This episode is the 1st installment of my reflection on the 50th anniversary of Hip-Hop.
In order to understand the birth of Hip-Hop in 1973, we need to understand what was inspiring the culture of the people who created it. We need to understand what people were listening to before 1973 and why they were listening to it. This is a deep dive into the foundation that Hip-Hop's foundation was built on. The musical + cultural inspirations behind the music that became the original source of Hip-Hop.
It's what I call PROTO HIP-HOP.
We start with the 1st recorded 'rap' I could find. 'Rap' as in - speaking rhythmically over instrumental music - has been around forever, as long as there's been music. But the honor of the 1st RECORDED rap goes to THE JUBELAIRS with their 1946 song NOAH. 1946!??!!
In the US in 1946, we just got out of WWII. Black Americans came back home as veterans empowered to advocate for ourselves and challenge injustice. And this was before the concept of a CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT. So to me, the Jubelairs drip with swagger to try a new flavor in their music, feeling free to rap their lyrics in a unique way.
I couldn't find examples of recorded Proto Hip-Hop in the 50s. Comment if you know some! But there are many gems in our Black culture outside of recorded music. So we need to understand the Black cultural contribution in America that is the Black radio personality. Their influence was strong throughout the 50s. The person who personifies this is FRANKIE CROCKER. Listen to a clip of Frankie Crocker's radio show in the 60s.
Frankie Crocker - was a DJ in the 60s and 70s who would rap over instrumentals and was a Black cultural phenomenon. If you were lucky enough to live in a city that syndicated his show or even played cool new Black music on the radio. His impact was massive, his style laid the foundation for the younger generation in the early 70s, like DJ Hollywood. Crocker called himself THE CHIEF ROCKER, that phrase and style was the template of every single MC in 1973. And beyond in the 80s / 90s / and even 2023!
In this show's exploration of Proto Hip-Hop we listen to pre-1973 musical trends in Black culture;
- Rapping in Blues
- Drum breaks + rap in soul (James Brown pre-funk)
- Socially conscious spoken word
- James Brown (full on funk)
- Rap + hip hop attitude in Funk
Check out the Embedded Playlist to hear the songs in the show plus extra proto hip-hop not in the show. Scroll down past the playlist to play the episode that aired on 9/23
Peace - PDX Biologic