HIPHOP/RAP

How did August 11 Become Hip-Hop’s Birthday? It All Started With A Party But What`s Its State In Uganda?

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Hip-hop celebrated its birthday on Thursday as we previously posted on our social media handles. How do we know this? Date: August 11, 1973. Location: 1520 Sedgewick Avenue, Bronx, New York. A party held on this date and place 49 years ago today witnessed the birth of Hip-Hop, one of the most listened music genres in Turkey and the world.

A PARTY IS CONSIDERED AS THE CIRCLE OF HIP-HOP

In fact, it is not very common to reduce the emergence of a musical genre to just one day. However, the party named “Back to School Jam” by Clive Campbell or known by his stage name DJ Kool Herc on this date is seen as the milestone of Hip-Hop culture by both music historians and representatives.

CREATED THE FOUNDATION OF TODAY’S HIP-HOP

DJ Kool Herc, who was born in Jamaica and later immigrated to New York with his family, lived for many years in apartment number 1520 on Sedgewick Street in the Bronx district, which still stands today. Herc, who has been interested in music systems since childhood, created the infrastructure style called “break beat”. The artist performed this style by playing the falling parts, especially the percussive short parts, of the songs on the records he played on two turntables, one after the other. That is, as the “break” section on one record ends, the other “break” section on the second record begins. Herc later described it as “The Merry-Go-Round”. This style also helped shape hip-hop music today.

BORN FROM THE PARTY

However, it was showcased in front of a wider audience, thanks to the party Herc’s sister Cindy Campbell wanted to throw before school started. Cindy wanted to buy new clothes while going to school, and for this, she organized a party in the entertainment room in her family’s apartment and asked her brother to play her records at this party.

HERC GOT FAME THAT NIGHT

He even designed a hand-drawn poster for the party. The party, which would start at 21:00, would last until 04:00 in the morning. For tonight, the Campbell brothers’ mother prepared dinner, and her father bought some drinks. DJ Kool Herc took over the turntable. He performed his performance with his records in front of a large audience. In this room, Herc was accompanied by break dancers and singers who sang on Herc’s music, that is, rappers. While Herc was unknown to the 300 attendees before the party, he gained a reputation in the Bronx after the party.

SPREAD TO WIDE AUDIENCE

In a New York neighborhood like the Bronx, where crime is high and gangs are rampant, it’s come together differently than ever before. This party and its effects were also seen in a short time. For years to come, Herc was now featured in street parties or DJ booths in the nightclubs of the Bronx. On the other hand, it was instrumental in the emergence of DJs such as Grandmaster Flash and Afrika Bambaataa who would spread Hip-Hop to large masses.

AUGUST 11 HAS BEEN HIP-HOP DAY WITH THE DECISION OF THE SENATE

As a matter of fact, with the decision taken by the American Senate, August 11 was celebrated as “Hip-Hop Day” last year. In 2017, Google prepared a hip-hop doodle (theme) to celebrate important days and weeks. Known as the creator of the street art movement, Fab 5 Freddy coded hip-hop in the 70s with four basic elements: DJing, rap singing (MC), break dance and graffiti. was instrumental in capturing its current popularity.

HIP-HOP IS A SPIRITUAL

Hip-Hop and Rap music has become a culture in the poor neighborhoods of the USA then Europe, Africa and simply everywhere where the troubles of daily life are told. Representing expensive cars, jewelery and a luxurious life over the years, this music still carries with it social, cultural and political concerns.

Hip-Hop In Uganda

If you tuned into any radio stations about 20 years ago, there was almost no chance that you would find a Ugandan rap song playing. This was around the time that Chameleone, Bebe Cool and Bobi Wine established themselves on the Ugandan entertainment scene.

Across Africa, rappers’ attempts were being rejected by the listeners. Ironically, the radio stations were relaying the latest songs by American rappers some of whose language was vulgar. Also playing a lot on Ugandan radio stations, around this time, was the latest Kenyan music. The Ogopa Deejays, Nameless, Red San and later Gidi Gidi Maji Maji had become household names in Kampala.

PAM awards were introduced afterwards and categories for rap music were included. However, they almost went unnoticed and as a result, most of the public knew the rappers’ names but would be hard-pressed to name even just two of their songs. The closest a rapper came to a domestic hit was the mega remix of Ruckus that comprised Peter Miles, 2Face from Nigeria and some members of the Klear Kut contingent.

Meanwhile, other genres were flourishing. Benon and Vampos were making their mark as were Peter Miles and Menshan. Michael Ross was on top of his game while Juliana, who had collaborated with Klear Kut before and had some hits like Seven Days and Say It, switched languages to the more marketable Luganda and struck a golden partnership with Bobi Wine. Needless to say, it propelled both their careers to new heights.

Around the same time, talent searches were taking place and yielding immediate results. There was one that brought out Dorothy Bukirwa and others. Then came the Coca Cola pop stars competition that resulted in the birth of a super group, Blu*3. Navio, of Klear Kut, re appeared on the scene when he collaborated with them on their Burn record. It was very well received and one could see, through a tiny crack, a light at the end of the tunnel for rap music. Soon after Hot 100, a radio station targeting the youth and playing predominantly Hip Hop and Rn’B music, was introduced. This coincided with the emergence of the Bataka squad (spearheaded by Saba Saba and Babaluku), Lethal, Young Nick, Saint CA and many other promising Ugandan rappers.

Babaluku teamed up with Benon to come up with the I Know remix, which also received massive airplay, to solidify the foundation for rappers in the future, particularly Lugaflow (rap in Luganda). He went on to team up with Jua Cali of Kenya and A.Y from Tanzania for Leo which was referred to as the East African anthem. This further increased the optimism of aspiring rappers.

GNL Zamba later released the smash hit Soda Jinjale, with Uniq. Together with Salooni, a collaboration with Navio, these songs marked the arrival of rap music onto the Ugandan airwaves. They were heavily rotated on the major radio stations. Navio and GNL did not rest on their laurels; they kept releasing hits.

They went mainstream, collaborating with Bobi Wine and Radio and Weasel respectively as well as many others. Soon these rappers were being mentioned in the same breath as Radio and Weasel, Bobi Wine, Bebe Cool and Chameleone.

To show their commitment to Ugandan rap music, Ugandans turned up in incredibly large numbers for the debut album launches of these artistes. The rest, as they say, is history. Today, we have the likes of Feffe Bussi, , Fik Fameica, Mun G, JK Lubanto, St Nellysade,  and many other rappers having their songs played regularly. The industry has matured, competition has intensified and Ugandans are more willing to listen.  There are high prospects for rap musicians in Uganda. The next hurdle will be the continental one and thereafter the global market.

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