous boom bap drums sounded from every car stereo, ghetto blaster and house speaker in thug’s village.  Eric B. and Rakim were the urban samurais of the new apocalypse. Ra was the voice of the era; a “god”– a member of the Nation of the Five Percent.  The Nation of Gods and Earths was well known in the New York tri-state area.  The young black men who accepted its message, adopted names reflective of the teachings–often names with “God” and “Savior” in them.   

You could not go to Barnes and Noble to pick up a copy of their “lessons.”  The preachments of the group were propagated hand to hand on Xeroxed pages by the members.  Although, the Five Percent was a secret society, snippets and bits of their teachings were shared with the greater world.  Rakim Allah was not the first god to drop “science” on a record.  However, he became a sort of John the Baptist figure, encrypting his message in music that would begin to break New York City’s defacto daytime radio ban on hip hop. 

Eric B. and Rakim possessed swagger before the word had entered the hip hop lexicon.  With fur coats and a collection of gold chains that a pharaoh would have envied, the duo dressed and drove like their audience.  Rap had come along way since the days of the Sugar Hill Gang.   
 Within two years of their debut, Eric B. and Rakim would be headlining a hip hop all star concert at the Nassau Coliseum.  The arena was packed like an NAACP convention.  Rakim called Long Island home.  You could feel that cloud of expectation rising as Strong Island’s favorite son’s time drew near.  The curtain rose.  Eric B. and Rakim strolled out of the base of a gold pyramid with money green laser beams shooting from the top.  “I know you got soul…” Rakim drawled.  You could feel the rafters shake.   

Fast forward.  Fall 2009.  It is a cool night in San Francisco.  The world has changed.  Most of the eighties era crack hustlers have gone to prison or the graveyard.  America has a black president.  Hip hop’s face is still black but it’s body is now a multi-cultural phenomenon.   

I have long ago left Harlem.  I now life in Oakland.  When I found that Rakim was performing at a San Francisco night club called Slim’s, I had to be there.  As I walked toward the front door, I remembered seeing hundreds of people standing outside at the promise of a Rakim performance.  That was back in the eighties when Rakim was the face and the voice, of young urban America.  Slim’s might fit 150 people comfortably.  Tonight it is not even half full.  There aren’t ten African American fans in the audience.  The world changes. The stage is sparse.  There is no back drop save for two turntables and a disco mixer.  DJ Tech is on point.  He urges the crowd to raise the roof with applause.  Rakim saunters from the wings with a microphone in his fist.  

Rakim was a teenager when I first saw him move the crowd.  He was the voice of young urban New York City.  Tonight, there is some gray in his goatee.  He is in his forties.  And yet his ability to flow; to spit uncanny metaphors with the voice of the gritty streets underneath him keeps the crowd screaming.  I am thankful that his gifts are appreciated beyond Harlem and long after the close of the frightful crack epidemic of the 1980s.   

Rakim’s rhymes are on smooth and on point.  For 40 minutes we are treated to a blast from the past.  He performs bits from all of his hits, “My Melody”, “Eric B. For President”, “Paid In Full”, and a slew of others.  He points the microphone at the crowd and urges us to finish his verses on cue.  The set is drawing to a close and yet Rakim does not hit the crowd with my favorite song.  “Follow The Leader!” I holler as he saunters off the stage.   

A few weeks later, Rakim’s first release in ten years dropped.  The Seventh Seal’s

cover displays a black and white photo of Rakim dressed in a prophet’s cloak and hood.  He is standing alone in the middle of a desert.  Grains of sand flow through his fingertips.  The symbolism is unmistakable.  The desert is hip hop.  Rakim is the last man standing.   

(You can reach Harry Williams at innercityhealing@yahoo.com) 

Twenty-four years is an eternity in the world of hip hop.  The world that brought him to us has long disappeared into the rear view mirror of history and yet here he is; a refugee from an exploded planet–our son of Krypton.  And I’m still bobbing my head his music.

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BlackHistoryFacts: Every Place Has a Story to Tell-Early LA Hip Hop


Rich Cason & Formula V

When it comes to Hip Hop every city has its own pioneers and their own unique special history.. Some of it was influenced by what was going on in New York, a lot of it was homegrown and came to light once things started to bubble up from NY in the early 80s.. In other words, in places like LA and the Bay Area there was already a thriving street dance scene where people were tutting, popping and roboting which had nothing to do with New York..  Funk and later Uptempo dance records  were the gems that galvanized people..

Below are some of the first records I recall hearing out of LA back in the early days of LA rap, which I should add was different from the Bay which has its own unique history.. What I liked about LA’s history was many of the artists started off as DJs..  People like Arabian Prince, DJ Unknown, Egyptian Lover, Chris The Glove Taylor, Tony G, Joe Cooley , Julio G, Uncle Jamms Army etc..

In the video below you see Chris the Glove who produced the cut Wreckless and featured Ice T is shown in this 1983 video along with Egyptian Lover demonstrating deejaying..

A lot of the music in LA’s early Hip Hop days was classified as electrofunk and is often associated with the sound Afrika Bambaataa established with his song Planet Rock. However, when speaking with the eraly DJs from LA, they say they were already into that sound way before hearing Planet Rock. Egyptian Lover explained that he was influenced by early Prince and Kraftwerk.. and that he had been deejaying in a crew since the mid 70s.. Folks in LA will recall how Egypt who was part of Uncle Jamms Army used to do huge parties at the LA Coliseum where they would work 4 turn tables at a time which was pretty major back at that time..

Here’s an interview we did with Egypt where he breaks all this down


Uncle Jamms Army  ‘Naughty Boy’

Other pioneering figures  had already been playing in bands and were producers.. Rich Cason is a one such pioneer. You can’t talk about LA Hip Hop without proppin him up.. He’s a key foundation… The first records I heard from LA that I associated with Hip Hop was Killer Groove by Formula V, Gigiolo Rapp and Bad Times by Captain Rapp were all produced by Cason. His legacy goes way back to the  60s. In fact his group Formula V had been putting out records since 1973.

Killer Groove by Formula V w/ producer Rich Cason

Captain Rapp Bad Times..

Captain Rapp Gigolo Rapp

Arabian Prince

Arabian Prince who was an original member of NWA is another pioneering figure in LA Hip Hop who was deejaying in a crew since the 70s.  He started out as a DJ and later went on to produce. He’s unique in the sense that he was a pioneering figure in Hip Hop’s electro-funk movement as well as pioneering figure in Hip Hop’s gangsta rap movement. A quick look at his track record will show you that he produced landmark tracks for everyone ranging from JJ Fad to Bobby Jimmy and the Critters as well as NWA.  Here’s an interview he did with him. http://odeo.com/episodes/25600777-Interview-w-Original-NWA-Arabian-Prince

Tons of things have been written about the World Class Wrecking Crew which was home to Dr Dre… They had a bunch of hit songs and Dre helped elevate the deejay game before he went on to start producing..

Wrecking Crew w/ Dr Dre Surgery

 Here are some other early cuts I recall from back in the days..Now please keep in mind this is just a taste of a city that is steeped with stories.. No, we haven’t touched on the dance scene and influence. We haven’t talked about KDAY and the Mixmasters which go back to ’83 and 84.. We haven’t touched on the Good Life or any of that..  This is just a sample.. A great place to go to get some good info on early west coast is my folks from germany who run www.westcoastpioneers.com

LA Dream Team ‘Rockberry’

Ice T 6 in the Morning..

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