ONE OF THE FOUNDING FATHERS of hip-hop was a party-throwing older brother on this date in 1973.
At a back-to-school jam for his younger sister, Cindy, eighteen-year-old Clive Campbell broke out two turntables and got people dancing by isolating and extending the instrumental grooves in his reggae, funk, and soul records. He saw that dancers loved the “get-down parts,” as he called them, that occurred during the break section of songs. “Once they heard that, that was it, wasn’t no turning back,” Campbell told Jeff Chang in Can’t Stop Won’t Stop (2005). “They always wanted to hear breaks after breaks after breaks after breaks.”
Taking the name DJ Kool Herc, Campbell hosted block parties throughout the Bronx. “We weren’t doing (the parties) for money — it was just about music,” Campbell said. Others, including Grandmaster Flash, picked up on his innovation, and in 1974 the term “hip-hop” was born.
In 1977, Campbell was stabbed three times at one of his own parties and retreated from the party and club scene for awhile. He never recaptured his earlier success and resented being overlooked as hip-hop’s popularity rocketed in the 1980s and 90s. “I deserve credit for starting a culture that kids look up to,” he said in 1999, adding that he gets “no respect” from modern rappers.