Thursday, December 11, 2008

Founding Fathers Part Two: My Disco Brother...

Because I want to be able to walk the streets of the Bronx in peace I better clarify my position on the last post.


Ok...the hip-hop of the Bronx was pioneered by Kool DJ Herc in 1973. Hands down no questions or arguments from me. What Kool Herc did back then inspired Afrika Bam, Flash, Theodore, AJ, Charlie Chase, Breakout and hundreds and hundreds of others.

However, in the other boroughs a similiar thing was going on. The differences weren't major. Whereas, Kool Herc called his set the 'merry go round' (when he played break after break after break after break) cats in Brooklyn and Queens ie; Master D, the Smith Brothers, Grandmaster Flowers, King Charles, Disco Twins, Infinity Machine and many others were playing rhythm and blues and funk and soul records. They didn't specialize in rare and obscure records with five second breaks like the Bronx cats did, but they did spin records like "Phenomenon Theme" and "Ashley's Roachclip" and when the break came on they kept it going. Not by scratching or cuttin, but they extended the break.

At that time damn near everything in Black music was called disco as the producer (Ron Lawrence) of the documentary below asked me recently.

"Yo, what was Grandmaster Flash's right hand mans name?" Disco Bee. He has a point there.

Lil Rodney Cee of the Funky Four used this line in one of his rhymes: "to be a dis-co sensation a rock rock yall."

Or how bout this: (can't remember the groups name but as the MC handed the mic off to the next MC he said) "My disco brother, get on the mic you undercover lover!"

There was an uptown group called the Disco Enforcers. There was another group (actually one of my favorite groups ) called the Disco Four.

All this to say, cats front on disco big time. But everything back then was called disco and there was no such thing or concept as hip-hop. Especially if we're talking about 1975.

King Charles, Grandmaster Flowers and Pete DJ Jones had been doing their thing since the late 60's! These guys mixed the hell out of records. What they did inspired cats in Brooklyn and Queens. At some point (don't ask me when or where) the two different styles (the Bronx style and the BK/Queens style) started converging.

1 comment:

Bachir Ali said...

It is fun that I've stumble across this article. I can remember back in the days how my cousin would mimic Nu-sounds. Also, speak on djs like G-master flower and MC Becky Lee. My boy from Hempstead would tell me how two brothers would run around the turntables catching the break, The Disco Twins. I seen one of the Queen hottest Dj Divine of Infinity Machine myself rock the set. I'm not taking any props from the other boroughs, but we were doing too. I wish this was spoke on sooner, but I know this is a part of the plan to keep Hip Hop alive. I hope this brings back the old style of breaks-beats and Mc-ing. Who-ever's taking the time to but this documentry together "BIG UP'S", Queens, NYC.