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50 years of Hip Hop: Who’s the creator of hip hop and is the vintage genre of old school rap the new craze among the new generation?

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50 years of Hip Hop: Who’s the creator of hip hop and is the vintage genre of old school rap the new craze among the new generation?

Written By Dina Hardy

If you are wondering how, when and where Hip Hop was born, read on. 

On the streets of New York City, Bronx that is. Sixteen-year-old DJ Kool Herc rocked a back to school basement party for his sister in August of 1973.  There, he made his first rap jam, this was the birth of hip hop.  

Hip Hop, was originally called “rap”, but I remember sometime in the 90’s it merge into another name “hip hop”. Technically it’s which ever you want to call it. Hip Hop was created as an expression of what was going on in the streets of New York City. A “concrete jungle” as Alicia Keys mentioned in the song “Empire State” by JayZ. Then not to mention, the very expressive 1982 hit rap song “The Message” by Grandmaster Flash & Furious Five, with their infamous verse “it’s like a jungle sometimes it makes wonder how I keep from going under” that song broke down the stresses of life of the streets of New York City at that time.  

In the 70’s, the Bronx, a borough of NYC, had a major crime rate mainly due to poverty. Rappers referred to living there as survival of the fittest which in turn these songs produced a “spoken word” along with a beat and that’s how it all began. 

This past weekend, I got to experience some of the most amazing veterans in the rap game at the Legends of Hip Hop show at the Mable House Amphitheater in Mableton, GA. The show included Big Daddy Kane, EMPD, Brand Nubians, KRS-One and Kool Moe Dee. Wow, what a show! Words can’t describe how awesome this it was for me, so surreal because I grew up in the era of the 70’s and 80’s during the birthing and raising of hip hop in New York City.  During those times I witnessed the entire generation of hip hop and watched it evolve into something big. I have to say this show was an epic experience to see all those legends right in front of my face performing the hits that I loved so very much as a teenager. 

Brand Nubians was the first act to hit the stage. When they came out to perform their hits like “Slow Down”, Punks Jump Up To Get Beat Down and All for One, the crowd was hype! It was good to see Grand Puba after all these years. Those guys still got it. Brand Nubians put a different style on the rap game, a Nubian twist in the 90’s. Next performance was Nice and Smooth, one of my favorite groups of the 90’s, that Greg Nice and Smooth B. They rocked the house down with their hits like Hip Hop Junkies and Funky for You. They even performed my favorite, Gang Starr’s song “DWYCK”, featuring Nice and Smooth. Even though the Guru’s is not here with us today and may he rest in peace, they still turn it out in his behalf.  But wait, surprisingly Smooth B not only rap he sings as well. While Greg Nice broke out a beatbox sound with his mouth, Smooth B sang an old school song by Debarge “I like it”.

The third act was real veteran Kool Moe Dee. I believe I was in tenth grade when he independently stepped in the rap scene. Meanwhile, excitedly waiting to see how he was going to bring it, and just as expected, he did that! Along with him he had a full entourage which consisted of three of his original male dancers and about four female dancers that did their thing with a mixture of old school and new school moves. Not to mention the performance with Kool Moe Dee and Grandmaster Caz with their own rendition of “Otis” by Jay Z and Kanye was nothing more than the bomb. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was more l this type of creativity is not heard of these days we need more of it. Kool Moe Dee stood on one side of the stage and Grandmaster Caz on their other and the group of dancers travelled together back and forth to each rapper to hear what each had to say, rap battling each other as if in conversation, it was such a good show. 

Then next up, the performance many people were waiting for was EPMD. I thought to myself, Erick Sermon and Parrish right in front of me. They did nothing less than expected. I loved their music from the moment I laid eyes on the “You Gots to Chill” video, which was their first single in 1988. They performed that song plus Strictly Business, So Wat Cha Sayin’ and all their hits. Once again speechless on their performance, loved it. Coming close to end of the concert, most of the ladies were really waiting for who they called “Dark Gable”, including myself.  When I tell you when Big Daddy Kane came to the stage, the crowd roared as he entered with his red leather shirt and looking great. The smooth operator was truly smooth. He hyped up the crowd and started with his hit Raw and continued with most his big hits like Smooth Operator, Aint No Half Steppin’ and Warm it Up Kane. During the end of his performance, a young male dancer was beyond good, Chris Brown, look out. Also, Kane noticed a little boy in the audience and called him up on stage and asked him his name and how old he was, he said 11 years old, and the audience cheered because this kid knew all the words to these old school songs, we were all in awe. Kane was hyped over this kid’s knowledge and shouted out his father (who was also in the audience) for teaching his son this generation of old school hip hop. 

Now for the last act which for some was considered save the best for last, the teacher himself, KRS-One. I must say that I always respected this guy as the most unique and intelligent not just rapper but person. He surely is a guy who is in a class by himself. When I tell you he had everyone out of their seats, I mean just that.

KRS-One his style is pretty much today’s spoken word. But I feel like he is really the creator of spoken word in my opinion. He told his story of being in meditation and being present and in the past at the same time. Amazing, because how he speaks, he makes you think in a way you probably never had. This man was on point! After KRS-One finished his show, I was able to go backstage and meet and talk to most of the rappers but also got a little surprise there. There were a few people back there that I didn’t expect to see. People like Malcolm Jamal Warner and Jalil from Whodini. It was nice speaking to them, but I got the honor of talking to Jahlil and he expressed to me that he misses Ecstasy (member from Whodini, passed away in 2020) and wishes that he was around for all the 50-year hip hop celebrations. But I have to honestly say that this concert exceeded my expectations, and I also was just declared an “old-school hip-hop” head by my friends so I must continue to live up to those standards. Until then stay tuned to the next event.

Celebrity photographer and disabled Vietnam veteran Jerome Dorn embodies the very definition of resilience. Born in Philadelphia, the fifth of seven children, Dorn stayed focused throughout his youth, eventually obtaining his degree in Criminal Justice. Dorn has worked with the Philadelphia Police Department, Department of Justice, World Wide Detective Agency, and several other high profile security groups. Throughout his successful career, Dorn wrestled with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, an aftereffect of his military service. Battling the pain and debilitating effect of PTSD, Dorn found comfort behind the camera. Photography proved to be not only therapeutic, but life changing as well. Dorn picked up his first camera in 1970 while serving in Vietnam and knew instantly that behind the lens was where he belonged. His shooting style and photographs were special, generating a buzz in the industry. In 1985, he began his career in photojournalism, working in a variety of genres. Dorn’s credentials include fashion, lifestyle photography, photojournalism, and celebrity/red carpet coverage. Working with MSNBC, Jet Magazine, and major publications in Philadelphia and around the country, Dorn has had the honor of capturing the images of hundreds of notable celebrities and politicians including President Barack Obama, George Bush Jr, Bill and Hillary Clinton, Maya Angelou, Jesse Jackson, Rihanna, Snoop Dog, Will Smith, and Tyler Perry. Photography has sent Dorn around the globe, inspiring his passion for civil activism. In 1995, Dorn assembled and led a group of forty-two men to the Million Man March. Together, they spent five days walking from Philadelphia to Washington DC. In his travels, Dorn observed a common theme amongst the youth of the world. Many of the children he encountered seemed lost. Understanding that opportunities for at-risk youth are minimal, Dorn was inspired to make a difference. Established by Dorn in 2011, InDaHouseMedia was built on the idea that there is room in the house for everyone. With InDaHouseMedia, Dorn’s mission is to provide the future generation with positive direction through sports, music, and photography.

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